Zac’s note: This piece was first published on my Examiner page
The New York Giants defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-17 when defensive end Tommie Hill intercepted a pass/caught a fumble in the air and then ran 18 yards for the touchdown on the final play of the game. You can’t make these things up.
A box score and full recap of the game can be found here. Since the final score of an NFL preseason game doesn’t matter, I’ll be saving my “Good, Bad and Ugly” recaps for the regular season. Here’s a shore review of the Giants’ performance on the field tonight.
Offense: The second drive of the game was classic New York Giants football; a combination of bruising runs and short yet effective passes that ended in a 19 yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw. This drive was the final one for starting quarterback Eli Manning, who finished the game completing two of three pass attempts for 31 yards. Manning was both poised and confident behind an offensive line that gave him plenty of time to throw the ball against one of the best defenses in the NFC. One couldn’t help but notice Manning actively searching out Manningham, who had a first down reception called back on a penalty. Manning and Manningham then failed to connect on the following play. Manningham also failed to bring in a 30 yard touchdown pass from backup QB David Carr. Eh, Amami Toomer didn’t get it right the first time, either. Brandon Jacobs was in 1,000-yard form, ending his day with four carries for 32 yards.
Ahmad Bradshaw was the MVP offensively for the Giants, rushing for 35 yards on five carries. Bradshaw also grabbed two receptions and, as previously mentioned, scored the first touchdown of the game.
Hey Minnesota: Want a quarterback who isn’t afraid of training camp? David Carr completed six of ten passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also showed some scrambling ability, running for 13 yards on one carry, during which Carr made a leap passed the first down marker. Carr was sacked a couple of times, ensuring that the sun will indeed rise in the east tomorrow morning.
Rookie wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden checked into the game during the third quarter. Both finished the game with one catch.
Running back Danny Ware did all he could to make fans forget that rookie Andre Brown is out for the year. It was Ware who caught a David Carr screen pass in the second quarter and then galloped 36 yards for a score. Ware looked impressive at times regardless of his stats. Remember that he wasn’t running behind the starting offensive line.
Defense: The highlight for the first team defense was definitely the sack by the returning Osi Umenyiora, who caused a fumble on the play (the ball was recovered by Carolina). Other than a handful of first downs, the Giants defense held the Panthers in check. With that said, Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams is a phenomenal talent and is ready for the real football games to start.
The Giants second team defense was also impressive. Rookie cornerback Stoney Woodson grabbed an interception in the second quarter. During Carolina’s next drive, former Penn State defensive end Maurice Evans sacked Carolina QB Josh McCown, causing a fumble that was eventually recovered by the Giants.
In the first half, the Giants defense forced four fumbles and three turnovers. Big Blue also only allowed 91 yards of total offense.
Clint Sintim, rookie out of Virginia, is my MVP on defense for the Giants this evening. Sintim haunted Carolina quarterbacks throughout the second half, ending the game with four tackles and one sack.
Special Teams: Punter Jeff Feagles is definitely in mid-season form. Pinning the Panthers deep in their own zone was only the beginning (he did so again in the third quarter. Twice. And twice in the fourth.). In the second quarter, Feagles had a punt blocked near the Giants end zone. He then alertly dove and tipped the ball out of the end zone for a safety, preventing an easy Carolina touchdown.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin sent a few wide receivers out for punt returns. Domenik Hixon was not one of them. Hmm. Oh yeah, somebody needs to tell Sinorice Moss that diving to catch an oncoming punt in the first game of the preseason isn’t the best idea (he did so in the third quarter).
Lawrence Tynes missed a 42 yard field goal in the second quarter. John Carney would have buried it. Tynes did redeem himself in the fourth by nailing a 46 yard attempt in the fourth.
Other notes: In all, ten Giants sat out this game due to injuries. A list of these players can be found here. In all, the Giants forced five Carolina turnovers. Very nice for the first 60 minutes of the 2009 NFL season.
Overall: Defense wins championships. The Giants defense gets an A+ for tonight’s efforts. If Ahmad Bradshaw continues running/catching as he did tonight, we’ll soon forget about ol’ what’s his name who signed with Tampa Bay in the off-season.
By the way, Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football is awesome. Just awesome.