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Other Week 18 Game Recaps

Week 18 Game Recap: Carolina Panthers 23, New York Giants 0

What you need to know

Carolina Panthers

RB DeShaun Foster gained yards in chunks punishing the Giants defense running hard. He also flashed moves and elusiveness using stiff arms and spin moves on his way to gaining 151 yards on 27 carries. Backup RB Nick Goings was also used extensively (12-63) giving Foster breaks and seeing most of the third down duties.

WR Steve Smith scored both by air and ground. Smith was targeted heavily on short hitches and wide receiver screens at the line of scrimmage. Smith was the only Carolina wide receiver targeted until the third quarter.

QB Jake Delhomme managed a great game. He made plays with his arm on third downs to keep drives alive while avoiding mistakes. The Pantherís ability to keep the Giant offense on the sidelines dominating time of possession (43-17) turned the game into a blowout.

New York Giants

QB Eli Manning turned the ball over four times in a nightmarish performance (three interceptions, one lost fumble). He was harassed heavily by the Carolina pass rush and forced into multiple errors and turnovers.

WR Plaxico Burress was shut out being held without a reception. He was seen visibly upset on the sidelines through the game. His effort was being questioned late in the game in terms of whether he was running his routes hard or not.

RB Tiki Barber didnít have a chance to get on track. The Carolina offense dominated time of possession and the Giants passing game couldnít make plays to convert first downs.

What you ought to know

QB Jake Delhomme, Pass: 15 - 22 - 140 - 1 TD / 0 INT

Delhomme managed a solid first half completing mostly short hitches to WR Steve Smith. He completed seven consecutive passes and converted several third downs milking the clock and shortening the game to fewer possessions. His 22 yard touchdown pass to Smith was a strike on a post route. Two of his four incomplete passes in the first half were dropped. Delhomme missed two opportunities to hit a second touchdown pass in the second half, but couldnít connect with his receiver. Overall he managed a great game avoiding mistakes and picking up key third downs to keep drives alive.

RB DeShaun Foster, Rush: 27 - 151 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets)

The Panthers went to Foster early and often in the game. His offensive line got great push at the point of attack. Six of his first seven carries went for at least five yards. The Panthers continued to feed Foster the ball through the first half picking up first downs and keeping the Giant offense on the sidelines. The Panthers dominated the first half time of possession with a 21 to 9 minute advantage. Foster continued to pile up yardage into the second half making excellent cuts into the correct holes while also breaking tackles with stiff arms and spin moves. He had one carry from the three yard line in the fourth quarter but was dropped at the one.

RB Nick Goings, Rush: 12 - 63 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets)

Goings stepped in for RB DeShaun Foster for one carry at the end of the second Carolina drive. He got stuffed and lost a yard. He entered the game again on the third drive as well after Foster had five carries and needed a breather. Goings had two solid runs of seven and eight yards between the tackles setting up the touchdown pass to WR Steve Smith. Goings made more big plays converting two third and longs off an inside screen and a draw. He followed those two plays up with an 18 yard run digging the Panthers out of terrible field position. Early in the third quarter Goings had another ten yard run for a first down and took a huge hit to the helmet. Goings fumbled, but the play was ruled dead. Goings lay on the ground for a long time following the play. He returned later in the quarter. Goings took a sweep around right end and looked like he was going to throw a pass, but ended up choosing to not do so and ended up stepping out of bounds for a nine yard loss. Goings had one carry at the goal line late in the game, but was stopped just short of the mark.

WR Steve Smith, Rush: 1 - 12 - 1, Rec: 10 - 84 - 1 (11 targets)

Smith caught a quick hitch and got up field for eight yards on his first reception on the second play of the game. His second target was a similar play on the other side of the field on their second drive. QB Jake Delhomme faked the pitch to one side of the field and then spun quickly drilling Smith with a pass at the line of scrimmage. Smith used his quickness to sprint up field for 12 more yards. His next two receptions were similar plays. It was obvious they were attempting to pull CB Terrell Buckley up to the line of scrimmage so they could attempt to take him deep. Smith beat Buckley down the middle of the field on the third Carolina possession for a touchdown. The Giants finally put CB Will Allen on Smith. Allen dropped Smith for a one yard loss on another quick hitch. Smith dropped his last target in the red zone just before half time. Also of note, Smith was the only Panther wide receiver to be targeted in the first half. He scored his second touchdown on a reverse from the 12 yard line following the interception by CB Ken Lucas. Deep into the fourth quarter Smith caught his last pass on a third and eleven. The play went down to the four yard line for a 20 yard gain. Smith made an excellent move at the line of scrimmage to gain immediate separation on the play.

WR Keary Colbert, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (3 targets)

Colbert didnít see a target until the end of the third quarter. QB Jake Delhomme lofted a deep pass down the left sideline and Colbert used his hands to push gaining separation from CB Terrell Buckley. Colbert did a nice job of going up to catch the ball high away from the defense. Colbert was targeted deep into the end zone on the same drive, but collided with DB Brent Alexander as the ball fell to the ground. No flag was thrown on the play. His last catch was a quick hitch at the line of scrimmage that he turned up field for six yards.

WR Drew Carter (2 targets)

Carterís first target was on a deep pass to the end zone early in the third quarter. He had another end zone target late in the fourth quarter, but the pass was thrown to high on his short slant.

WR Ricky Proehl

Proehl wasnít targeted in the game.

TE Kris Mangum, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets)

Mangum saw his first target at the end of the second Panthers drive. He dropped what would have converted a third and six play on a crossing route. He pulled in a similar route from the opposite side on the following possession to convert a third down. Mangum took a solid pop in the back on the play, but still maintained possession.

PK John Kasay 3 - 3 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 11 points

Kasay hit all three of his field goal attempts (31, 45, 18) in the game.

CAR Rush Defense

RB Tiki Barber was shut down early in the game, and didnít get a chance to get on track after the Giants had to resort to catch up mode. Further, the Panthers didnít have to stack the line of scrimmage in order to stuff the run. Their safeties were consistently rolled back and the Panther front four dominated the line of scrimmage.

CAR Pass Defense

The Panthers were able to put heavy pressure on QB Eli Manning sacking him four times including a forced fumble. Further, the pass rush was directly responsible for forcing Manning to make poor choices in the pocket that resulted in interceptions.

QB Eli Manning, Pass: 10 - 18 - 113 - 0 TD / 3 INT

Manning wasnít able to get the Giants offense on track in the first half. He failed to convert third down passes and didnít appear to be on the same page as some of his receivers. Even when he was able to make a rare play with his arm, he wasnít able to follow that up and keep drives going. On the second New York possession of the third quarter Manning started to drift to his right because of pressure from the left side. He tried to throw back across his body into heavy coverage and had a pass intercepted by CB Ken Lucas. WR Steve Smith put the Panthers up by 17 points on the next play. Manning threw his second interception on their next possession. He tried to get the ball into TE Jeremy Shockey on a deep seam route up the middle of the field, but put the ball way over his head hitting the safety in the chest. He threw his third interception in as many possessions when he and WR Plaxico Burress failed yet again to get on the same page. Manningís pass hit the safety in the chest again. Burress didnít appear to run the route hard on the play.

RB Tiki Barber, Rush: 13 - 41 - 0, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (4 targets)

The Giants tried to get Barber going early, but the Panthers defense met him in the backfield or line of scrimmage on nearly every play. Four of his first five carries when for two yards or less. The inability of the Giantís passing game to convert third downs combined with the not being able to stop the Panther offense kept Barber on the sideline through the first half. The 17 point deficit combined with back to back to back interceptions by QB Eli Manning put an end to the Giants trying to run the ball.

WR Amani Toomer, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (4 targets)

Toomer caught the first pass from QB Eli Manning on a ten yard slant for a first down. Toomer was targeted on QB Eli Manningís first interception. His other reception was basically garbage statistics on the Giantsí last drive.

WR Plaxico Burress (3 targets)

Burress didnít see his first target until midway through the second quarter on the Giants third possession. He and QB Eli Manning had a miscommunication on the route. Burress ran an in while Manning threw an out. Burress was seen on the sidelines visibly upset and frustrated. His second target came midway through the third quarter. The pass was picked off, but CB Ken Lucas grabbed Burress around the neck flinging him to the ground on the play resulting in a pass interference penalty. His last target was also intercepted, but Burress didnít run the route full speed and hesitated after making his cut allowing the safety to step in front of him for the interception.

TE Jeremy Shockey, Rec: 3 - 50 - 0 (7 targets)

Shockey lined up in the slot and was targeted at the end of the first Giant drive. He ran a quick slant, but the pass from QB Eli Manning was a poor one and the DB (not linebacker) had solid coverage on the play. His first reception came on a 15 yard out. The linebacker in coverage slipped and fell down allowing Shockey to easily make the reception. He was targeted on a third down out route at the end of the Giants third possession. Shockey got his feet tangled up with the linebacker and fell to the turf. No flag was thrown on the play. He caught a deep 25 yard corner route to open the second half. As Shockey was going to the turf on the play he had the ball ripped out of hands, but officials ruled his was down by contact. He was targeted deep down the middle of the field on an overthrown ball that was intercepted. His last reception was garbage statistics on the Giantsí last possession.

PK Jay Feely 0 - 0 FG, 0 - 0 XP, 0 points

Feely didnít attempt a kick in the game.

NYG Rush Defense

The Giants front seven was pushed around at the line of scrimmage allowing RB DeShaun Foster to gouge them for 45 yards on eight carries in the first quarter. They began to get a handle on shutting down Foster, but when backup and third down specialist Nick Goings entered the game he sliced them for 8, 7, 11, and 18 yard carries. The trend continued through the game. Both Foster and Goings slashed through the Giants defense for large chunks of yardage. More than ten of their carries went for at least five yards during the second half as the Panthers piled on to their lead and chewed up the clock. New York sorely missed their injured linebackers. Missed tackles and assignments were the norm.

NYG Pass Defense

The Giants were able to sack QB Jake Delhomme four times (two by DE Michael Strahan), but the dominance of the Carolina running game put the pass rush on their heels most of the game because play action carried extra meaning. CB Terrell Buckley struggled to keep up with WR Steve Smith. Smith caught all five passes thrown his way while Buckley was on him including a 22 yard touchdown. However, Buckley was supposed to have extra safety help over the top that didnít appear on the touchdown play.

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