Five Plays That Shaped the Game

September, 22, 2012
9/22/12
10:00
PM ET
Here are five plays, in chronological order, that shaped Thursday's 36-7 win.

1. Starting fast: The Giants wanted to start the game strong and they did that with a touchdown drive that set the tone for the game. On third-and-2 at the Panthers' 14, Eli Manning found Martellus Bennett to put the Giants up 7-0 less than five minutes into the game. Bennett recorded his third touchdown in as many games.

2. Rookie makes a play: The Giants led 20-0 toward the end of the first half but Carolina was driving. Since the Panthers would get the ball to start the second half, a score to end the half could be big momentum. Rookie corner Jayron Hosley made sure the Panthers didn't get any points as he made a fantastic interception.

3. Fumble: Any chance the Panthers had of starting the second half off on the right foot disappeared right away as the Giants forced a fumble on the opening kickoff. Spencer Paysinger recovered it at the Carolina 19-yard-line. The Giants took advantage and put up three to make it 23-0 and suck the life out of the stadium.

4. Field goal: Carolina scored its first touchdown in the third quarter to make it a two-possession game at 23-7, and the Giants needed to respond. Manning answered with a 10-play, 63-yard drive that ate up 5:29 on the clock and concluded with a Lawrence Tynes field goal. It was one of five field goals on the day for the kicker, pushing the lead back to three scores with less than a minute left in the third.

5. Clincher: After the Giants made it 26-7, Carolina started driving again and was faced with a critical third-and-22 at their own 49. Michael Boley made sure there would be no momentum-changing play as he intercepted Cam Newton to all but seal the game. It was Boley's third interception in three games.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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