Andre Brown ignited the running game for a second straight game. Ramses Barden finally gave everyone a glimpse of what he can do as a starter, making big catch after big catch over the middle. The offensive line looked strong again. Perry Fewell's defense produced its strongest effort of the season.
The defending champs might just be gaining some steam after their slow start against Dallas in the season opener. And they have lots of time to get healthy before their next game.
Quick start: After slow starts in their first two games that saw them trail the Dallas Cowboys 14-3 in the third quarter and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-13 at the half, the Giants got off to a terrific start against the Panthers.
The Giants scored on their first four possessions, and were methodical in doing so. The running game was clicking, and Eli Manning kept throwing to his receivers as though Nicks was on the field.
The Giants looked as though they carried over the momentum from the 25-point fourth quarter against Tampa Bay, and Carolina looked absolutely stunned.
The Replacements I: In his first career start, Brown rushed for 96 yards -- by halftime. He ran hard, looked patient and waited for holes to open up. He scored two touchdowns, and looked good in goal-line situations as well. He finished with 113 rushing yards on 20 carries.
It certainly looks like the Giants have found themselves a nice complement to Bradshaw, when he returns, and a very good replacement if Bradshaw (neck) is out for more time.
The Replacements II: Barden came up as big as his 6-foot-6 frame, with a monster first-half effort as well. He hauled in seven balls by halftime, and repeatedly came up with big receptions while absorbing some hits as well. He finished with nine catches for 138 yards.
Barden’s effort was huge, as he gave Manning another option when the Panthers tried to take Victor Cruz away. Nicks (foot) should be ready to play next week, but Barden showed the Giants that they have another weapon in the arsenal with Domenik Hixon recovering from a concussion.
The Replacements III: With Diehl (knee) out, the Giants' offensive line turned in another strong performance. Manning was practically untouched for much of the first three quarters until being sacked late in the third quarter.
The Replacements IV: Rookie Jayron Hosley, starting at cornerback and having his progression accelerated due to injuries in the secondary, continues to get better.
He came in and pressured Newton on blitzes, and had an impressive interception after a pass thrown behind Brandon LaFell went off LaFell’s hands.
Hosley did have to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Corey Webster broke a bone in his right hand but finished the game. And Antrel Rolle also had to go to the locker room on a cart after banging his left knee on a camera in the corner of the end zone in the fourth quarter. He has a knee laceration and the Giants are hoping no more than a bruise.
The Giants cannot afford any more injuries to their secondary.
What’s next: The Giants have a much-needed break before visiting Michael Vick & Co. in Philadelphia on Sept. 30 to renew a heated NFC East rivalry.