keys to the game carolina panthers off to dreaded 0 2 start with loss to giants
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Keys to the Game: Carolina Panthers off to dreaded 0-2 start with loss to Giants

carolina panthers
(© Jeff Bukowski – Shutterstock)

The Carolina Panthers are now at 0-2 in the early NFL season, failing 19-16 at the New York Giants on Sunday. The Panthers had six just points in the first half and recorded only 275 yards of total offense, outgaining the Giants yet still failing to earn their first victory of the season.

The Panthers are now at risk of falling out of any sort of playoff contention that was viewed as a long shot even to begin the season.

Why the Giants won

Because they played smart football. They had a balanced attack that, while it wasn’t electric, it was efficient. They only were 6-for-18 on third downs, but they held the Panthers to just 2-for-12 on third downs. The Giants dominated the time of possession and did not have any turnovers.

Quarterback Daniel Jones was 22-for-34 for 176 yards with one touchdown, while Saquon Barkley had 72 yards rushing on 21 carries, adding another 16 yards receiving on three catches.

Why the Panthers lost

They just were not efficient enough when they needed to be on third downs, and that made them slow out of the gates. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was just 14-for-29 for 145 yards. Star back Christian McCaffrey was great, going for 102 yards on 15 carries, but he could not carry his team thanks to an inefficient Mayfield.

Game-changing moment

The Panthers took the lead in the third quarter thanks to a DJ Moore touchdown catch from Mayfield, but that 13-6 lead wouldn’t last long. The Giants marched down the field on the ensuing possession and tied it as Jones hit Daniel Bellinger from 16 yards out. New York had all the momentum they needed and got two field goals of over 50 yards from Graham Gano in the fourth quarter to win.

Player of the game

Safety Julian Love. He finished with a team-high eight tackles for the Giants, recording one sack and two tackles for loss.

Key statistic

The Panthers entered the red zone four times and came away with just one touchdown.

What’s next

The Panthers (0-2) visit the Saints on Sunday. The Giants host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Roger Gonzalez

Roger Gonzalez is freelancer for Augusta Free Press. A native of Connecticut that grew up in Charlottesville, he is a graduate of Virginia Tech. He currently is a sportswriter with CBS Sports and has written for The Daily Progress, The Roanoke Times and other newspapers before getting into the digital sports journalism world.