I haven’t seen the Panthers dominate like that in ages, and certainly didn’t expect it against the New York Giants. Although I had picked Carolina to win, I thought the game would be much closer than 38-0. That sort of performance makes you recalibrate what is possible for this team.
Take a look at the Panthers’ October schedule (they have a bye on Sunday) and you can see why the players believe they could make a run: Oct. 6 at Arizona (1-2); Oct. 13 at Minnesota (0-3); Oct. 20 St. Louis (1-2); Oct. 24 at Tampa Bay (0-3).
• A funny story: Center Ryan Kalil was adamant when the Panthers were inside the New York 5 that they had to get the first down on the called running play, exhorting his teammates in the huddle.
The stands roared because of the situation — it was 4th-and-1 from the 2, with Ron Rivera going for it, and no score yet.
Recounted offensive tackle Jordan Gross after the game: “That was huge. Very symbolic. That’s been criticized for seven days now (since Rivera didn’t go for a fourth-and-1 in a loss to Buffalo). ... So on the sideline afterward I told Kalil, ‘Dude, that was awesome! We got that on fourth and 1!’ And Kalil says, ‘It was fourth and one? I thought it was third and one!’”
• I saw a couple of Jeremy Shockey fans on Giants fans but none that memorialized the tight end’s single year as a Panther. No shocker there.
• Greg Hardy was ridiculously good Sunday. After his tongue-in-cheek prediction of 50 sacks in the preseason, Hardy had been held sackless in the first two real games. But he had three in this game and said he would have had more if the Giants hadn’t held him so often.
• Kicker Graham Gano has been overshadowed because of Carolina’s first two losses, but he is off to a superb start. He is a guaranteed touchback on every kickoff and nailed a 53-yarder in the second quarter Sunday to give Carolina a 10-0 lead. He has yet to miss a kick this season.
• Melvin White, the undrafted rookie free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette, made a very athletic pickoff of Manning in the third quarter. He’s only the Panthers’ second most famous undrafted free agent out of that college — Jake Delhomme would be your No. 1 — but that was a heck of a play.