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Instant Analysis

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Instant Analysis: Giants lose on last-second FG

AT A GLANCE: Last season, Philadelphia’s Jake Elliott kicked a 61-yarder as time expired that was four yards longer than any field goal previously kicked in a Giants game. It was the first time the Giants lost when the opposition scored on the game’s final play since Dec. 12, 2015, when Carolina’s Graham Gano kicked a 43-yard field goal to defeat the Giants. It came full circle on Sunday when Gano made a 63-yard field with no time left on the lock to defeat the Giants, 33-31, in a wild one in Carolina.

UP NEXT: The 1-4 Giants have a quick turnaround before a Thursday night matchup against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Despite putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 53 points in two games, the Giants were swept by the Eagles in the 2017 season series. Big Blue is 2-8 against Philadelphia in their last 10 meetings.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:

*Odell Beckham Jr. had no touchdowns heading into Sunday, so he took matters into his own hand. With the team in need of a spark after falling behind 17-3 midway through the second quarter, coach and play-caller Pat Shurmur dialed up some trickery. On second-and-18, Eli Manning threw a pass backwards across the field to Beckham on the left, and the wide receiver caught it and threw it up to rookie running back Saquon Barkley down the right sideline for a 57-yard touchdown. It was Beckham’s first career pass completion (second attempt) and Barkley’s first touchdown reception (fourth total score).

*Manning had not thrown an interception since Week 1, but threw two on back-to-back possessions in the second half. The first halted the momentum following the defense’s interception of Cam Newton late in the third quarter. With the Giants approaching the red zone, safety Mike Adams jumped in front of Manning’s pass intended for Odell Beckham Jr. at the Panthers 14. The Panthers scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession, extending their lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Giants got the ball back only to have another pass intercepted by Adams.

*With the momentum swinging back and forth down the stretch, the Giants got the ball back again after the defense’s second interception of the game and a long return by Janoris Jenkins. Handing it over to the offense at the Panthers 33, Manning hit Beckham two plays later on a 33-yard pass in the end zone for the three-time Pro Bowler’s first touchdown since the game in which he suffered a season-ending injury on Oct. 8, 2017. After a successful two-point conversion attempt on a pass to tight end Rhett Ellison, the Giants found themselves down by just three points with 8:08 left in the game. After the Panthers added a field goal, the Giants needed to go 75 yards with just over two minutes left on the clock. Manning hit Russell Shepard for a 40-yard gain before Barkley took a short pass 15 yards and jumped into the end zone to give the Giants the lead with 1:08 remaining.

*With Barkley’s touchdown, the Giants scored at least 30 points for the first time since the 2015 season finale, ending a 37-game drought including postseason. However, it was not enough as the Giants were unable to convert on any of their seven third-down attempts.

*Barkley accomplished a statistical milestone reached by just two other players in the NFL’s 99-season history. He Adrian Peterson and Kareem Hunt as the only players to total at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of their first five career games. Coming off last week’s loss to New Orleans, Shurmur said he wanted to get Barkley more carries. The second overall pick ran 15 times for 48 yards in addition his four catches for 81 yards and two scores.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:

*The Giants had just three takeaways entering Week 5, but they intercepted Cam Newton twice on Sunday. Safety Curtis Riley got the first one on a pass intended for Ian Thomas late in the third quarter. It negated a critical sequence in which the Giants previously were called for three consecutive penalties, beginning with a neutral zone infraction by Kareem Martin as the Panthers were about to punt on fourth-and-eight. Carolina then went for it on a more manageable fourth down, and Janoris Jenkins was called for a holding penalty that B.W. Webb argued and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Jenkins, however, was not called for any penalties a little later when he intercepted Newton and returned it 29 yards deep into Panthers territory.

*The Panthers’ No. 1 rush offense has been featuring running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 80 catches last year as a rookie, more on the ground in his second year. However, it was his 18-yard touchdown reception that put the Giants behind by two scores with 11:21 remaining in the game. He did not have a catch until that drive.

*The Giants could not get off the field late in the game, including a key fourth-and-short with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Needing just one yard, Newton hit Jarius Wright for a 27-point gain. However, the defense then held the Panthers to settle for a field goal, giving the ball back to the offense with a six-point deficit and 2:16 remaining. That was before Newton drove the Panthers 30 yards on eight plays to set up the game-winning field goal.

*Cornerback Eli Apple returned to game action after missing he previous two games a groin injury he suffered in Week 2 at Dallas. The defense also got back defensive end Josh Mauro, who was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:

*The Giants, who averaged a league-low 3.0 yards per punt return, used Beckham in that role on Sunday. His first return went for 14 yards, more than double the team’s previous long this season. The second, however, ended in disaster. The ball hit off the back of Beckham’s leg at the Giants 2, Jenkins recovered only to fumble it back into the end zone, and Carolina’s Colin Jones jumped on it for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.

*Kicker Aldrick Rosas remained perfect on the season and established a career-long with a 53-yard field goal to cut the deficit to seven points shortly before halftime. Rosas also hit from 42 and 36 yards, improving to 11-for-11 on the season. Rosas was also perfect in the preseason.

INACTIVES: NYG – OLB Olivier Vernon (ankle), TE Evan Engram (knee), QB Kyle Lauletta, S Kamrin Moore, CB Mike Jordan, C Evan Brown, DT John Jenkins. CAR – TE Greg Olsen (foot), LB Jared Norris (toe), RB Cameron Artis-Payne, CB Corn Elder, G Brendan Mahon, DE Bryan Cox Jr., DE Marquis Haynes.

LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – Connor Barwin for Vernon at WILL; Scott Simonson for Engram at TE. CAR – Chris Manhertz for Olsen at TE, Eric Reid for Jones at SS.

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