AT FIRST GLANCE
In the end, the 2015 Panthers did not join the ranks of the 1998 Broncos and 2007 Patriots, who both had their bids for perfection spoiled by the Giants in years past.
Despite mounting a furious comeback attempt with 28 unanswered points, the Giants fell 38-35 after Panthers kicker Graham Gano made a 43-yard field goal as time expired. Carolina stayed perfect and improved to 14-0.
In their final road game of the season, the Giants (6-8) travel to take on the Minnesota Vikings (9-5) at TCF Bank Stadium. Big Blue won the last two meetings in 2010 and 2013 by a combined score of 44-10. The Giants then host the Philadelphia Eagles in the regular-season finale.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
Against one of the premier defenses in the league, the Giants missed an opportunity to strike first on the opening drive when Odell Beckham Jr., who had beaten his coverage, dropped a deep pass from Eli Manning that likely would have resulted in a touchdown. In a heated one-on-one matchup with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, Beckham was held without a catch until 5:19 to play in the third quarter. But he would be heard from again.
Meanwhile, Rueben Randle had four catches for 47 yards, catching his second touchdown in as many games and his third since the bye week. Carrying over momentum from last week in Miami, Rashad Jennings rushed for a season-high 107 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown against Carolina's No. 4 run defense. It was just the fourth time a Giants player rushed for more than 100 yards in the last two seasons. Jennings lost a fumble late in the first half, which Carolina quickly turned into a touchdown as it built up a 35-7 lead. And then the comeback began.
Aided by a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery, the Giants scored 28 unanswered points to tie the game 35-35 with 1:46 to play. In that span, Manning (29 of 46, 245 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception) first threw a pair of eight-yard touchdowns to tight end Will Tye and running back Shane Vereen. In between, Rashad Jennings broke free for a 38-yard rushing touchdown. That was all before Beckham knotted the game with a 10-yard touchdown. Beckham finished with six receptions for 76 yards, snapping his six-game streak with at least 100 yards.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
The Panthers played without running back Jonathan Stewart (foot), the third-leading rusher in the NFL entering Week 15, but Cam Newton was there to pick up the slack. Carolina's dual-threat quarterback rushed eight times for a season-high 100 yards, including a 47-yard run in the first quarter. It was his longest run since 2013. But it was his arm that gashed the Giants. Newton continued his MVP campaign by completing 25 of 45 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. However, the Giants were able to apply some pressure with three sacks and held on as their offense scored 28 unanswered to tie the game. But in the end, Carolina marched 49 yards on eight plays in 1:46 to set up the game-winning field goal.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made things interesting by blocking Graham Gano's 34-yard field goal attempt with nine minutes left in a two-possession game at the time. Entering Sunday tied for fifth in the NFL in punts inside the 20-yard line, Brad Wing added two more against Carolina to bring his season total up to 27. He landed them at the four and 10.
NYG: LB Devon Kennard, DT Markus Kuhn, DE George Selvie, WR Geremy Davis, CB Jayron Hosley, OL Adam Gettis, OL Emmett Cleary.
CAR: RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Brenton Bersin, RB Brandon Wegher, S Colin Jones, LB David Mayo, WR Kevin Norwood, DE Ryan Delaire.
STARTING LINEUP CHANGES
NYG: Mark Herzlich for Kennard at SLB, Jay Bromley for Kuhn at RDT.
CAR: Fozzy Whittaker for Stewart at RB.
LG Justin Pugh, DT Cullen Jenkins, and S Craig Dahl along with season captain QB Eli Manning.
GIANTS INJURY REPORT
S Cooper Taylor (concussion), WR Dwayne Harris (shoulder), FB Nikita Whitlock (knee)