NFL: Giants 36, Panthers 7
CHARLOTTE (AP) – Eli Manning didn’t need a scintillating fourth quarter comeback Thursday night.
The two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, running back Andre Brown and the rest of the New York Giants were too good for the first three quarters to need one.
Brown ran for a career-high 113 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start and the routed the Carolina Panthers 36-7.
Four days after rallying from 14 points down to beat Tampa Bay, the Giants dominated the first half, scoring on their first four possessions to build a 20-0 lead.
The defending champion Giants (2-1) were without three starters but it hardly mattered.
Brown got the start in place of Ahmad Bradshaw, who sat out with a neck injury. Ramses Barden caught nine passes for a career-high 138 yards in his first NFL start in place of Hakeem Nicks.
Manning completed 27 of 35 passes for 288 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Cam Newton struggled all night and was pressured into three interceptions. The Panthers (1-2) had five turnovers, including two by returner Joe Adams.
Mixing run and pass, the Giants dominated the opening half, outgaining the Panthers 303-125.
Manning completed 19 of 25 passes for 208 yards in the first half, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett to cap the Giants’ game-opening drive and set the tone. It capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive and marked the third straight game the Panthers have given up a touchdown on an opponent’s first drive.
Brown repeatedly bounced off tacklers and Barden had little trouble getting open against a Carolina defense that failed to pressure Manning.
Brown ran 13 times for 71 yards and a touchdown last week against Tampa Bay and surpassed that total by the end of the first quarter with 77 yards on seven.
Barden had 123 yards on seven carries at halftime.
Before Thursday night, the fourth-year receiver had never managed more than nine catches for 94 yards receiving in a season.
Any hopes that the Panthers would turn things around in the second half were slowed when rookie returner Joe Adams of the ball on the opening kickoff resulting in another field goal for Lawrence Tynes.
The Panthers didn’t get on the board until midway through the third quarter when Newton leaped over the pile from a yard out.
NOTES: For the third straight week Carolina receiver Steve Smith sparred with an opposing cornerback during the game. This week’s victim was Corey Webster. … Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart missed his second game of the season because of a toe injury.
The Panthers also were without tackle Byron Bell. … The Panthers honored Olympic gold medal swimmers Cullen Jones and Ricky Berens.