Panthers look to finish, just like Giants' Manning

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 19, 2012
The Carolina Panthers could learn a thing or two from Eli Manning when it comes to finishing games. After losing six games last season in which they were either tied or leading in the fourth quarter, the Panthers are still learning how to put away an opponent. It's a skill Manning has pretty much mastered. Manning, whom the Panthers will face Thursday night when they host the New York Giants, has become one of the league's most proficient ''finishers,'' on par with former greats Dan Marino and John Elway. Manning has engineered 26 fourth-quarter comeback wins for the Giants, five of those in the postseason. He had an NFL-record seven fourth-quarter comebacks last season, including one on the biggest stage of all when he led the Giants to a come-from-behind victory against New England in the Super Bowl. ''I mean, the guy is Captain Comeback,'' said Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. And he's at it again. Manning's latest mini-miracle came Sunday when he shrugged off three second-quarter interceptions and led the Giants back from a 14-point deficit with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the pesky Buccaneers 41-34, adding to his growing legacy by throwing for 510 yards. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Manning has the perfect mentality to handle pressure situations. ''He might make a mistake and I might be ranting and raving about it, but it doesn't get him down,'' Coughlin said. ''He's disappointed, but he knows enough and he has enough mental toughness that he moves on to the very next play and doesn't let it affect the next series. And that's a great attribute for a quarterback.'' Coughlin likens Manning's mentality to Johnny Unitas, another quarterback who was able to put mistakes behind him and move forward. Unitas once threw five interceptions in a game against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 11, 1970, but still managed to find a way to lead the Colts to a 21-20 victory. ''You have to have that ability where you can put it behind you because you can't afford to not think about what's going on in the current series or the next play or whatever,'' Coughlin said. ''He has that ability. ... And the guys around him trust him and believe in him, and that's huge.'' Last year's Super Bowl MVP said it's all about confidence and playing fearless. ''You can't get gun-shy or be scared to throw an interception,'' Manning said. ''You know you have to make better decisions, but you still have to be confident in your own ability.'' The Panthers (1-1) could use a little bit of Manning's killer instinct in the fourth quarter. In the season opener, the Panthers couldn't put together a drive in the fourth quarter and lost 16-10 to Tampa Bay. Even in last week's 35-27 win over New Orleans, the Panthers struggled to put away the Saints. They went three-and-out on their last two offensive possessions, giving Drew Brees a chance to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining. It wasn't until Jon Beason's interception that the Panthers could finally breathe easy. ''Offensively, we could have done a better job finishing. We put our defense in a bad situation,'' Cam Newton said. ''If we would have finished the way we're capable of, they wouldn't have had the ball. All we needed was one first down. If we got the first down, we knee it three times and the game is over. That's something we need to shore up.'' The Manning-Newton matchup is intriguing, especially with both defenses only having three days to prepare. ''If we had two weeks to prepare for them, it would be a challenge,'' Coughlin said of the Panthers. The Panthers have a variety of formations under offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and run the zone read option - a play where Newton sticks the ball in the gut of a running back and then gives the ball off or pulls it away and runs, pitches or throws. It's a scheme the Giants (1-1) aren't familiar with, according to defensive end Justin Tuck, who is well aware how foolish Newton can make defenders look. At the same time, Tuck is confident Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has a plan in place to slow down Carolina. ''He did a great job of putting together a game plan on a short week,'' Tuck said. ''Our plan, if executed, could give them some trouble.'' After being held to 10 yards rushing in the opener, the Panthers broke out with 219 yards on the ground against the Saints. Newton led the way with 71 yards and a touchdown, while running backs DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert also found the end zone. Fewell said the Giants spent a week in the offseason preparing for the uniqueness of Carolina's offense. He plans to use a spy on Newton, as most teams do. ''I think offensively they're doing some really good things to enhance his athletic ability,'' Fewell said. ''I think the sky is the limit for this guy.'' Panthers second-year coach Ron Rivera wouldn't downplay the significance of a victory over the defending champions in a nationally televised night game for his club's confidence - or the excitement it would bring to the fan base. ''This is a big stage for us,'' Rivera said. ''It's been a long time coming that we've played a game like this... It's the type of game that can show that we're really making progress. To come back and play really well would speak well as to where we're headed as a football team.'' -- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Cavs, Pacers talking three-team George trade

In appreciation of Ichiro, the oldest man to play center field since at least 1900

WATCH: Adam Rosales sprints to fastest home run trot record

Report: Pacers not interested in acquiring Kevin Love

Vikings say they encouraged Floyd to drink kombucha tea

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jason Williams injured in first BIG3 game

Report: Mavs leaning toward two-year deal for Nowitzki

Spieth holes bunker shot to win Travelers Championship playoff

Tebow promoted by Mets to A-Advanced St. Lucia

Cam Newton reveals the one thing his life is missing

George denies he is already moving out of Indiana home

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker