Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 9/21/12

No Hakeem Nicks? No Ahmad Bradshaw? No problem. NFL teams often use the phrase “next man up” when starters go down with injuries, and the Giants exemplified the importance of depth by adhering to it on Thursday night. Their offense looked as good as it has all year, as Eli Manning had his way with the Carolina secondary and reserves Andre Brown and Ramses Barden enjoyed career nights.

But it wasn’t only the Panthers’ defense that struggled. Their offense looked stale right out of the gate. Cam Newton was picked off three times and pressured a ton by the Giants front seven. As Steve Smith put it after the game, nothing worked.

“Everything that we did tonight, we need to go ahead and get a trash can – a good, tin one – and burn those plays and never go back to them,” he said according to the News and Observer. “Because it was shameful for the fans. It was just flat-out terrible. We just got our tails whipped from the beginning to the end in every aspect. It was pretty disgusting.

Sympathy for Carolina fans seemed to be a common theme after the game, as Newton agreed with his star wideout that the loss was embarrassing.

“Who wants to support something that puts on a performance of embarrassment? That’s what that was,” Newton said. “If I was a fan of the Carolina Panthers I’d be holding my head down in shame at the product that was out there.”

The good news for Panthers fans — if there is any — is that it’s only Week 3. Sometimes a little humility early in the season can go a long way.

Photo credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

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