EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Led by rookie Corey Webster, a New
York Giants secondary maligned for its inability to hang onto the
ball made amends Saturday night with four interceptions in a 27-21
win over Carolina.
Inserted into the first unit after an injury to starter Will
Peterson, Webster had an interception and recovered a fumble as the
Giants forced six turnovers against the Panthers and snapped
Carolina's 10-game preseason win streak.
Eli Manning threw two long scoring passes to overcome a subpar
performance by the Giants' first-team offense and defense, both of
which were pushed around by the Panthers in the first half.
Aside from the two touchdown passes, the Panthers' starters
virtually shut down the Giants' offense. Defensive end Julius
Peppers scored one of Carolina's touchdowns on a 29-yard fumble
Manning was 3-of-9 for 150 yards -- 131 of which came on the two
scoring plays -- and looked hurried and out of rhythm on most of his
pass attempts. The second-year quarterback connected on touchdown
passes of 90 yards to David Tyree and 41 yards to Amani Toomer.
Manning suffered an elbow sprain when Peppers sacked him on the
play that led to the touchdown, but X-rays were negative.
"He hit the ball out and when I tried to throw, it was like
throwing air," Manning said. "It feels better now, and everything
should be fine. Hopefully I'll be ready on Monday. I need the
Jake Delhomme was 15-of-19 for 146 yards for the Panthers and
appeared able to move the ball at will against the Giants during
his quarter and a half of work. But despite rolling up 260 yards of
offense in the first half, the Panthers trailed 17-14 at the half,
with one of their two touchdowns coming on the fumble return by
The other touchdown came on a 2-yard pass from Delhomme to tight
end Mike Seidman in the first quarter.
"We did some good things but turnovers bit us," said Carolina
coach John Fox. "We made some big plays, but we gave up some big
plays. Yardage-wise we did pretty good, but that doesn't win
Webster was recruited as a wide receiver at LSU before being
switched to defensive back before his sophomore year, and he
finished with 16 career interceptions, the second-most in school
history. The Giants drafted him to improve a secondary that often
failed to capitalize on interception opportunities last season.
In the second quarter, Webster stripped the ball from Panthers
wide receiver Steve Smith at the Carolina 28, setting up Jay
Feeley's 35-yard field goal. In the third quarter, he intercepted
Chris Weinke and returned the ball 28 yards.
"It was a good start," Webster said. "Coach preaches
interceptions and turnovers. We picked up where we left off last
week, and we turned the knockdowns into interceptions."
On Carolina's first possession of the game, Delhomme drove the
Panthers to the New York 17 before throwing a ball directly into
the hands of Allen at the 3.
Three plays later, Manning completed an 8-yard pass to Tyree,
who appeared to be wrapped up by linebacker Will Witherspoon. But
the second-year wide receiver slipped away and ran down the right
The Giants' offensive futility was illustrated on the starters'
final possession of the first half.
Under pressure on first down, Manning's pass fell far short of
tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. On the next play, Peppers blew past
right tackle Kareem McKenzie, knocked the ball out of Manning's
hand and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to give Carolina a
14-10 lead, dunking the ball over the crossbar for emphasis.
Manning brought the Giants back two plays later, hitting Toomer
down the middle for a 41-yard touchdown.