Final

Panthers 17

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Giants 24

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: ESPN

8:00 PM ET, August 17, 2009

Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 0 2 7 817
NYG 7 7 0 1024

Hill returns fumble 18 yards for winning score as time runs out

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin and John Fox met at midfield and shared a laugh.

What else could the two coaches do after seeing the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers preseason game end on a bizarre play as the clock ran out?

Defensive end Tommie Hill scored on a stunning 18-yard fumble return on the final play from scrimmage and the Giants scored a 24-17 victory over the Panthers on Monday night.

"Kind of an interesting ending," said Fox, who was still smiling even though his team lost.

Stunning. Shocking. Unexpected. Pick a word. They all would fit.

Fourth-string quarterback Hunter Cantwell had tied the game with 57 seconds to play, taking Carolina on an 88-yard drive. He ran for 21 yards and passed for 67 on the five-play drive that ended with a 31-yard scoring pass to Jason Chery and a 2-point conversion pass to Andrew Davie.

The Giants had a three-and-out series and Jeff Feagles punted 56 yards to the Carolina 18 with 10 seconds to play.

Instead of taking a knee, Cantwell went back to pass on the next play and his arm was hit by Leger Douzable. The ball went in the air and Hill grabbed it and scurried into the left corner of the end zone for a shocking ending.

"I've never seen a game end like that, not that way," Hill said.

It was the first touchdown for the free agent rookie from Colorado State since high school and he kept the ball.

"I'm just a rookie trying to make the team," Hill added. "Anything like that that helps the team win in turn helps me. It was just a fortunate situation and I made the most of it."

The same holds true for Douzable, a second-year pro trying to earn a spot on a very talented line.

"Everybody figured on defense they would take a knee," Douzable said. "When they snapped it, I put a move on the guard. I saw the quarterback with the ball in his hand and I got it."

And the Giants and Panthers ended up avoiding overtime.

"Both sides have a lot of work, but we have time. We have three weeks to do it," Fox said.

The Giants had led almost the entire game, scoring on a 19-yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw, a 36-yard screen pass from David Carr to halfback Danny Ware and a 46-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

New York also forced five turnovers, with the last one deciding the game.

Linebacker James Anderson's punt block led to a Carolina safety in the first half and halfback Mike Goodson scored on a 14-yard run in the third quarter for Carolina's other scores.

Eli Manning, who signed a $97 million contract extension last week, played only two series for New York in trying to find a deep threat to replace the troubled Plaxico Burress, who was released in April in the wake of his self-inflicted gunshot wound.

While none of the receivers stood out, Manning had to be happy with his offensive line and running game. Brandon Jacobs had a 13-yard catch and run and rambled 22 yards on a 77-yard scoring drive that featured an 18-yard Manning pass to Domenik Hixon and the touchdown run by Bradshaw, who is replacing Derrick Ward, the 1,000 rusher who signed with Tampa Bay.

"We ran the ball really well, hit a couple passes and we got a touchdown," said Manning, who was 2 of 3 for 31 yards playing behind an offense line that was without starting guards Chris Snee and Rich Seubert. "That is always the goal. We did a nice job with it, so I thought we were effective as the first group."

James Anderson came clean on his punt block and got Carolina on the scoreboard with a safety midway through the second quarter. Feagles had to bat the ball out of the end zone to prevent a Panthers' touchdown.

The defense and Carr combined for New York's second touchdown late in the second quarter. Maurice Evans sacked Josh McCown and rookie DeAndre Wright recovered at the Panthers 36.

On third-and-10, New York had a perfect call against a Panthers' blitz and Ware was almost untouched scoring on a 36-yard screen pass.

Panthers safety Quinton Teal intercepted an Andre Woodson pass early in the third quarter and returned the ball 21 yards to the Giants 30. Goodson ran 16 yards with a pitch on the first down and then cut back left on the second play for the touchdown, although he was flagged for a taunting penalty for making a throat slash gesture after the run.

Tynes, who missed a 43-yard field goal earlier in the game that matched two teams that disappointed in the playoffs last season, seemed to give New York breathing room with his 46-yarder in the fourth quarter.

However, Cantwell tied the game with less than a minute to play and then coughed up the ball to go from hero to goat.

The game marked the return of two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora to the Giants' lineup after missing last season with a knee injury. He delighted the crowd with a first-quarter sack.

Jake Delhomme, who threw five interceptions in the playoff loss to Arizona, was 5 for 9 for 38 yards in an average performance over three series.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CAR
NYG
1st Downs1414
Passing 1st downs
97
Rushing 1st downs
56
1st downs from Penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
3-125-16
4th down efficiency
0-10-1
Total Plays5763
Total Yards276279
Yards per play4.84.4
Total Drives1514
Passing152140
Comp - Att
16-3015-26
Yards per pass
5.15.4
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks - Yards Lost
4-225-31
Rushing124139
Rushing Attempts
2332
Yards per rush
5.44.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-11-1
Penalties6-503-20
Turnovers51
Fumbles lost
40
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession25:5334:07

Passing Leaders

CARC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cantwell4/8678.4101-0
Moore4/7436.1001-5
NYGC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Carr6/10747.4103-17
Woodson5/11454.1011-7

Rushing Leaders

CARCARYDSAVGTDLG
Goodson6437.2116
Williams6294.808
NYGCARYDSAVGTDLG
Patrick8364.5029
Bradshaw5357.0119

Receiving Leaders

CARRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Chery23517.51312
Moore22713.50173
NYGRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Ware24321.51364
Hixon22311.50182

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCARNYG
nygTD04:50Ahmad Bradshaw 19 Yd Run (Lawrence Tynes Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERCARNYG
carSF02:31Ball Through End Zone 27
nygTD00:37Danny Ware 36 Yd Pass From David Carr (Lawrence Tynes Kick) 214
THIRD QUARTERCARNYG
carTD11:41Mike Goodson 14 Yd Run (John Kasay Kick) 914
FOURTH QUARTERCARNYG
nygFG10:33Lawrence Tynes 46 Yd 917
carTD00:57Jason Chery 31 Yd Pass From Hunter Cantwell (Hunter Cantwell Pass To Andrew Davie For Two-Point Conversion) 1717
nygTD00:00Tommie Hill 18 Yd Fumble Return (Lawrence Tynes Kick) 1724