The back-and-forth shootout between the Giants and the Panthers was an entertaining spectacle where narratives seemed to go through entire life cycles multiple times, and each team’s season outlook changed by the minute. With 2:16 left to go in regulation, Graham Gano converted his third field goal of the day to put the Panthers up 30-24. The Giants would get the ball back into the hands of Eli Manning, who had thrown two interceptions on successive drives. Somehow, Manning was able to pull himself together and become a competent quarterback long enough to march his team down to the Panthers’ 15-yard line. After a 55-yard touchdown was reversed to a 40-yard reception, Manning dumped a pass off to Saquon Barkley and let the team’s first-overall pick do the rest.
Barkley would remain down for a few minutes, giving the impression that he had suffered a serious injury because of his awkward landing at the end of his touchdown dive. Once broadcasters cleared up that he was standing on the sideline laughing with his teammates, it looked like the Giants had pulled this one out of the bag after spending most of the game looking like the team Odell Beckham Jr. criticized them to be.
During his comeback attempt, Cam Newton had far less poise and promise. He was hampered by poor play-calling, Norv Turner called a 3rd-and-1 handoff to Christian McCaffrey with 30 seconds left and no timeouts, injuries, Devin Funchess had to be helped off the field after the third play of the drive, and the broadcast team at FOX, whose TV line was far off the official line and led some fans to believe Newton spiked the ball on 4th-and-1. All of this set up Gano for the tall task of converting a 63-yard field goal attempt with the game on the line. Luckily for Carolina, the kicker was up for it.
The look on Odell’s face after Gano hits the kick leads me to believe he’s probably regretting the apology he gave his teammates after trashing them during a Sunday NFL Countdown interview.