You would struggle to see a better game in Week 15 than the Carolina Panthers’ trip to the New York Giants.
Quarterback Cam Newton helped the Panthers extend their unbeaten run to 14-0 after defeating the giants 38-35 in a game dominated by a fiery matchup between Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jnr.
Beckham Jnr squandered a great chance to score an early touch down for the Giants in the 1st quarter when he dropped a pass from quarterback Eli Manning. What followed in the opening quarter was the start of a fierce battle between Beckham Jnr himself and Josh Norman.
The pair clashed several times and continued the physical exchanges throughout the game, which resulted in many criticising the refereeing team for failing to eject Beckham from the game.
Giants cornerback Dominique Reshard Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) also missed a great opportunity in the 2nd quarter when he dropped a misplaced Cam Newton pass at 7-7, which was followed by a 28 point rally by the Panthers.
Carolina took advantage of the drop by DRC when Newton made a touchdown pass to wide receiver Devin Funchess in the 2nd quarter to make it 21-7.
A quick touchdown pass by Newton saw Panthers receiver Ted Ginn help his side make it 35-7 in the 3rd quarter after gaining the extra point.
The beginning of the second half saw the Beckham V Norman battle continue when the Giants receiver made a helmet on helmet challenge on his opponent. Beckham has now been suspended for one game, meaning he will miss next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Momentum started to build for the Giants close to half way through the 4th quarter when a Graham Gano’s field goal attempt was blocked by DRC before Tom Coughlin’s side recovered the ball, moving into Panthers territory.
The Panthers responded though when cornerback Charles Tillman prevented Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks from receiving Eli Manning’s pass in the end zone, keeping the game at 35-21.
Manning and the Giants were able to take advantage of a misunderstanding by Newton and Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne later in the 4th quarter when the quarterback went on to throw a touchdown pass to running back Shane Vereen.
The good work continued when Giants defensive back Jason Pierre-Paul blocked a Cam Newton pass on a 3rd down. The result was a 40 yard play when Odell Beckham Jnr received a Manning pass before being brought down on the Panthers 20 yard line.
After a strong fight back, Beckham Jnr levelled things up with a touchdown to help his side to 35-35.
Newton, however, proved his worth when he made a run to the 24 yard line before Graham Gano kicked a 43 yard field goal to win the game for the Panthers.
This was an enthralling match-up that ended with the Giants again falling short late on, seeing their play off hopes continue to slip away. The Giants must now win their final two season games against the Vikings and the Eagles and the Washington Redskins must lose their games against the Eagles and the Cowboys for the Giants to make the play offs. They risk missing out for the fourth year in a row.