Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Panthers stay perfect with wild, nasty win over Giants

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates a TD in the third quarter.

Getty Images

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates a TD in the third quarter.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After one of the strangest and nastiest games this NFL season, Cam Newton had an odd feeling.

His Panthers had just shrugged off a record-tying Giants comeback to remain perfect with a wild 38-35 victory Sunday. Newton, who threw for five touchdowns to further state his case for most valuable player honors, wasn't quite sure what he'd just been through.

"It was kind of a weird feeling in that locker room, and I'm still feeling kind of weird, but not enough to (not) celebrate," said Newton, who also rushed for 100 yards. "We're just trying to find a way to get victories."

New York tied the score after trailing by 28 points in the third quarter. But Graham Gano's 43-yard field goal as time expired made Carolina the fourth team in league history to start 14-0.

It was Carolina's 18th straight regular-season victory. Newton has thrown for 19 touchdowns in the past five games and a career-best 33 in this so-far special season.

But in a game in which Carolina's pursuit of perfection was supposed to be the focus, Odell Beckham's wild play is what many will remember.

The standout Giants receiver was flagged three times for unsportsmanlike contract, including on one play in which he came from the sideline for a helmet-to-helmet block on Panthers cornerback Josh Norman in the middle of the field.

It looked oh so easy when NFC South champion Carolina led 35-7 with 5:32 left in the third quarter. Then the Giants matched San Francisco's 28-point rally — from the same score — against New Orleans in 1980. The 49ers won that game in overtime.

The Giants tied it at 35 when Beckham — involved in a game-long shoving and jawing session with Norman — got behind Norman for a 14-yard touchdown catch with 1:46 to go. Beckham lost his cool several times as Normangot the best of him.

"He's got the maturity of a little kid," Norman said.

But after the Giants tied it, Newton calmly guided the Panthers 49 yards to the winning kick.

"To go out there and just let them drive down the field is just mind-boggling," said Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter.

Play ranged from chippy to vicious, particularly as the Panthers banged Beckham around. At one point Norman crashed into him and Beckham wrestled Norman to the ground.

Norman also drew a flag for hitting Beckham in the helmet. And after his tying score, Beckham appeared to taunt Norman before he ran to midfield in celebration.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he considered sitting Beckham for some plays but didn't.

"He did lose his composure," Coughlin said. "I think throughout the course of the game he regained it."

Beckham tried to explain his actions.

"You are a competitor. I'm a competitor. We are always going to go at it," he said. "Anybody who has played sports — you are competitive and you are going to go as hard as you can."

NFL spokesman Michael Signora said Sunday night: "The disqualification of a player is a judgment made by the on-field officials. The actions of the players involved in unsportsmanlike conduct will be reviewed as per the standard protocol that is followed in all situations of this type throughout the season."

Meanwhile, Newton stayed calm. And the Panthers stayed perfect.

Bucs are out

The Bucs' playoff chances were slim after consecutive losses dropped them to 6-8. Now their chances are none. Tampa Bay was eliminated from the NFC race by virtue of the Vikings and Seahawks winning Sunday. Game roundups, 4-5C

Panthers71414338
Giants7072135

Panthers stay perfect with wild, nasty win over Giants 12/20/15 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2015 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call

    Blogs

    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  2. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)

    Blogs

    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
  3. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.
  4. Timmy Claus is coming to town

    Blogs

    The circus is coming to town.

    Well, close enough.

    Timmy the Tebow is coming to Tampa Bay.

    It’s true. At least it could be. St. Timothy has been promoted by the New York Mets to high Class-A Port St. Lucie. If he stays promoted, Tebow should be in Tampa Bay for eight games beginning August 10 …

    Coming soon: Tim Tebow will hit Tampa Bay in August.
  5. Ranking Malik Zaire among 2017's top transfer quarterbacks

    Blogs

    The Florida Gators' Malik Zaire is among many transfers who could become starters at their new school. Here's how he stacks up in our rankings of top transfer quarterbacks: