EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Once they got cozy in their new digs, the Giants weren't about to let Carolina spoil their homecoming.
It took the Giants more than a half to fully feel comfortable in their $1.6 billion stadium. Then they surged past the Panthers, getting a little revenge along the way, in a 31-18 opening victory Sunday.
"It was a whole new half, and all the errors we made were out the window," said Hakeem Nicks, who caught three touchdowns from Eli Manning, all in the left corner of the end zone. "We just wanted to go out there and click."
Did they ever.
Ahmad Bradshaw set up his own 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter with a 39-yard romp as New York outscored Carolina 17-2 in the second half. The Giants outgained the Panthers 196-72 in the last two quarters of a generally sloppy game that had nine turnovers — five by Carolina — and 16 penalties.
The Giants gained a bit of payback on a team that routed them 41-9 in the hosts' final game at Giants Stadium in December. In 2005, the Panthers shut out the Giants in a playoff game at the same venue.
But Carolina couldn't match New York in the second half this time before 77,245 fans — considered a sellout despite the unusual sight of hundreds of empty seats in the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants could not sell all the club seats, which don't count under league blackout rules.
The opener hardly was a classic, often matching the gloomy weather and gray colors that dominate the stadium, which already had held concerts, international soccer matches and preseason NFL.