CAR-NYG Grades: Beckham Jr. and Norman both earn negative grades
Here are the most noteworthy performances and top-graded efforts as the Carolina Panthers stayed perfect, despite a frantic comeback from the New York Giants. The final score was 38-35 Panthers.
– What can we say about Cam Newton (+4.3) that hasn’t already been said? This was far from his best effort, but still mightily impressive, as he had himself a five-touchdown game that featured his usual brand of composure and chain moving. Where he struggled somewhat was going downfield, where he completed just the one pass out of seven (though there was one drop), but he more than made up for that with the damage he was able to do with his legs. Showing that if you take one weapon in his arsenal away, the MVP candidate will just double down on another to hurt you.
– No denying what the marquee matchup was, as Josh Norman (-5.9) battled Odell Beckham Jr. (-5.5) in what was more than just a feisty affair. Looking solely at Norman, he won’t be happy with his performance, during the play and after it. He missed three tackles, allowed Beckham to beat him deep twice (one was dropped, one throw was off target) and was flagged for two unnecessary roughness penalties of his own. While this did feel like an anomaly to his excellent season and discussion will center on the theatrics of their battle, there’s no denying Norman was given his toughest test in coverage on the year.
– That makes it two out of three weeks that the Carolina defense has been knocked on the ropes, and given the time of the year it is, there’s a worry that it’s peaked too soon. Luke Kuechly (-0.1) may be having a season for the ages, but this was not a game where he’ll look back as one of his better ones. He caught himself out of position in coverage a couple of times, gambling on where the ball was going and leaving wide open spaces for Giants’ pass catchers. He also didn’t have the best time when linemen got their hands on him, and the result was a big tackle day (13,) but rather average effort.
Top Graded Players:
QB Cam Newton (+4.3)
RG Trai Turner (+4.3)
LG Andrew Norwell (+3.1)
DE Mario Addison (+2.5)
CB Charles Tillman (+2.2)
New York Giants
– Where else can we start but with Odell Beckham Jr.? His -5.5 grade is the worst of his career, and really tells the story of a man who let the situation (or opponent) get the better of him mentally. The stuff before the catch? He was fine. He was able to get separation against Josh Norman on a fairly consistent basis (certainly more than any other wide receiver this year). Where he fell down was when it came to making the catch (two bad drops) and more noticeably after the catch where he drew three personal foul penalties (to go with one offensive pass interference). This was a different Beckham Jr. who, for whatever reason, seemed more intent on laying a hurting on Norman and Cortland Finnegan, than just doing his job.
– While most of the talks of Giants’ defensive linemen centers on Jason Pierre-Paul (+0.7), it was once against Robert Ayers (+3.3) who stepped up with a big day. He was a constant menace to Michael Oher (-1.2), and ended the day with a couple of sacks and five total disruptions along with three more stops in the run game. He’s proven to be no one-year wonder in New York, and looks a different player from the guy once viewed as a bust in Denver.
– It was a solid outing for Eli Manning (+3.8), throwing four touchdowns with one pick that came when a receiver fell down. He didn’t have a lot of success downfield, but did work the shorter and intermediate stuff impressively. That’s no lighthearted feat when you face the kind of pressure he did, with 16 of his dropbacks impacted by the Panthers; yet to his credit, he kept his poise, avoiding sacks or turnovers.
Top Graded Players:
LG Justin Pugh (+3.9)
QB Eli Manning (+3.8)
DE Robert Ayers (+3.3)
C Weston Richburg (+2.2)
DL Cullen Jenkins (+1.8)