EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Carolina Panthers let their second game in a row slip away because of a late field goal.
Last week, it was Cade York giving the Cleveland Browns the win over the Panthers as time expired. On Sunday, it was Graham Gano, a former Panther, giving the New York Giants a 19-16 lead and eventual win late in the 4th Quarter.
Baker Mayfield and the Carolina offense had one last possession after that field goal to tie or take the lead. It looked early on that the Panthers were driving down the field as they made it near midfield in just a few plays, but an incomplete pass and a sack later ruined their chances.
The Panthers punted away on 4th & 15 with just over two minutes remaining. New York ran the rest of the clock out and went to 2-0 on the young season. Meanwhile, the Panthers fall to 0-2 as the hot seat begins to burn up for head coach Matt Rhule.
Sunday's game against the Giants started badly from the get-go for the Panthers. Chuba Hubbard fumbled the opening kickoff and gave New York great starting field position to open the game.
The Giants could only add a field goal, though, as they went up 3-0.
Carolina's ensuing drive was going well until a passing play lost two yards and an offensive pass interference gave the Panthers a 3rd and 22 at their own 36-yard-line. To make matters worse, Robby Anderson fumbled on the next play after catching a pass that had no chance of earning a first down.
The Panthers' defense clamped down and held New York to another field goal, keeping the game within one score.
Mayfield and the Panthers offense nickel and dimed their way into the red zone on the next possession, but the drive stalled and Carolina could only cut the lead in half with a field goal of their own.
The Panthers tied the game with a field goal in the 2nd Quarter and the game was tied 6-6 at halftime.
Carolina came out swinging in the second half. After forcing the Giants to a three and out in the opening drive of the half, the Panthers conducted a four-play drive that resulted in a touchdown capped off by a 16-yard DJ Moore touchdown reception. The drive was highlighted by a 29-yard pass from Mayfield to Moore and a 22-yard run by Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey ran well all day and amassed 102 yards on 15 carries. However, the Panthers focused on passing against the Giants and turned to Mayfield to lead the team.
The Giants responded with their own flashy drive and scored a touchdown off a 16-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Bellinger to retie the game.
New York took the lead early in the 4th Quarter with another Gano field goal.
McCaffrey then burst through for a 49-yard rush that ultimately only led to a field goal that once again tied the game.
The Giants' next drive slowly but surely led them into Panthers' territory. A holding penalty effectively stalled the drive and the Giants could only reach the 38-yard-line, but that was just enough to get Gano in position to give the Giants the lead.
Gano nailed the 56-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead. It was a similar feeling to Week 1 when the Browns won off of a 58-yard field goal by the Browns' rookie kicker.
Carolina was unable to respond and lost 19-16. The loss drops the Panthers to 0-2 and is their ninth straight loss dating back to last season.
Mayfield's final stat line shows he completed only 14 of 29 passes for just 145 yards and a touchdown. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had just a slightly better day as he completed 22 of 34 passes for 176 yards.
The Panthers have not won since Week 10 in November 2021 against the Arizona Cardinals. Five games have been decided by one score during this span.
On the other side, the Giants' 2-0 start is remarkable considering they have not even been above .500 since 2016. The Giants won in Week 1 after the Tennessee Titans missed a late field goal and now win in Week 2 thanks to their own kicker.
Elsewhere in the NFC South, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went to 2-0 after beating the New Orleans Saints (1-1) 20-10. The Falcons are facing the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday and are looking for their first win of the season.
Next week, the Panthers face the Saints at Bank of America Stadium as they continue their effort to get in the win column.
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