CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Eli Manning threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett cap New York's game-opening drive and the Giants led the Carolina Panthers 10-0 after the first quarter Thursday night.
Manning directed the Giants to scores on their first two possessions, following his easy scoring throw to Bennett by leading the Giants on a nearly 5-minute drive that ended with Lawrence Tynes' 47-yard field goal. Manning completed 10 of 12 passes for 81 yards in the opening quarter, helping the Giants rack up 158 total yards.
It was a strong start for a team that came in short-handed due to injuries. The Giants were without three starters on offense in receiver Hakeem Nicks, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and right tackle David Diehl. And with the absence of reserve Domenik Hixon, the Giants dressed only four receivers.
It didn't slow Manning, who started the game with a 12-yard strike to wideout Victor Cruz. Andre Brown, starting for Bradshaw, followed with the biggest gainer of the drive when he bounced off a hit from Jon Beason and broke free on the right side for a 31-yard run. Three plays later, Manning found Bennett for an easy throw that put the Giants up at the 11:38 mark of the first quarter.
The touchdown pass capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive that marked the third straight game the Panthers have given up a touchdown on an opponent's first drive.
Then, after the Panthers' first drive stalled across midfield, Brown broke off another long run — this time 16 yards — and Manning efficiently moved the Giants downfield to set up Tynes' kick.
Brown finished the quarter with 77 yards on seven carries, including a 19-yarder in the final minute of the quarter.
Carolina managed just 56 yards and three first downs in the period.
The Panthers were missing starting right tackle Byron Bell as well as running back Jonathan Stewart and linebacker Thomas Davis.
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