EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Aug. 20, 2005) -- Led by rookie
Inserted into the first unit after an injury to starter Will Peterson, Webster had an interception and recovered a fumble as the Giants forced six turnovers against the Panthers and snapped Carolina's 10-game preseason win streak.
Eli Manning threw two long scoring passes to overcome a subpar performance by the Giants' first-team offense and defense, both of which were pushed around by the Panthers in the first half.
Aside from the two touchdown passes, the Panthers' starters virtually shut down the Giants' offense. Defensive end Julius Peppers scored one of Carolina's touchdowns on a 29-yard fumble return.
Manning was 3-of-9 for 150 yards -- 131 of which came on the two scoring plays -- and looked hurried and out of rhythm on most of his pass attempts. The second-year quarterback connected on touchdown passes of 90 yards to David Tyree and 41 yards to Amani Toomer.
Manning suffered an elbow sprain when Peppers sacked him on the play that led to the touchdown, but X-rays were negative.
|Eli Manning tossed two TDs in the leading his Giants to victory over the Panthers.|
Jake Delhomme was 15-of-19 for 146 yards for the Panthers and appeared able to move the ball at will against the Giants during his quarter and a half of work. But despite rolling up 260 yards of offense in the first half, the Panthers trailed 17-14 at the half, with one of their two touchdowns coming on the fumble return by Peppers.
The other touchdown came on a 2-yard pass from Delhomme to tight end Mike Seidman in the first quarter.
"We did some good things but turnovers bit us," said Carolina coach John Fox. "We made some big plays, but we gave up some big plays. Yardage-wise we did pretty good, but that doesn't win games."
Webster was recruited as a wide receiver at LSU before being switched to defensive back before his sophomore year, and he finished with 16 career interceptions, the second-most in school history. The Giants drafted him to improve a secondary that often failed to capitalize on interception opportunities last season.
In the second quarter, Webster stripped the ball from Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith at the Carolina 28, setting up Jay Feely's 35-yard field goal. In the third quarter, he intercepted Chris Weinke and returned the ball 28 yards.
"It was a good start," Webster said. "Coach preaches interceptions and turnovers. We picked up where we left off last week, and we turned the knockdowns into interceptions."
On Carolina's first possession of the game, Delhomme drove the Panthers to the New York 17 before throwing a ball directly into the hands of Allen at the 3.
Three plays later, Manning completed an 8-yard pass to Tyree, who appeared to be wrapped up by linebacker Will Witherspoon. But the second-year wide receiver slipped away and ran down the right sideline.
The Giants' offensive futility was illustrated on the starters' final possession of the first half.
Under pressure on first down, Manning's pass fell far short of tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. On the next play, Peppers blew past right tackle Kareem McKenzie, knocked the ball out of Manning's hand and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to give Carolina a 14-10 lead, dunking the ball over the crossbar for emphasis.
Manning brought the Giants back two plays later, hitting Toomer down the middle for a 41-yard touchdown.