Panthers vs Giants live updates: Sam Darnold benched, Carolina falls to New York

·7 min read

Just over a month ago, coming into the Panthers’ season-opener with the Jets, the shiniest story lines involved quarterback Sam Darnold.

How would his tenure begin in Carolina? And what would it be like for Darnold to play against his old team, one that saw him fall short (not necessarily by the total fault of his own) of the expectations bestowed upon him?

Those same questions appear to linger once more after a wash of the first six games of the 2021 season: The Panthers — after a 3-0 start, with wins against the Jets, the not-at-full-strength Saints and the Texans (who were led by a third-string quarterback) — are now 3-3. They’re without star running back Christian McCaffrey, shifting the offensive focus back to Darnold.

And so old questions remain and a new one emerges: Could Sunday be a reset for Carolina?

Darnold is returning to his stomping grounds again, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and he and his team will try to answer questions new and old against the 1-5 New York Giants.

The Observer has three journalists in East Rutherford for the game, including beat reporter Jonathan M. Alexander and columnist Scott Fowler. Follow along here for live updates and video highlights throughout the day. Refresh this page for the latest updates.

What’s the Panthers vs Giants score?

Giants Graham Gano FG, then Devontae Booker TD: Giants 25, Panthers 3

Running back Devontae Booker rushed around the left end for a 19-yard touchdown on the first play of a fourth-quarter drive after the Panthers turned the ball over on downs.

That comes after a Graham Gano field goal the possession before.

The Giants have scored points on their last four possessions.

Sam Darnold benched

Early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at the New York Giants, Darnold was benched in favor of Panthers backup quarterback PJ Walker. Walker’s first drive didn’t fare much better than any of Darnold’s, as it ended with a three-and-out (and a sack on third down).

Graham Gano 53-yard FG: Giants 15, Panthers 3

Kicker Graham Gano nailed a 53-yard field goal to extend the Giants’ lead to 12 over the Panthers with 12:47 remaining in the game.

Dante Pettis TD: Giants 12, Panthers 3

New York quarterback Daniel Jones facilitated an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive — one that was sustained by an amazing one-handed catch by Jones on a trick play, and one that was punctuated by a 5-yard toss to Dante Pettis.

The Panthers take over with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter down nine.


Key stats from the first half: Chuba Hubbard took nine carries for 24 yards; DJ Moore notched two catches for 33 yards (on back-to-back plays); and Sam Darnold completed 12 of 19 passes for 85 yards and an interception.

Defensively, the Panthers have been led by Jeremy Chinn (5 total tackles), Brian Burns (3 tackles, 1 sack) and Jermaine Carter (4 total tackles). The defense as a whole has only allowed 157 yards in 14:43 time of possession.


The Panthers’ best drive of the game so far was undone by a Sam Darnold interception, which was caught by James Bradberry on the New York 5-yard line. The Giants took over with 3:28 remaining in the half, holding on to a 5-3 lead. Before the pick, Darnold completed 5 of 5 passes for 55 yards on the drive.


Graham Gano, a former Panther, drills a 49-yard kick to punctuate a promising Giants drive (and to give New York its first lead) with 8:42 remaining in the first half.


After the goal-line stand, Sam Darnold throws an errant pass under pressure and is called for intentional grounding in the end zone. Safety.

The Giants take over with 14:56 remaining in the first half.


The Panthers defense doesn’t allow the Giants to score from the 1-yard line — including on a fourth-down halfback dive — and Carolina keeps the lead heading into the second quarter.

The defense bailed out poor offense and special teams play leading up to its goal-line stand. The series before, receiver Robby Anderson dropped a third-down pass that likely would’ve led to a first down. And then that failed third-down conversion led to a bad punt, which set the Giants up 41 yards from their end zone.

Zane Gonzalez FG: Panthers 3, Giants 0

On the game’s opening drive, the Panthers use 13 plays to go 46 yards in 6:23 minutes to set up a Zane Gonzalez field goal from 45 yards out. The kick panged off the left goalpost before dribbling in.

One significant moment in the drive? On the fourth play from scrimmage, inside their own 40, the Panthers risked it and went for it on 4th and 1. They converted.

Is Christian McCaffrey playing today?

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will miss his fourth straight game today when they play at the New York Giants. McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve three weeks after injuring his hamstring in the win at the Houston Texans. (Saquon Barkley, the Giants’ star running back, is out too.)

What’s the latest with Stephon Gilmore and the Panthers?

The Panthers were optimistic Stephon Gilmore would come off the physically unable to perform list today and make his Carolina debut. After watching him in practice Saturday, the Panthers decided to wait another week to activate him.

Carolina traded with the New England Patriots for Gilmore, 31, to help at cornerback after losing rookie Jaycee Horn to a broken foot.

Who’s inactive for the Panthers and Giants today?

Panthers: LB Shaq Thompson, WR Terrace Marshall, FB Gio Ricci, LT Cameron Erving, DT Phil Hoskins, DE Darryl Johnson, CB Rashaan Melvin.

Giants: RB Saquon Barkley, WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, CB Josh Jackson, CB Sam Beal, DT Danny Shelton.

Panthers-Giants injury report

For a full scouting and injury report of the game, click here.

Panthers: LB Shaq Thompson (foot) OUT, WR Terrace Marshall (concussion) OUT, FB Giovanni Ricci (concussion) OUT, LT Cameron Erving (illness) QUESTIONABLE, WR Alex Erickson (concussion) QUESTIONABLE.

Giants: WR Kadarius Toney (ankle) OUT, WR Kenny Golladay (knee) OUT, RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) OUT, DT Danny Shelton (pec) DOUBTFUL, Evan Engram (calf) QUESTIONABLE, John Ross (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, Sterling Shepard (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, Darius Slayton (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE.

Who is broadcasting the Panthers game?

Adam Amin is doing the play-by-play on FOX while former Denver Bronco Mark Schlereth is on the color commentary. Longtime Charlotte resident Shannon Spake is the in-game reporter.

How to watch Giants vs Panthers game

Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff between the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is being broadcast on FOX. If you’re watching in Charlotte, that means WJZY-Fox 46.

The Panthers-Cowboys game can be streamed online with a subscription to YouTube TV or Hulu+ Live TV, so long as you are viewing from inside the broadcast footprint — a map of which can be found below via 506 Sports.

Fox NFL broadcast map for Oct. 24, 2021.
Fox NFL broadcast map for Oct. 24, 2021.
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