CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Linebacker Michael Boley was asked to assess how the Giants' defense was able to contain the dynamic Cam Newton in Thursday's 36-7 win over the Panthers. He answered the question with one word.
They certainly did. Newton was limited to six runs for only 1 net yard, didn't have a run longer than 3 yards, and completed just 16 of 30 passes for 242 yards with three interceptions.
Newton called his showing in his first prime-time NFL game "a performance of embarrassment'' and said that if he ws a fan of the Panthers "I would be holding my head down in shame of the product that was out there tonight.''
The play that set the tone may have been on the Panthers' fifth play from scrimmage. Newton ran an option and pitched the ball to DeAngelo Williams, but Giants safety Antrel Rolle came up and planted Newton with a big hit.
Rolle said he didn't think that stick sent much of a message to the 6-5, 245-pound quarterback.
"He's a big guy," Rolle said. "I'm sure he's been hit harder than that before. I just tried to do my job and my job is 'When in doubt, take the quarterback out.' Hopefully the other guys will rally to it."
They seemed to and Boley said the hit by Rolle was an important one.
"Anytime you get a quarterback who likes to run the ball, if you put a hat on him it's going to make him think twice about getting outside the pocket," Boley said.
Even a guy as big as Newton?
"Oh yeah," Boley said. "When it's all said and done, he's still a quarterback. They're not used to getting hit all the time."
Justin Tuck, who later had another big hit on Newton on an option play, agreed.
"You want to take away at least one part of the option," Tuck said. "Making sure that anytime we've got a shot to hit him we would take advantage of it. He knew that he was going to get hit all night. On a short week. That was part of it."