Jones touchdown pass went to Dante Pettis and survived a very long replay review in helping the Giants (2-5) hand Carolina (3-4) its fourth straight loss with star running back Christian McCaffrey sidelined.
Pettis coincidently threw the slightly overthrown pass on the flea flicker which Jones caught with the finger tips of his throwing hand. Jones finished 23 of 33 for 203 yards and had six carries for 30 yards.
Graham Gano kicked field goals of 49, 53 and 44 yards against his former team as the Giants struggled to score touchdowns with wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee), Kadarius Toney (ankle) and Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) all inactive. Devontae Booker added a 19-yard TD run with under five minutes to play.
New York’s much-maligned defense had its best game of the season, limiting Carolina to 173 yards, forcing a safety on an intentional grounding, and getting an interception from James Bradberry, another former Panther. Rookie linebacker Azeez Ojulari had 2 1/2 of New York’s six sacks. Carolina was 2 of 15 on third downs.
The three points and 173 total yards are team lows since coach Matt Rhule took over last year.
The Panthers looked good on the opening series of the game. Former Jet Sam Darnold drove them 46 yards on 13 plays before settling for a 45-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez that hit the upright but went through.
That’s was basically it for the game. Darnold, traded to Carolina in the offseason, was lifted in the fourth quarter after hitting 16 of 25 passes for 111 yards and the pick. PJ Walker finished up.
The Giants, who got their first home victory in four tries in 2021, thought they had a 2-yard TD pass from Jones to Kyle Rudolph in the second quarter. Replay showed the tight end short of the end zone and New York failed on three attempts from inside the 1-yard line.
New York did manage to get two points when Darnold was called for intentional grounding on a pass from the end zone under heavy pressure.
After the ensuing free kick, Jones hit Pettis on a 27-yard slant to set up Gano’s 49-yard field goal for a 5-3 edge that eventually gave New York its first halftime lead.
The review of the Jones-Rudolph touchdown took less than two minutes. The one after the Jones-to-Pettis catch lasted longer than four minutes. It even seemed the call might be overturned but referee Carl Cheffers eventually said the call on the field was correct.
Panthers: C.J. Henderson (shoulder) and G John Miller (ankle) left in the second half with injuries. Miller did not return
Giants: Starting S/PR Jabrill Peppers hurt his right ankle on a third-quarter punt return. Starting OLB Lorenzo Carter hurt his left ankle but returned. T Matt Peart hurt a finger but returned quickly.
Panthers: finish two-game road trip, facing Falcons in Atlanta.
Giants: at Kansas City for a Monday night game against the Chiefs.