It was like watching a dad play ball in the driveway with his kid, and the dad is 6-7 and a former NBA player, and the kid is a 3 1/2 years old and only recently learned to walk.
The result was inexplicable. The New York Giants scored the first four times they had the ball. They led 20-0 at halftime and the Panthers fumbled the kickoff that opened the second half. Specifically Joe Adams, the rookie return man, fumbled it. He also would fumble a fourth-quarter punt. Adams lost both.
Carolina was, considering the import of the game and the opportunity, as bad as it has been. Cam Newton played his worst game as a Panther and the Panthers played one of their worst games.
The Giants won 36-7.
"Slow start. Slow middle. Slow finish," said defensive end Greg Hardy. "We just weren't ourselves."
True, the Giants are defending champions. But they lost to Dallas at home and they had to rally to beat Tampa Bay at home. They're pretty good on the road, though.
The 1-2 Panthers play Atlanta in Atlanta in 10 days.
"That's the thing that stinks," said tackle Jordan Gross. "You have all weekend to sit and think about what went wrong. But as coach (Ron) Rivera said it's not time to hit the panic button. We can't let this happen. We can't be so up and down, two weeks down, one week up so far."
Did anybody see this coming -- not the result but the manner in which it was achieved?
Did anybody see the Giants, in a short week, winning by 29 on the road?
Panther receiver Brandon LaFell didn't.
"It was really shocking," he said.