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Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers no prime-time players

This was Cam Newton's first NFL prime-time game. Like the rest of his team, he wasn't ready.

Newton didn't make great decisions at times with his zone-read options. He was inaccurate on a few passes and wasn't able to get anything going on the ground. He threw three interceptions, although the game was well decided by the time he threw two of them.

"It was nothing that they did," Newton said Thursday night after his Carolina Panthers' 36-7 loss to the New York Giants. "It was all on us."

We disagree. The Giants were far tougher than the Panthers up front on both sides of the ball. It might be awhile before we see Cam struggle this much in prime time again.

Here's what else we learned Thursday night:

» Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski seemed to be auditioning for future head-coaching jobs with all the bells and whistles he broke out in the first half. None of his moves worked. The Panthers never established their base offense before using the fancy stuff. They were too smart for their own good.

» The zone-read plays didn't work in large part because the Giants' defensive ends are so athletic. Jason Pierre-Paul doesn't get enough credit for being a great run defender.

» The Giants can't seem to survive a game without injuries to their secondary. Safety Antrel Rolle left with a knee injury, and Jayron Hosley exited with a hamstring injury. Giants coach Tom Coughlin indicated Rolle's injury wasn't serious.

» Eli Manning's pass protection was flawless. Don't be surprised if veteran David Diehl fails to get his job back when he's healthy again.

» Running back Andre Brown and wide receiver Ramses Barden might not have won long-term starting jobs, but New York's depth looks a lot better than it did 24 hours ago. This win will resonate: Big Blue found two nice role players.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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