Thursday night was supposed to be the big unveiling of the Carolina Panthers. It was Cam Newton's first prime-time game in the NFL. All four NFL Network analysts picked the Panthers to beat the defending Super Bowl champions.
The game possibly could not have gone worse. It was a humbling moment for Newton.
Newton said after the Panthers' 36-7 loss to the New York Giants that it was "nothing that (the Giants) did," but defensive lineman Justin Tuck disagreed. He said the Giants' game plan was to hit Newton early and often.
"We hit him early, and it set a huge tone," Tuck said. "We wanted to take away at least one of his options. He knew he was going to get hit all night, and on a short week."
Newton did not play well at all, but he has done enough to make us believe he'll bounce back strong. The Panthers have enough on offense to compete every week.
The bigger worry is on defense. Jon Beason doesn't look like himself. The pass rush is non-existent. Ron Rivera is a defensive coach, but this Panthers team hasn't showed any progress on that side of the ball.
That, more than anything, is what Panthers fans should be hanging their head about.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.