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Graham Gano picked a great time to dig deep for a career-long field goal.
The Carolina Panthers kicker lined up for a 63-yarder Sunday in Charlotte with time winding down against the New York Giants and his team trailing 31-30. The Panthers had blown an 11-point second-half lead and were left with Gano’s long shot to win.
And he came through.
Gano’s game-winner almost an NFL record
Gano’s kick secured a 33-31 win for Carolina. It’s also the second-longest kick in NFL history, putting Gano in a five-way tie behind Matt Prater, who hit a 64-yarder for the Broncos in the thin Denver air in 2013.
The Panthers improve to 3-1 with the win, a critical victory in the competitive NFC South, while the Giants fall to 1-4.
Gano’s kick salvaged a second-half surge that appeared to have the Panthers firmly in control in the fourth quarter. Carolina took a 27-16 lead on a Christian McCaffrey touchdown pass from Cam Newton with 11:21 remaining.
Giants rallied late
But the Giants roared back. Odell Beckham Jr. caught his first touchdown of the season three minutes later on a 33-yard contested ball in the end zone after Manning and Newton traded interceptions.
The Panthers answered with a field goal and a 30-24 lead with 2:01 remaining, but the Giants needed only four plays to march 75 yards on their next possession that ended with a Saquon Barkley touchdown catch from Manning that gave the Giants a 31-30 lead and took the air out of the Panthers home crowd.
Gano salvages game
When Carolina could only advance the ball to the Giants 45-yard line, it looked like the Panthers had squandered an opportunity.
But Gano delivered one of the biggest kicks of his career to keep the Panthers on pace with the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
Giants avoid Barkley scare
The Giants picked up another loss, but avoided a big scare after Barkley appeared to injure his knee on their go-ahead touchdown. Barkley landed awkwardly after leaping into the end zone and appeared to tweak his knee without contact.
But Giants coach Pat Shurmur confirmed after the game that Barkley was fine and moving with no issue after the game.
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