Until Steve Smith showed me, I didn’t know that Mercedes-Benz made custom golf carts. Fascinating. By the way, considering that there are two wideouts named Steve Smith playing in this game, the Panthers receiver will be Steve Smith and the Giants receiver will be TOSS (The Other Steve Smith), as I established in last week’s game.

John Madden’s jowls are absolutely frightening in HD.

And you can write in Broncos-Chargers as the final game next Sunday night. The rest of the schedule will be announced at halftime. – James Craven

Really? God help all us viewers. Ahmad Bradshaw takes the kickoff up to the 20 to start the game. Eli Manning fakes the first handoff to Brandon Jacobs, rolls right, and hits Domenik Hixon for what looks like a first down, but it’s a yard short. Jacobs gets 3 when he needs one, then picks up 2 more on first down. Jacobs hits the outside and gets four or five more on the next play.

Manning rolls out, avoids a sack, and he throws it 40 yards to Hixon, who comes down with it at the Carolina 18. Very nice play, both by Manning and Hixon to catch it with two defenders around him. Jacobs gets a yard. 2nd down goes back to the big back for three more yards and a 3rd and 6. Derrick Ward drops the screen pass, and John Carney comes out for the field goal attempt. Kick up and good, 3-0, Giants.

If the Chargers win then Ed Hochuli can breathe a sigh of relief. – SSR

Nuts to that. If anyone’s gonna lose to the Colts in the first round, it’s gonna be my team, dammit.

“Big Cold and Big Wind will make this a whole different ball game in the second half. To find out just how much it will infect the players, let’s go to Andrea Kremer.” – Jim Cantore, visiting the sidelines. (Via Anon).

Fuck, it’s official. Broncos-Chargers next Sunday. I may have to change my travel plans so I’m able to watch the game, even though I should know better by now.

The Panthers will start at the 23 yard line after the returner got smashed up by Zak DeOssie. DeAngelo Williams starts with a 7 yard carry. Jake Delhomme’s first check-down is to Williams, and is dropped. 3rd and 3. Steve Smith catches the lateral, and gets all the way up to the Giants 47 yard line after breaking a couple tackles. “The Playmaker, Utah” — well, yes he is.

Williams grabs a yard on the next carry. Delhomme dips back and slings one deep for Steve Smith, who brings it in and is brought out of bounds at the 11. Williams is tackled for a loss of about 3 yards on the next play. Williams busts up the middle untouched for the TOUCHDOWN, 13 yard run for the Memphis product. Kick is up and good by John Kasay, 7-3, Carolina.

Madden probably lobbied that he couldn’t afford to have to stay in New York and freeze his ass off for a week in order to do the game. He’d much rather go home for the holidays and stay there. How much do you wanna bet that the NBC Saturday Night wild card game is AFC West champ vs. the Colts. – JFein

Makes sense — the furthest East he’d have to go is Denver.

Giants start at the 26 after the Bradshaw kick return. Jacobs grabs four yards on first down. Manning goes to TOSS for the first down completion. Jacobs runs for 10 for another first down — he needs a better nickname than Earth. Carolina takes a time out at midfield.

Jacobs grabs four more yards on first down, heading into Panthers territory. Eli then hits TOSS for another chain movement. Two yards more for Jacobs, followed by a check-down pass to the big back for six more. 3rd and 3 at the 31. Ward gets outside on the play, and rushes all the way to the 22.

Two more rushes for Ward result in 3rd and 3 again inside the 15, and the first quarter is done. That was quick. Manning to TOSS inside the 10 for a first and goal. Jacobs rumbles all the way to the 2, and then on the next play, rumbles some more and falls on a Carolina defender in the end zone. Touchdown, Giants. Carney’s kick is good, 10-7, Giants.

Panthers start at the 35 after a short kick by the Giants. Jonathan Stewart gets nothing on his first carry and 3 on the 2nd one. 3rd down checkdown to Stewart, who is wide open and gets the first down past his own 40. Delhomme throws to Jeff King, the tight end, who moves the chains again by running into Giants territory. Stewart adds six, running up to about the 31.

Stewart comes off under his own power after having trouble getting up. Williams comes back in, cuts right, then reverses to the left and hits the outside corner for another first down at the 14. Next carry gets him a yard. Steve Smith comes down with the pass inside the 5 for first and goal. Williams loses a yard on the carry. He gets the carry again, this time, he goes inside and sneaks in for the Carolina touchdown! Kasay’s kick is good, 14-10, Carolina.

Giants start at the 20 after a touchback. Manning’s off on his first down throw, incomplete. Ward busts a tackle and gets to the outside at the 29. For some reason, they handed off to Madison Hedgecock on 3rd down instead of the RBs, and they wind up short. Jeff Feagles punts to Mark Jones at the Carolina 35.

Jake Delhomme throws it up, it’s nearly picked off by Aaron Ross, and it makes its way into the hands of Muhsin Muhammad, who rushes all the way to the 5 for a first and goal. Fade route to Muhammad gets to the 2. Screen to Steve Smith — he grabs it, avoids stepping out of bounds, and hops into the end zone for a Carolina touchdown! Tom Coughlin’s challenging whether he was out of bounds.

Wait a minute? Walt Coleman? Isn’t he the guy who reversed the call on the Pittsburgh touchdown last week?

Coughlin wins the challenge; Smith is ruled down at the half-yard line. 3rd and goal now.

“Can they make it an 11 point game or a 7 point game?” – Al
“Well, they have the offensive line and running back to make it a 7 point game.” – John, whom I think meant to say 11 point game.

Williams goes right in for the score, Kasay’s kick is good, 21-10, Panthers. If you’re playing in the fantasy football finals today, you’re happy if you have Williams tonight.

Bradshaw’s return is taken down at the 26. Jacobs runs it up to the 29 on first down. Manning hits tight end Kevin Boss at the 45 to move the chains. Pass to Hixon is incomplete, crowd is booing the non-call. Thomas Davis wraps up Eli and takes him to the ground on 2nd down. Ken Lucas knocks off Derrick Ward for a loss of six on a pass in the backfield; here comes a punt from Feagles. Mark Jones fair catches.

First pass is to Steve Smith for not much, and we’re at the two minute warning. Williams gets taken down for not much more on 2nd down. Delhomme’s pass is nearly picked by Terrell Thomas, and Jason Baker punts for the first time. Bradshaw takes the punt to the Giants’ 45. Ward gets the carry, and weaves his way through a big hole on the right side, avoiding tacklers all the way to the Carolina 21. Ward picks up 4 more on the exact same play on 1st down. Manning’s pass deflects off the hands of Boss at the 5. He then throws one right into the hands of Jon Beason, but the linebacker drops it. 4th down. Carney’s FG try from 35 — up and good. 21-13, Panthers.

“Right down Broadway, whether it’s in East Rutherford or Manhattan.” – Al

Mark Jones takes the kickoff out. Williams will rush it once, and that’s halftime. 21-13, Carolina. See you in the next thread.