Kevin Boss leaves game early

I'm in Washington preparing for tonight's Cowboys-Redskins game, but I'll file periodic updates on the other two games.

New York Giants tight end Kevin Boss took a vicious shot in the back from Panthers safety Sherrod Martin early in the first quarter and he's left the game. The official word from Giants is a neck injury. Boss' return is "questionable."

Boss has been replaced by second-year tight end Travis Beckum, who is getting overwhelmed by Panthers defenders at the line of scrimmage. Giants cornerback Aaron Ross is inactive because of plantar fasciitis, and reserve safety Deon Grant has already made a big play with an acrobatic interception in his own end zone.

As expected, Keith Bulluck and Jonathan Goff both started at linebacker for the Giants. In a bit of a surprising move, second-round pick draft Linval Joseph is inactive for today's game. General manager Jerry Reese fully expected him to be a contributor from Day 1.

The Giants only trail 3-0 in the first quarter because of a brilliant shoe-string tackle by safety Kenny Phillips. That had to be a huge moment for a guy who's returning from microfracture surgery.

Back to Boss' injury: I thought it should've been a 15-yard penalty on Martin. The ball was clearly overthrown and Martin speared Boss anyway. Fox's Daryl Johnston said it wasn't head-t0-head contact, but I don't think it matters when it's a late hit on a defenseless receiver.