EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One of the nuttiest days of a nutty New York Giants season featured star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at his best and worst. Beckham spent most of the day tangled up with Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and other defenders, throwing punches, drawing three personal-foul penalties and basically being shut down.
At the end, though, Beckham redeemed himself a bit with a tying touchdown pass from Eli Manning in the final two minutes, beating Norman and erasing what once was a 35-7 Carolina lead. The Giants appeared to have real hope of dealing the Panthers their first loss of the season.
But as has happened all season, the opponent had more than enough time to go downfield and score the winning points. Graham Gano's 43-yard field goal as time expired gave Carolina a 38-35 victory and may have ended the Giants' chances at making the postseason.
What it means: Massive trouble for the Giants' slim playoff hopes. With the Washington Redskins winning to improve to 7-7, the Giants fall to 6-8 and a full game behind with two to play and no tiebreaker help. If the Philadelphia Eagles win Sunday night, the Giants would need next week's Washington-Philadelphia game to end in a tie so as not to be eliminated from postseason contention.
What were they thinking? Manning's interception in the end zone following a blocked field goal that set the Giants up in Carolina territory while down 14 points was inexplicable. He was under pressure, yes, but he needed to throw that ball away safely. The Giants were fortunate to get the ball right back on a Carolina fumble and score soon thereafter to cut the lead to seven with more than five minutes left.
One reason to get excited: After Rashad Jennings' best game of the season last week, it appears the Giants ditched their attachment to their maddening, ineffective running back committee and decided to give Jennings the ball as the lead back. He responded with his new best game of the season, carrying the ball 16 times for 107 yards and a 38-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that cut Carolina's lead to 14 points.
One reason to panic: Beckham's antics earned him three personal-foul penalties and surely will lead to a significant fine, but it's not out of the question that the NFL could suspend him for his on-field actions. As long as the Giants' playoff hopes have any life left, they'll need Beckham on the field for both of their remaining games.
Fantasy watch: Manning finished the game with 245 passing yards and four touchdown passes. That gives him 32 touchdown passes for the season, which is a new career high for him. He had 31 touchdown passes in 2010 and 30 last year.
Ouch: Safety Cooper Taylor left the game in the third quarter with a concussion. Return specialist Dwayne Harris, who missed practice last week with a shoulder injury, was able to play but left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. Beckham replaced him as the punt returner. Fullback/defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock injured his knee while playing defense in the fourth quarter.