Although the spotlight was on Eli Manning, Jake Delhomme shone the brightest.
Manning had a decent debut as a starter, but Delhomme overshadowed the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft by throwing for a touchdown and running for another in the Carolina Panthers' 27-20 exhibition victory last night over the New York Giants in Charlotte, N.C.
Delhomme went 11 of 13 for 144 yards.
The game was the first test for Manning, the $45 million quarterback competing with two-time MVP Kurt Warner for New York's starting job.
After backing up Warner in last week's preseason victory over Kansas City, Manning got the start against the NFC champions. He looked every bit the carbon copy of his brother, Peyton, pointing out the defense and calling audibles at the line early.
And his passes were smooth and on the mark. He went 9 for 15 for 117 yards.
"Eli did all right,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He did OK. We don't have any problems with that.''
Warner finished 9 of 11 for 71 yards.
Pittsburgh right guard Kendall Simmons will miss the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, leaving the Steelers short on an offensive line already lacking depth. An MRI yesterday revealed the seriousness of the injury. Simmons was hurt in practice Wednesday. Simmons's agent, Eric Metz, said he will get a second opinion next week from Dr. James Andrews, a noted knee specialist . . . Doug Flutie was back where he's most comfortable: on the football field. The 41-year-old quarterback participated in his first full practice since having arthroscopic surgery Aug. 5 on his left knee. "It was fun,'' said Flutie, San Diego's backup quarterback with rookie Philip Rivers unsigned. "It was nice to get back out there and feel like I belong. I was on the outside looking in for about 2 weeks.'' Coach Marty Schottenheimer was impressed with Flutie's work, but wouldn't commit to playing him tomorrow in the team's exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals. ``We might get him a little bit of time, but what I want to do is make sure we don't have any setbacks,'' Schottenheimer said . . . Bills punter Brian Moorman was held out of practice with a strained left hamstring and could miss Buffalo's exhibition game tomorrow against the Titans.