5 major observations from Sam Darnold in Week 1 vs. NY Jets

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
2 of 5
Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold’s impressive first half

As stated previously, if Sam Darnold was nervous heading into his competitive Carolina Panthers debut, he certainly didn’t show it. The signal-caller looked assured under center and made some fantastic throws throughout the first half, even though it didn’t amount to as many points as the team would like.

For all the Panthers’ problems, it wasn’t Darnold they had to worry about.

Outside of the botched handoff on fourth-and-one in the red zone, there was a lot to like about Darnold’s productivity in passing situations. He got some competent protection for most of the opening two-quarters of action and utilized his top two playmakers efficiently.

There was also a throw to Ian Thomas in the end zone that he’d like to have back. Again, in the red zone where problems seem to constantly emerge for the Panthers time and time again.

This is a theme that continued throughout the half, worryingly.

Darnold missed Terrace Marshal Jr. in the end zone just before Ryan Santoso kicked the first points of the game, which should have been out of sight considering how many opportunities Carolina had thanks to a sterling defensive display.

The former USC man finished the first half well thanks to a stunning deep touchdown to Robby Anderson for a connection that’s all too familiar with Jets fans and a running score himself late on to round off an impressive two-minute drill.

There was one criticism. The game should have been over at the half.