6 best and worst moments from the Panthers vs. Jets in Week 1

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Paradis /

Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold played well

It was hard to determine how well Sam Darnold was with the New York Jets, given the fact that they struggled to provide a talented supporting cast around him. Well, the Carolina Panthers have just that and the signal-caller played a lot better.

Darnold completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 279 yards and a touchdown. Most of his completions were short to intermediate throws but as aforementioned, the Panthers have playmakers and they just need a quarterback to get them the ball and let them work.

There are still some things he could improve on, like the lost fumble, but this version of Darnold is a lot better than the one with the Jets.

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey’s healthy return

Christian McCaffrey made his long-awaited return for the Panthers after missing 13 games last season. It was clear from the beginning that running back was going to be the focal point of the offense as the first four plays all went to him.

He finished the game with 187 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches.

McCaffrey didn’t reach the end zone for the first time since 2019 but regardless of that, he ran the ball hard and could be well on his way to another 1,000-1,000 yard season.

Carolina Panthers pass-rush was legit

Last year, the Panthers played fine on defense but were clearly too young to reach that next level. In the season opener, however, the defense pass-rush played fast, generating 10 quarterback hits and a league-high six sacks in Week 1.

Six different Panthers were awarded sacks, led by Haason Reddick with 1.5.

Granted, the Jets offensive line isn’t great, but it was great to see the Panthers’ front four creating pressure on a consistent basis from multiple players.