5 key observations from Sam Darnold’s performance vs. Saints in Week 2

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
4 of 5
Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brandon Zylstra /

Sam Darnold’s connection with Brandon Zylstra

All the talk’s been of the dynamic offensive weapons on the Carolina Panthers. Something that made it difficult to envisage a situation where Sam Darnold would fail in a different environment.

However, it was another lesser-known figure that took center stage in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.

After being virtually anonymous last season outside of a standout special teams contribution, Brandon Zylstra proved he too can be a force to be reckoned with in the passing game if given the opportunity.

The former CFL star who also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings had something of a coming-out party in Week 2, catching his first-ever NFL touchdown in the first quarter and becoming a reliable presence across the middle for Darnold to utilize.

This was a surprise New Orleans didn’t see coming that’s for sure.

Many questioned whether Zylstra would make the team following a couple of preseason drops, but those in power made the right call taking him through based on this performance.

Zylstra eventually finished the game with three receptions from as many targets for 44 receiving yards and one score. This won’t have done his chances of more usage moving forward any harm at all.