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 /
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Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold’s game-winning 4th quarter drive

Just when it seemed like things might be heading for a nervy finish, Sam Darnold pulled a game-winning drive out of the bag just when the Carolina Panthers needed it most. The quarterback led his team on a fantastic fourth-quarter move upfield that concluded with running back Christian McCaffrey powering his way into the end-zone to take Matt Rhule’s men to 2-0.

Darnold was patient in the pocket and came up with an exceptional throw to Terrace Marshall Jr. on third down that set Carolina up perfectly. The signal-caller also found Robby Anderson for a nice gain to get them within touching distance, where McCaffrey did the rest.

This is another strong indicator of Darnold becoming more comfortable in the offense. The signal-caller we saw on the New York Jets might have crumbled in this scenario, but he held his nerve and came up with the goods for a second-straight week.

The Panthers now have a short week before taking on the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. Darnold has more momentum than perhaps even the brightest optimist suspected after two games, which all bodes well when they clash with a team that’s projected to be in contention for the No. 1 overall selection in 2022.

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Darnold can be thoroughly pleased with his efforts so far. But there are still 15 games to go and consistency must remain at this level or even improve to silence his doubters.