5 key observations from Sam Darnold’s performance at the Texans

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold was fantastic

Aside from the two drops by Sam Darnold in the first half, this was a fantastic performance from the quarterback. His second-half display was nothing short of outstanding and this was a coming-out party of sorts for the player on the national stage.

Darnold was dealing in the fourth quarter. He connected with his receivers time and time again in key moments, with a throw to Dan Arnold on third-and-10 something that really caught the eye.

After just three games with the Carolina Panthers, Darnold looks the part and is silencing his doubters with every passing game.

Exactly what the Panthers envisaged when they acquired the USC product from the New York Jets.

Darnold finished the game with 304 yards and a 95.7 passer rating, completing 23 of 30 attempts. He also managed to secure two rushing scores for the first time in his career.

There will be a nervous wait for the Panthers in terms of Christian McCaffrey’s status moving forward. Carolina is also reeling from Jaycee Horn’s reported broken foot that will keep him out for multiple weeks.

Having Darnold taking this game by the scruff of the neck and getting them to 3-0 was huge. Something Teddy Bridgewater was unable to do in McCaffrey’s absence in 2020.

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Plenty of challenges lie ahead. But this was Darnold’s best performance in a Carolina uniform so far.