3 winners and 3 losers from Panthers win at the Texans in Week 3

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB

The first half was a bit of a rollercoaster for Sam Darnold after a strong second drive that led to a touchdown, before looking completely lost following the injury to Christian McCaffrey.

The offensive line did Darnold no favors. He was sacked three times and fumbled the ball on two of those before the Carolina Panthers luckily recovered both of them.

But in the second half, Darnold came out slinging, leading a drive that resulted in rookie tight end Tommy Tremble going for a rushing touchdown and wide receiver Alex Erickson for another 25-yard score.

Darnold also had a field day slinging it to D.J. Moore, as the receiver caught eight balls for 126 yards on 12 targets to continue and even enhance the blossoming relationship between the two.

The former USC star finished the night 23-for-34 passing for 304 yards and a 95.7 rating. He had his struggles but came through when he was needed most and left plenty of reasons to be encouraged regarding his long-term aspirations.

The Panthers can’t ask for much more than that on a night where they lost their best offensive player. Darnold has to do better than Teddy Bridgewater without the All-Pro if he’s forced to miss an extended period, but he’s off to a good start nonetheless.