Grading Sam Darnold’s first three games as Carolina Panthers QB

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

Sam Darnold at Houston Texans – Week 3

The first road game of Sam Darnold’s career with the Carolina Panthers came on Thursday Night Football at the Houston Texans. This was another winnable game for the organization against a team that’s undergone substantial changes this offseason, but some significant complications emerged that centered on Christian McCaffrey suffering a hamstring injury in the second quarter.

This potential disaster was immediately felt by the Panthers, who seemed to be reeling from the All-Pro’s absence. Getting in at halftime to regroup was the best possible thing that happened to Carolina, who came out with a renewed sense of purpose after the break led by their new signal-caller.

Simply put, when the Panthers needed Darnold the most, he came up with the goods.

He put together some impressive throws throughout the half to keep the Texans out of range, with Carolina’s defense also contributing despite Jaycee Horn going down with a broken foot that is expected to sideline the rookie cornerback several weeks if not more.

Grade: A+

This was a coming-out party for Darnold after becoming a target for ridicule throughout his three-year stint with the New York Jets. It was another 300-yard performance and the player also went over for two rushing scores to boot without a consistent presence across the protection once again.