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

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
1 of 5
Sam Darnold
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

87. 36. 123. Final. 28

What are some key observations from Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold’s performance at the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4?

After an incredible start to the 2021 season for Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers, their first big test arrived at the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. This was a chance for the quarterback to prove beyond all doubt he could hold down the position and become Cam Newton’s long-term successor against a team that’s generated some significant momentum over the last fortnight.

There was more pressure than ever on Darnold in this one. Primarily because the Week 4 game was the first full contest without Christian McCaffrey alongside him in the backfield.

Darnold is a calm character. The California kid takes everything in his stride and although this was a daunting challenge, it’s something he was no doubt looking forward to on his current road to redemption.

With this in mind, here are five key observations from Darnold’s performance at the Cowboys in Week 4.

Key Observation No. 1

Sam Darnold
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold was not helped by his OL

This is getting beyond a joke now.

Sam Darnold is only going to go so far with inept protection in front of him. Carolina’s offensive line was once again not at the races for the most part, which resulted in constant pressure coming the quarterback’s way from start to finish.

Darnold being sacked five times was just the start. He was constantly moved off his spot and working with a collapsed pocket as Dan Quinn turned up the heat on a suspect group that’s unsurprisingly the team’s weak link.

Big changes are needed. And soon.