5 big talking points from the Panthers’ disappointing Week 5 loss

(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Royce Freeman
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Royce Freeman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

The Carolina Panthers offense lost this game

I’ll keep the criticism of the offensive line brief this week. Fans knew coming into the season how bad the protection was, and little has been done to rectify this.

One point that was emphasized today, John Miller who may be suffering the long-term effects of COVID-19 and was unvaccinated with contracting the virus, does not look like an NFL caliber guard. This was his worst performance of the bunch, it’s still a mystery how former Alabama stud Deonte Brown is not seeing time on the field.

Now on to the quarterback.

This was easily Sam Darnold’s worst showing for the Carolina Panthers and reminiscent of his days at MetLife Stadium. The signal-caller wasn’t helped by key drops from Tommy Tremble and Robby Anderson. However, we can’t continue to solely blame the line.

Some blame must fall on the former USC man.

The first two picks Darnold threw today were firmly on his shoulders – he was at fault for trying to force the ball. There were also numerous missed throws including a potential touchdown to Anderson who was visibly upset on the sideline.

I went out on a limb last week and said the Panthers had found a franchise quarterback if they were willing to invest in him. While we saw the New York Jets version of Darnold, I still believe in the right circumstances he can succeed, unfortunately behind this line that won’t happen.

A lot was made last season about Teddy Bridgewater and his poor execution in game-winning drives, Darnold had the opportunity to set his stall out and prove to fans he could do that, but it was something the player didn’t manage to accomplish.

Things do not get any easier for Darnold next week as a Minnesota Vikings defensive line consisting of Danielle Hunter, Sheldon Richardson, and Dalvin Tomlinson roll into town. Yikes.