5 key matchups to watch during the Panthers at Falcons in Week 8

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Brady Christensen /

Sam Darnold vs. Carolina Panthers OL

Sam Darnold might be done in the NFL after an atrocious game against a New York Giants team that should have been easily defeated. But that doesn’t mean the young quarterback needs to go down without a fight.

While the blame will ultimately fall on Darnold’s shoulders, whether it is deserved or not, the point needs to be made that the Carolina Panthers’ offensive line has given up at least five sacks in three of the team’s four losses on the season. With six being surrendered against the Giants.

That is not a winning formula for any team and it has certainly had an effect on Darnold’s play.

It’s not all bad however as rookie Brady Christensen was finally given the chance to start at his natural position of left tackle and held up reasonably well along with free-agent addition Michael Jordan at left guard. But that wasn’t exactly one of the Watt or Bosa brothers they were guarding against.

Darnold seems to be fighting against his offensive line and the same can be said the other way around. The two positions that need to work together better than any other just aren’t clicking.

This relationship needs to be patched up quickly if Darnold is going to show teams that he has anything left to give should the Panthers elect to move on.

The offensive line needs to keep the pocket clean. Darnold also needs to get the ball out quickly and accurately.

They need to help each other in any way they can as neither is good enough to carry the other. Even the best protection can’t hold up forever and elite quarterbacks cannot make every throw on the run.

The responsibility, and the blame, need to be shared equally.

Darnold is playing for his career and we can only hope something miraculous happens in Week 8 for his sake.