5 key talking points from the Carolina Panthers’ pathetic Week 9 loss

Luke Gray
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Christian McCaffrey /

Final. 24. 47. 6. 87

What were the key talking points on another dismal Carolina Panthers Sunday as they dropped below .500 with a loss to the New England Patriots?

Things are now worryingly bad where the Carolina Panthers are concerned. After a positive 3-0 start, the team has capitulated to 4-5 with the offense regressing considerably from a season ago, heads are rolling among the fanbase, and calls for change are intensifying, whether that be at quarterback or one of the coaching staff.

It’s difficult to see how Sam Darnold can resurrect not only his Panthers career but his NFL career.

No longer with the excuse of Adam Gase and lack of offensive weapons, we are currently seeing what Darnold is, and that’s just not a starting level NFL signal-caller.

It’s clear that Darnold is trying and the effort is there, but it’s just not happening for the former USC man, as the weeks go on Carolina’s decision to pick up Darnold’s fifth-year option guaranteeing him a staggering $18.5 million in 2022 becomes concerning. Especially considering they pulled the trigger without seeing him in action in camp or on the field.

This clearly means the Panthers are going back to square one at the most important position on the field. Not exactly the best look for Matt Rhule after releasing Cam Newton and trading Teddy Bridgewater over the last two offseasons before acquiring Darnold from the New York Jets.

Without further ado, here are five key talking points as the Panthers lost for the fourth time in five weeks.