4 major observations from Sam Darnold’s performance vs. the Broncos
Sam Darnold did enough
The Carolina Panthers didn’t need miracles from Sam Darnold on his first game back. Their defense was relentless once again and a decent running attack set the tone throughout, which is exactly what interim head coach Steve Wilks wanted.
Darnold did enough, managed the game well, and ensured the Panthers got their fourth win of the season with minimal fuss. This puts them at 3-3 under Wilks, whose claims to become Matt Rhule’s permanent successor are growing by the day.
When the final whistle blew, Darnold had completed 57.89 percent of his passes for 164 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a creditable 103.8 passer rating. He also demonstrated impressive improvisation to jump on his own goal-line fumble and roll into the end-zone at an important stage of the contest.
Much will depend on how Wilks perceived his performance levels, but it would be a surprise if the Panthers made another change at quarterback after Week 14. Continuity has been sorely missing under center and although Darnold has undeniable flaws, this is the best option Carolina has right now.
More might be required at the Seattle Seahawks or against two NFC South rivals later on. However, if Darnold can react to different situations and become a trusted game manager, then the Panthers can finish the season positively.