4 major observations from Sam Darnold’s performance vs. Steelers

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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What were some major observations from Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold’s performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15?

When Sam Darnold was named the starting quarterback, there wasn’t much confidence in his ability to successfully lead the Carolina Panthers. Not unexpected when one considers how much he struggled in 2021, but a 2-0 start and turnover-free production has shifted the narrative slightly at an important stage of the campaign.

Darnold is taking command at the line of scrimmage, leaning on a superb running attack and an offensive line that’s made substantial strides throughout the season. It’s far from perfect, but this is Carolina’s best option right now and something Steve Wilks went with once again versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15.

This was arguably the most important game of Darnold’s five-year career. One that ended in defeat against a Steelers team that was more than up for the physical challenge in front of them.

With that being said, here are four major observations from Darnold’s performance against the Steelers at Bank of America Stadium.

Major Observation No. 1

Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold was under constant duress

It wasn’t the best performance from the offensive line overall. One could argue it was their worst collective outing since Week 1 when the Carolina Panthers were beaten by the Cleveland Browns on home soil.

This meant Sam Darnold was under constant duress. Pittsburgh got to the signal-caller four times and there were countless other occasions when the quarterback didn’t get anywhere near enough time to go through his progressions.

That’s a recipe for disaster against a team that thrives on generating early momentum.