4 major observations from Sam Darnold’s performance vs. the Lions

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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What were some major observations to take from Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold’s performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 16?

It didn’t go the Carolina Panthers’ way in Week 15, but quarterback Sam Darnold was one of the few players to emerge with any credit. He missed some opportunities, but another turnover-free game continued his impressive run of performances since replacing Baker Mayfield under center and also increased optimism surrounding the signal-caller, too.

Darnold manned the plate once again in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, who are enjoying a renaissance of their own under Dan Campbell after another dismal opening to the campaign. This was a stern challenge in frigid temperatures, but one that the signal-caller was no doubt relishing after some eye-catching production of late.

The Lions’ pass defense leaves a lot to be desired despite their resurgence over the second half of 2022. Something that Darnold and the Panthers took advantage of en route to a convincing victory.

With this in mind, here are four major observations from Darnold’s performance versus the Lions in Week 16.

Major Observation No. 1

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

Sam Darnold got more assistance

After Sam Darnold basically had to do it alone on offense in Week 15, the quarterback got far better assistance in this one. The offensive line was meaner than ever and the Carolina Panthers also benefitted from a phenomenal running attack that saw Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman both go over 100 yards on the ground.

This is a solid foundation for Darnold. And the signal-caller also played a leading role in Carolina’s most complete performance of the 2022 campaign in their home finale.