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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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold made things happen

While the running game deserves untold credit for their contribution to another impressive success, Sam Darnold also made things happen through the air to put the exclamation point on proceedings in the second half.

When the Carolina Panthers needed Darnold to make a big play, he duly obliged. His connections with D.J. Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr. continue to blossom and there was a real conviction to his distribution behind a much-improved offensive line.

Darnold’s poise in the pocket was impressive for the fourth-straight game. This was also evident in terms of maneuvering within the pocket and getting out on the move when opportunities arose.

The former USC standout is putting together some outstanding performances when the Panthers needed it most. And they now have two games to win in pursuit of the unlikeliest playoff spot imaginable.

Throwing for 250 passing yards and scoring two combined touchdowns without getting sacked once is further evidence of how well Darnold has transitioned back into the lineup. Something that the Panthers need to continue ahead of their potential NFC South title decider against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17.

Darnold’s renaissance has been a breath of fresh air. He’s getting a lot of help, but there are only a small handful of quarterbacks around the league capable of winning games on their own in any case.