4 major observations from Sam Darnold’s performance at the Bucs

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold gave up three turnovers

Going four games without an interception was arguably the most impressive element of Sam Darnold’s upturn in production. However, this streak was halted in no uncertain terms as the signal-caller turned the football over three times at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Perhaps the quarterback was responsible for one – an ill-advised throw to Stephen Sullivan that was picked near the goal line. There was a clear miscommunication with Bradley Bozeman pre-snap that led to the first fumble, with the final nail in the Carolina Panthers’ coffin coming when Ikem Ekwonu got beaten on Darnold’s blindside for his third giveaway of the afternoon.

This was far from ideal and came at the worst possible time. Darnold was largely accurate aside from one or two mishaps, but the trio of turnovers didn’t do the Panthers any favors whatsoever.

Darnold’s been an easy scapegoat given his erratic production since entering the league. So whether this recently improved efficiency was a flash in the pan or not remains to be seen.

This weekend’s turnover frenzy – if it was his fault or not – casts further doubts on his long-term aspirations in the NFL. It’s also done nothing to enhance his hopes of an extended stay in Carolina beyond the 2022 season.

When all the chips pushed into the middle, Darnold couldn’t come through. But he wasn’t alone in that regard.