4 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers at Saints in Week 18

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold leads Carolina Panthers on a game-winning final drive

Sam Darnold‘s three turnovers in key moments played a leading role in the Carolina Panthers’ demise at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, placing the blame entirely on the quarterback is harsh and foolish in equal measure.

Two fumbles were not all his doing. While the interception – his first in four games – was an ill-advised throw, it was another positive performance from Darnold overall en route to 341 passing yards and three touchdowns.

That won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But if Darnold can finish with similar numbers and return to his turnover-free ways in Week 18, it could be the deciding factor in whether or not he gets another deal.

Darnold’s production has been better than most envisaged after such a torrid 2021. Whether that’s enough for the new regime to make him their bridge option while Matt Corral or another recruit from the college ranks gets up to speed is another matter.

Sunday’s game might be close considering there should be additional freedom on both sides. If it comes down to Darnold, then putting together a game-winning drive would conclude his campaign on the best possible platform before his fate is decided this spring.

What comes next for Darnold is unclear. But the former USC star has given himself a fighting chance to salvage something from his career if nothing else.

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