Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young continues to silence his doubters, and the promising rookie looks like he's just getting started.
One could forgive Bryce Young for wanting this one a little more. The rookie quarterback heard all the chatter about whether the Carolina Panthers made the right choice at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, so losing against the Houston Texans and good friend C.J. Stroud was simply not an option.
Those within the Panthers knew this, too. It wasn't said publicly, but you can bet your bottom dollar it was understood across the locker room and only raised the stakes further for the NFL's only winless organization.
It wasn't perfect - far from it actually. But the Panthers gave Young a shot to take his team downfield in the closing stages for a game-winning drive, which he masterfully accomplished to round off arguably the most impressive performance of his professional career to date.
The best is yet to come for Bryce Young
When the time came for Young to deliver in the biggest moment, he came of age. Something he's been waiting for and clearly relished based on comments via the team's website.
"Really, it's just excitement for that opportunity. You know, you love opportunities like that. You go in, you have a chance to end the game on your terms and to try to go out and take the game. Down one, what else would you would you hope for? It's why we play the game. So that was all of our response. All of our attitudes were being able to see the opportunity, and really embrace it and make sure we're listening to coaches trust in our training, but embrace the opportunity, and again, I'm super proud of this team for stepping up. Super grateful to be playing with the guys I'm playing with."- Bryce Young via Panthers.com
People outside the circle of watching the Panthers weekly deem Young's supposed struggles based primarily on the team's record. Those with greater knowledge of the situation know full well how much the former Alabama star is progressing week to week - this one just silenced some doubters in the face of the guy taken No. 2 overall.
Seeing Young make accurate throws at all three levels, manipulate the pocket with extra freedom provided by offensive coordinator Thomas Brown's play-calling, and come through in the clutch were all positive steps. The Heisman Trophy winner also held firm in the face of extreme pressure on occasions - he was sacked six times and took 10 hits behind an offensive line that continues to go through issues despite the return of Austin Corbett.
Even the biggest Young critics couldn't have been anything other than impressed by this showing. When one examines his current growth, it becomes evident that he's just getting started.
Young is only going to get better under Brown's guidance and with more experience under his belt. If the Panthers get their act together and find their franchise player better weapons either before the trade deadline or during the 2024 offseason, that'll also help enormously.
The top three quarterbacks taken in the 2023 draft will always be compared, that's just the nature of the beast. But after this showing and the overall body of work, Panthers fans can feel pretty good about their guy.
And make no mistake, the best is yet to come.