The New York Giants beat the Carolina Panthers 25-3 on Sunday.
Given that the win moved NY up to 2-5 on the year, it’s easy to see why getting manhandled in the way that his team ultimately did this past weekend ultimately sent alarm bells ringing in Panthers coach Matt Rhule’s head.
One person who struggled in particular against the Giants was Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold. He recorded just 111 yards and one pick before being replaced by backup P.J. Walker.
“It’s hard no matter where you are,” Darnold said of getting benched. “As a competitor, you want to go out there and give 100 percent for your teammates and for the guys next to you.”
That said, Darnold seemed to understand that this particularly move by his head coach was circumstantial. It is not indicative of what will happen in the future. That’s a message Rhule attempted to reiterate after the game.
“The last thing I want to do is embarrass somebody,” Rhule said. “Because I know this is going to be the story this week. But I believe sometimes, if you go back to the old days before all the pressure, quarterbacks would have to sit for a little bit. Sam will define who he is. This is up to him. But we wanted to get something going… Sam will be the quarterback. I just wanted to get something going today.”
The Panthers originally started this season 3-0, only to subsequently drop their next four in a row (admittedly, the refs cheated them out of one of those wins). A lot of that has to do with Darnold. Coming into this season, many assumed that his struggles with the New York Jets were the byproduct of that franchise’s general awfulness.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union clearly aren’t shy. https://t.co/XVprdKabks
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 26, 2021
Early returns in Carolina, however, suggest that he isn’t quite the prized commodity that some around the league have painted him as.
Obviously Darnold still has time to turn things around. The year is young, after all. If he doesn’t, though – expect to hear the Deshaun Watson rumors intensify.