Sam Darnold benched in loss, but Panthers coach Matt Rhule said QB will remain starter
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is helped up by Mike Remmers after being hit during the second half against the Tennessee Titans. Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki celebrates in the stands after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) is unable to catch a pass in the end zone as he is defended by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Rashad Fenton (27). Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) jumps over Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett (23) in the second quarter. Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Jones is tripped up by Washington Football Team Danny Johnson during the first half. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) holds the football prior throwing a pass against the Miami Dolphins. Baltimore Ravens running back Le’Veon Bell runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) celebrates his first quarter touchdown. New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) is sacked by New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant. Carolina Panthers’ Royce Freeman rushes during the first half against the New York Giants. Tennessee Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt (85) catches a touchdown pass from Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (not pictured) during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Nissan Stadium. New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) celebrates his touchdown catch against the New York Jets. Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Washington Football Team. New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs against the Carolina Panthers. Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) celebrates his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Isaiah Ford (87) celebrates his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons with tight end Mike Gesicki (88) and wide receiver Mack Hollins (86). Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) looks to throw as Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) rushes. Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) scrambles for a first down against Green Bay Packers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (59). Cleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson (30) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos. Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws the ball against the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz (10) just misses blocking the punt of Denver Broncos punter Sam Martin. Cleveland Browns free safety John Johnson (43) and outside linebacker Sione Takitaki (44) tackle Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams. Cleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson (30) leaps over Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson. Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum runs onto the field for the start of the game against the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Carolina Panthers benched Sam Darnold in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 25-3 loss to the New York Giants amid the fourth-year veteran’s continued struggles.
Darnold was replaced by P.J. Walker, the former XFL standout, in the fourth quarter with the Panthers trailing 15-3.
Darnold completed 16 of 25 passes for 111 yards with one interception before being sidelined. Walker connected on just 3 of 14 passes for 33 yards. Each quarterback took three sacks.
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Carolina entered Sunday’s game on a three-game losing streak after starting the season 3-0. Darnold had thrown four touchdowns with six interceptions during the losing streak while completing just 54.7% of its passes.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Darnold would remain the team’s starting quarterback for next week’s game at the Atlanta Falcons, adding that the did not expect to acquire another quarterback before the Nov. 2 trade deadline.
“I could feel like it was at the tipping point, it was now or never,” Rhule said in a postgame news conference. “The last thing I want to do is embarrass somebody because I know that’s going to be the story this week.”
Said Darnold of the benching: “That’s up to him. Whatever he thinks is the best decision, ultimately that is his decision.”
Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer acquired Darnold from the New York Jets in an April trade in exchange for second- and fourth-round draft picks in 2022 and a sixth-round selection this year. The team subsequently dealt incumbent starter Teddy Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos and elected not to select a quarterback in the NFL draft despite owning the No. 8 overall selection.
Darnold is owed $18.858 million fully guaranteed in 2022 after the Panthers exercised his fifth-year option.
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