The Panthers benched quarterback Sam Darnold in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 25-3 loss to the Giants, but they won’t be benching him permanently.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said at his postgame press conference that Darnold will start against the Falcons in Week Eight and in the weeks to follow. Rhule said he turned to P.J. Walker with the team down 15-3 on Sunday in search of a spark for an offense that did nothing after a field goal on their opening drive.
Walker didn’t provide any spark. He was 3-of-14 for 33 yards.
Darnold was 16-of-25 for 111 yards and an interception before getting yanked. He now has seven interceptions over their current four-game losing streak and all of those losses have come without running back Christian McCaffrey in the lineup.
That explains some of the offensive difficulty, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of why Darnold and the unit have performed so poorly of late. Should the results continue to be subpar, the Panthers will have some decisions to make about the long-term future at the position.