Sam Darnold wasn’t facing the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, but the Panthers quarterback was back at the stadium he called home for his first three seasons and it was not a happy homecoming.
Darnold was benched in the fourth quarter after going 16-of-25 for 111 yards and an interception in the 25-3 Panthers loss. Darnold said he “internalized” head coach Matt Rhule’s decision to look for a spark with P.J. Walker and that the location of the benching didn’t make it sting more.
“No. It’s hard no matter where you are,” Darnold said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “As a competitor, you want to go out there and give 100 percent for your teammates and for the guys next to you.”
Rhule said that Darnold remains the team’s starter, but the Panthers have been linked to a pursuit of Deshaun Watson and landing him would obviously change the outlook at quarterback in Carolina. If they don’t, it will be up to Darnold to try to correct the nosedive that has happened offensively over the last four games.