Sam Darnold Named Panthers' Starting QB vs. Saints over Cam Newton

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule has named Sam Darnold the team's starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Cam Newton is the only other quarterback on the active roster, per Darin Gantt of the team's official site. P.J. Walker is currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Darnold returned to the field last week for the first time since injuring his shoulder in Week 9. He totaled 190 yards on 15-of-32 passing in the 32-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Through 10 games in his first year with the Panthers, Darnold has 2,176 passing yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions to go with five rushing touchdowns. He was responsible for 10 scores in the first four games of the year but has contributed just two touchdowns in his last six appearances.

Newton was brought in after Darnold was placed on injured reserve, but he has struggled since becoming the starter.

The 32-year-old has just 684 passing yards through six appearances (five starts), adding four passing touchdowns, five rushing touchdowns and five interceptions. His 64.4 quarterback rating would be by far the worst of his career.

The poor quarterback play has led to a steep decline for Carolina, which is now just 5-10 after a 3-0 start.

Darnold will get another chance in Week 17 to show he deserves another shot as a starting quarterback going into 2022.