The Carolina Panthers are putting together quite the Underdog resume this season. They entered the campaign in the shadows of division opponents (Tampa Bay, New Orleans) with a “hand-me-down” QB in Sam Darnold. Despite the odds, the Panthers roared to 3-0 with a 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.
Sam Darnold looked poised and stern, Thursday night. He led with his 304 passing yards and nearly 70% completion percentage, going 24-34. He didn’t have any passing touchdowns on his ledger but you have to admit, Darnold has been looking great. The wheels were in motion as he racked up 2 rushing touchdowns. “While Darnold faced an unusual amount of pressure during the game’s slog of a midsection, absorbing three sacks and taking a number of other big hits, he remained effective on the move, showcasing his best stuff at both the start and finish of Thursday’s win,” writes Cody Benjamin and Jordan Dijani of CBS Sports.
Big Underdog Energy: Resiliency.
One of the best parts of the story is resiliency. Most will agree that Darnold looked like a completely different athlete during his time in New York. It also created an impression on all of us, a nasty first-impression, if you will. Those harsh criticisms have a tendency to follow athletes and usher them out of the league. The voices get louder. For Darnold, he hasn’t let those words follow him and he’s proving just how powerful resiliency can be.
It can fuel a team. He understands the term “resilient” as well.
Like a true leader, Darnold praises his soldiers for their recent success. “We’re resilent,” Darnold said when asked about Carolina’s success during the post-game presser, Thursday. “We had a lot of guys in the building with us during OTAs which showed us the type of team that we wanted to be. But then we went to Spartanburg and had a great training camp, down there in the heat. [It] Kinda showed what kinda team we were when we practiced against Baltimore and Indy. We always knew what kind of team we had, it was just always about going out there on game-day and executing. We’ve been doing a good job so we gotta keep taking it one week at a time.
McCaffrey goes down, again.
Superstar RB Christian McCaffrey left the game in the first half after suffering a Strained Hamstring. It’s more of the same for talented back, whose seen his share of injuries. Carolina will also be without their first-round CB, Jaycee Horn, who broke his foot last night.
The team maintains that its next man up for them and that they will continue the fight as the season rolls on. Carolina is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2015. Carolina Left Tackle Cam Erving spoke on the injuries after game. “We’re a football team,” he said. “We’re not the Carolina Christian McCaffreys.”
The Panthers hit the road next week for a 1PM date with the red hot Dallas Cowboys. All eyes will be on Sam Darnold as he continues to lead his resilient bunch to the top of the league.