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Sam Darnold impresses in Week 3 NFL preseason

Panthers QB Sam Darnold had a strong game in Week 3 of the NFL preseason. We recap his performance.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers made a big investment in Sam Darnold when they traded for the quarterback in the offseason. The Panthers gave the New York Jets three draft picks, including a second-rounder in 2022, for Darnold. Here’s how the passer performed in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sam Darnold Week 3 preseason stats

19/25, 162 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT

Analysis

Darnold through an inordinate amount of times and managed to avoid turnovers and lead the Panthers to two scores. His throw to Robby Anderson for the second touchdown was on the money. And he also connected with rookie Terrace Marshall, who appears to have moved ahead of David Moore.

Darnold still has a ways to go to be anointed as Carolina’s franchise quarterback, but the potential is there. If he can click with the three strong receivers the Panthers plan on using often in D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall, this could be a surprisingly good season in Carolina.

Fantasy implications

Darnold’s attempts mean the Panthers like his ability enough to trust him with high volume. Carolina’s receivers are stellar and Christian McCaffrey is one of the top receiving backs in the league. Darnold has the skill positions, so it comes down to him to execute plays. He’s going to be available on waivers in most leagues, so there’s the opportunity to wait and see if he can replicate this type of performance in a regular-season game against top defensive units.