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Panthers’ Matt Rhule gets brutally honest on the decision to bench Sam Darnold vs. Giants

Panthers, Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold had his fair share of struggles in his team’s 25-3 road loss to the New York Giants in Week 7.

Darnold failed to orchestrate any promising drives during his time on the field, as he threw one interception and posted a lowly 57.3 passer rating. This prompted Panthers head coach Matt Rhule to bench Darnold in the fourth quarter in favor of backup quarterback P.J. Walker, who completed a mere 21 percent of his passes and notched a 39.6 passer rating.

In speaking after the loss to the Giants, Rhule revealed on just why Darnold was benched during the fourth quarter with Carolina trailing by a 15-3 score.

“Just felt like we needed some sort of a spark,” Rhule said.

“I could feel like it was at the tipping point. We were now or never. The last thing I want to do was embarrass somebody because I know that this is going to be the story this week.”

Rhule also immediately shut down any talk of a possible quarterback controversy by noting that Darnold will start for the Panthers in their upcoming NFC South road clash against the Atlanta Falcons.

“Sam will be our quarterback next week,” Rhule said. “He will be our quarterback moving forward.”

Rhule elected to take some responsibility for Darnold’s sluggish outing against the Giants in Week 7. But as he further added, it is up to the fourth-year quarterback to lead the team in the end.

“We’re obviously not coaching Sam well enough,” Rhule said.

“We have to coach better, but our players have to play better as well and that starts with the quarterback.”

Darnold opened up the season on a promising note, as he guided Carolina to a 3-0 start and recorded six total touchdowns. But after four straight underwhelming outings to go along with the Panthers’ 3-4 record, there is now much pressure on him to turn the tide at this point in the campaign.