Carolina Panthers Quarterback Sam Darnold Carted Off in Team’s Preseason Finale

by Patrick Norton

While the quarterback battle between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold ended with a decision to roll with the former Cleveland Browns QB atop the depth chart, the backup job is a jumbled mess for the Carolina Panthers. Third-string rookie Matt Corral suffered a Lisfranc injury that ends his freshman season in the team’s second exhibition.

Last night, following Mayfield’s start, Carolina rolled with Darnold once the starters exited the field. However, in the third quarter, Buffalo Bills defensive lineman C.J. Brewer tackled Darnold from behind, rolling on top of the quarterback’s ankle in the process. The gruesome clip shows the moment of agony.

Darnold laid on the ground while medical staff immediately tended to the injured player. Unable to walk under his own power, Darnold required a cart to transport the quarterback to the locker room for further evaluation.

Luckily,’s Ian Rapoport reports that the injury is likely a high-ankle sprain. The diagnosis looks like a 4-6 week injury timeline, but that still leaves Carolina without a suitable backup option into Week 4.

P.J. Walker spent the majority of the 2021 season backing up Darnold until called upon. Thought to be the odd-man out in a crowded quarterbacks room, suddenly Walker is an awkward tackle from the starting role. Theoretically, Carolina could opt to bring in an outsider until Sam Darnold returns. However, rolling with two quarterbacks for the short-term seems like the likely outcome.

Regardless of Darnold’s immediate status, the injury only solidifies Baker Mayfield’s standing as the team’s best option moving into the regular season. Next up is Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield’s Revenge Against Cleveland Steals Week 1 Storylines

When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos for Week 1’s Monday Night Football matchup, the possibility of a double-revenge game no longer exists. When the teams swapped Russell Wilson for Drew Lock and plenty of other pieces, a first glance at the upcoming season revealed a matchup in Seattle. However, Week 1 in primetime is a different beast.

But Lock lost out on the starting job to incumbent backup Geno Smith throughout training camp and the preseason. An absence thanks to COVID-19 didn’t help either. However, that leaves Wilson returning home a massive story in football.

However, Baker Mayfield playing against the team that cut ties with the “childish and immature” quarterback certainly piques plenty of interest. The Cleveland Browns opted to trade for Deshaun Watson, but bashed Mayfield on his way out of town, citing his personality.

But when Mayfield takes the field against Cleveland in Week 1, his former team will not include Watson, who faces an 11-game suspension as a result of 24 sexual misconduct civil lawsuits.