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Darnold benched, Panthers embarrassed by NY Giants in fourth-straight loss

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, center, watches his team play during the second half...
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, center, watches his team play during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)(Seth Wenig | AP)
Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT
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RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers struggled to get anything going offensively Sunday and were blown out on the road to a New York Giants team that came into the game with one win and was without a majority of their starting offense due to injuries.

The Panthers (3-4) have now lost four straight games and look to be in free-fall once again with a 25-3 loss to the Giants.

“Unbelievably disappointed in our coaching staff,” head coach Matt Rhule said after the game.

Quarterback Sam Darnold was benched in the fourth quarter for backup P.J. Waker and Carolina’s 3-0 start to the season feels like ages ago.

Darnold went 16-for-25 for 111 passing yards with an interception. He was sacked three times. When Walker entered the game, he didn’t fare much better, completing 3-of-14 passes for 33 yards while also being sacked three times.

Rhule said postgame that Darnold will still be the starting quarterback moving forward.

“The last thing you want to do is embarrass somebody because you know this is going to be the story this week. Sam will define who he is,” Rhule said.

After the Panthers took a quick 3-0 lead in the first quarter, New York (2-5) scored a safety in the second quarter, led 5-3 at halftime, and then shut out Carolina for the rest of the game in brutal fashion, which included Giants quarterback Daniel Jones even hauling in a one-handed catch.

A week after Rhule said Carolina would begin running the ball more, rookie RB Chuba Hubbard, who has been starting in the place of the injured Christian McCaffrey, had just 12 carries for 28 yards. Receiver Robby Anderson once again had multiple drops and DJ Moore didn’t fare much better.

The Panthers mustered up just 173 total yards, went 2-for-15 on third downs and averaged 2.8 yards per play.

“Losing like this has to infuriate us,” Rhule added.

Defensively, the Panthers were solid in the first half as Brian Burns and Derrick Brown each had sacks but they began to tire out in the second half. Jones finished the game 22-of-33 for 203 yards and a touchdown to Dante Pettis. Running back Devontae Booker scored the second TD for New York and former Carolina kicker Graham Gano was 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts that included a 53-yarder.

The Panthers will travel to face their division-rival Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.

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