Panthers QB Sam Darnold is our Peak Performer for Week 3

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Tonight’s “Peak Performer” honors in the Carolina Panthers’ 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans came down to two worthy candidates—wide receiver DJ Moore and quarterback Sam Darnold. Both showed resolve, both showed some guts and both showed up well in the box score.

But, as the leader of the offense minus its top player, the latter of the two earns the nod for Thursday night’s outing.

Sans running back Christian McCaffrey, Darnold kept his offense rolling just enough to reach the finish line with the victory. He finished having completed 23 of his 34 attempts (67.6 percent) for 304 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He’d also finish with zero turnovers, despite coughing up two fumbles that would both be recovered by center Matt Paradis.

Darnold hasn’t been an absolute star, nor an early Most Valuable Player candidate by any means. (Although he is a back-to-back “Peak Performer” winner.) He has, however, been just what the Panthers are asking him to be—steady.

Through three weeks, the turnover machine we’d seen in New York has totaled 888 passing yards at a 68.2-percent completion rate with just one interception. He also now has three rushing touchdowns in his three games in Carolina, two off the mark he compiled over 38 games with the Jets.

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