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Sam Darnold will remain the Panthers starter after the bye

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Mike Florio explains why despite Nathaniel Hackett’s struggles in Denver, odds are the organization won’t make a head-coaching change until after the season wraps.

Sam Darnold’s first appearance of the 2022 season went well enough for him to book a second.

The Panthers beat the Broncos 23-10 and Darnold went 11-of-19 for 164 yards and a touchdown through the air in the win. He was also credited for a touchdown when he fell on his own fumble and rolled into the end zone in the third quarter of the game.

Head coach Steve Wilks said in his postgame press conference that Darnold will start against Geno Smith and the Seahawks when the Panthers return from their bye for a Week 14 matchup of former Jets quarterbacks.

“We talk about that all the time, just really trying to manage the game,” Wilks said, via Augusta Stone of the team’s website. “When I say manage the game, I’m talking about being smart, not forcing it in there, always ready to take your check down. Particularly when we get in field goal range, not taking a sack, throwing the ball away, just being aware of the situations. I thought he did a good job of that today.”

If Darnold can continue to do a good job the rest of the way, he’ll head into free agency with something to show for what was looking like a lost season before Sunday’s performance.