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NFL: Panthers to start QB Sam Darnold against Saints

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Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold will start Sunday at New Orleans, Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday.

Darnold started the first nine games this season before going on injured reserve with a broken shoulder blade.

He returned to action last Sunday, relieving Cam Newton and completing 15 of 32 passes for 190 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 32-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Darnold, 24, is 4-5 as Carolina’s starter and has completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 2,176 yards with seven TDs and 11 interceptions. He has also rushed for 196 yards and five touchdowns.

Newton, 32, was signed on Nov. 12 after Darnold’s injury and is 0-5 as the starter. He has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 684 yards with four scores and five picks. The former NFL MVP has rushed for 225 yards and five touchdowns.

Backup QB P.J. Walker was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday along with pass rusher Haason Reddick.

After visiting the Saints (7-8) in Week 17, the Panthers (5-10) will close out the season at Tampa Bay on Jan. 9.

–Field Level Media

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