Panthers QB Competition: Baker Mayfield Starts, Sam Darnold Throws TD In Opener

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Carolina coach Matt Rhule spun the roulette wheel in the Panthers QB competition. It landed on Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield started Saturday’s preseason game for the Carolina Panthers, going 4 for 7 for 45 yards in his one and only series.

Sam Darnold, meanwhile, came out for the second series and connected with Rashard Higgins for an 8-yard touchdown. Darnold played two series, going 2 for 3 for 16 yards and the score.

Panthers QB Competition Is A Tight Battle

The two former first-round picks have been locked in a tight battle throughout training camp, and Rhule hasn’t given us an inch when it comes to who’s winning the fight.

Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are locked in a tight training camp battle. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

“When we know, we know,” Rhule told reporters earlier this week. “If we knew for sure, we would just say it and move on with it. When we know, we know. Every day brings new evidence. Every day brings new insights. But at the same time, they’re both competitors.

“If one guy has a strong day, the next guy fights back the next day.”

It was Mayfield, though, who got the start Saturday in Washington.

He first completion in a Panthers uniform went to Shi Smith to extend the opening drive, which lasted 13 plays and ended with a field goal.

Mayfield, by the way, showed good chemistry with Smith, Carolina’s sixth-round pick from a year ago. The two connected twice on the opening drive for 34 yards.

It wasn’t all ham and eggs, though. Baker fumbled once near the red zone and had one unfortunate miscommunication.

Darnold was given a short field for his first series after a Washington fumble and promptly put the Panthers in the end zone.

He came back out for the next Carolina drive, threw an incompletion on third down and called it a day.

Who will win the Panthers QB competition? Stay tuned.

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

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