Finally. The Carolina Panthers joined the rest of the NFL who have won games in 2023. It took seven games for them to win their first game. But they finally did it. A comeback win over the Houston Texans. A victory orchestrated by rookie quarterback Bryce Young.
It was a coming out party for Young who has struggled this season after being the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft last April. The Panthers were down, 13-12, with just over six minutes to play when Young took over.
Young and the Panthers took over at their own 9-yard line and marched down the field for a walk-off field goal and success number-one this season.
I had a single thought watching Young and Carolina pull out the victory on the final drive. Lose, and the narrative that the Panthers should have used the No. 1 overall draft pick this year on C.J. Stroud who just happens to be the Texans’ quarterback. Stroud, the second pick in the draft, has gotten off to a fast start and will likely win the Rookie Of The Year award.
Young did everything the Panthers thought he could do during the game-winning drive. He avoided a sack and turned a negative play into a nice gain. Next, he changed a play at the line and completed a side-arm first down pass to Adam Thielen. Minutes later, Young connected with Thielen on a clutch four down pass to set up the willing kick.
Just what the Panthers have been looking for from Young. These were plays Young made while starring at Alabama.
It had been a long time since Carolina had a fourth quarter rally. Back in 2018, Cam Newton helped the Panthers erase a 17-0 fourth-quarter deficit. Back when football was exciting in Charlotte.
Young, who completed 22-of-31 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown while posting a career-best 103.6 passer rating, may bring excitement back for years to come.