Week

Five Panthers players to watch in their Week 9 showdown against the Patriots

Here’s a look at some key Carolina players to watch.

P.J. Walker

With Darnold (concussion) “extremely limited” at Carolina’s Wednesday practice and even coach Matt Rhule uncertain of his starter’s status, Walker has taken all the Panthers’ first-team reps at quarterback and is preparing as if he’ll start.

Walker was an undrafted free agent and XFL standout, and has shown he isn’t afraid to let it fly.

Walker’s career average yards per attempt (aDoT) of 10.9 is notably higher than Darnold’s lifetime mark of 8.8 yards and 2021 aDoT of 7.9 yards. He’ll likely try to test the Patriots down the field with burners D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.

That also means Walker is liable to give the Patriots’ defense chances to obtain the football. He has thrown five interceptions against just one touchdown and has almost as many turnover-worthy plays as big-time throws in his career.

Still, the gunslinging

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KC Chiefs’ Tershawn Wharton Week 6 interception airs on ESPN

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Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tershawn Wharton holds up the football after securing an interception against the Washington Football Team Sunday afternoon in Landover, Md.

AP

Second-year defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton was still awestruck Wednesday by his fourth-quarter interception during the Chiefs’ 31-13 win over the Washington Football Team.

The play was so good that it made SportsCenter Top 10.

“It’s probably something that will never be seen or done again, “ Wharton said. “But, I mean, it’s always good to get one in and make a place in the Top 10.”

How the Missouri S&T product made the play Sunday commanded the spotlight.

Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke dropped back to pass and looked for his running back on the right side of the field. Wharton diagnosed the play and put himself in position for what he thought would be an easy knockdown of the ball.

But fate

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NFL Week 4 rookie QB grades: Mac Jones looks serviceable; Zach Wilson, Justin Fields flash

Contrary to what a dictionary might tell you, “rookie” is actually spelled P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

Through three weeks, the 2021 NFL rookie quarterback class looked extremely average at times. The kids took a big step forward in Week 4, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones putting forth their best efforts. Elsewhere, Trey Lance and Davis Mills played about how well as you’d expect, given their situations.

MORE: SN’s NFL power rankings heading into Week 5

Fields had the biggest mountain to climb coming off a poor starting debut in Week 3. He and the Bears would pick up a much-needed win over the Lions, pushing their record to 2-2 and giving the Chicago faithful a small peek into the future

The rookie QB class course-corrected some in Week 4. Here’s how it shook out:

Week 4 rookie QB grades

Davis Mills: F

Stats: 11/21, 87 yards, no touchdowns,

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The good (Aaron Rodgers), the bad (Matt Nagy), and other telling moments from Week 3 in the NFL

Aaron Rodgers celebrates a touchdown against the 49ers.

Aaron Rodgers. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Week 3 of the NFL season was filled with action.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was the big winner of the weekend, setting an NFL record with a game-winning 66-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions and further his case as the greatest kicker of all time.

Meanwhile, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy was a big loser. Take a look below at all the winners and losers from Week 3 of the NFL season.

WINNER: Justin Tucker

Justin Tucker celebrates after breaking NFL record with a 66-yard field goal to defeat the Detroit Lions.

Justin Tucker. Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Justin Tucker is the greatest kicker alive. Against the Lions, he drilled a record-setting 66-yard field goal as time expired to send the Ravens home winners.

Tucker had been teasing his potential for a record-setting kick for years, and when his moment finally came, he was ready.

LOSER: Matt Prater

While one kicker booted their way to glory

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