Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule seems to be in the business of proving himself correct, not in the business of winning.
On 4th and inches from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 1-yard line, with his team up 7-3 at the five-minute mark of the second quarter, Rhule opted not for the greatest short-yardage quarterback in the history of the sport. Instead, he stubbornly stuck with his boy.
So it was Sam Darnold, not Cam Newton, who would then bobble his sneak attempt and fail to pick up a measly half yard to at least move the chains. Then, when asked by CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson heading into the break why he didn’t use Newton, Rhule simply said “Both of our quarterbacks can do that.”
CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson said she asked Matt Rhule why he didn’t use Cam Newton on the 4th and short and he said: “Both of our quarterbacks can do that.”
— Nick Carboni (@NickCarboniWCNC) January 9, 2022
Well, Matt, clearly not.
Had Rhule not repeatedly implied and employed a two-quarterback approach for the last two months, this would be a non-issue. If you commit to one player, you commit to one player and it’s understandable for Darnold to stay on the field.
But he hasn’t done that.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, a whole 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and 75 career rushing touchdowns was left on the sideline—as was what would have likely been a 14-3 lead with just four minutes and change left in the half. They, instead, headed into the tunnel down 10-7.