Bryce Young hadn’t done much, good or bad, through two preseason games. That wasn’t all his fault. The Carolina Panthers’ offensive line didn’t give him enough time to get comfortable.
The Panthers’ line played better in the preseason finale against the Detroit Lions, and the results for Young were quite good.
Young, the first overall pick of the draft, played the first quarter and he went seven of 12 for 73 yards and a touchdown. He had a 103.8 passer rating when he took a seat and Andy Dalton took over. Young also had 21 yards rushing on three attempts. Young hadn’t given the Panthers any reason to worry this preseason, but it had to be nice for the team to see him play so well in his last preseason action.
The biggest story with the Panthers through two preseason games wasn’t even Young, but how poorly the offensive line had been in protecting Young. That group looked a little better on Friday night. Young took one sack on the first drive but he held the ball a long time.
Better protection allowed Young to make some nice throws as he completed his first four passes. Then he threw incomplete on his last four on the first drive of the game, though one was a throwaway on a receiver screen that was well covered.
Young had perhaps his best pass of the preseason to start the Panthers’ second drive. He had plenty of time to set up in the pocket and his Adam Thielen dragging across the middle on a perfectly placed ball for a 21-yard gain. After that he scrambled for a first down on third-and-nine.
Then on another third down, he had time again to set up in the pocket and found Thielen on an out route for a nice 16-yard touchdown.
Before Friday, Young was seven-of-12 for 56 yards in two preseason games. It was hard to evaluate him, given the lack of time on the field and the protection issues. On Friday night it was easy to see Young’s vision, patience and accuracy. He also made good decisions on when to run.
The next time we’ll see Young will be his NFL regular-season debut at the Atlanta Falcons. He has some momentum after a strong finish to the preseason.