Football is back, baby! And you know what else is back with it? Terrible decisions to punt!
Ahhh yes, the familiar, tried-and-true, Let’s punt from our opponent’s 33-yard line call. The Panthers’ mini-punt traveled to the Jets’ 15-yard line, gaining them a staggering 18 yards of field position! Totally worth it.
Alternatively, this would have been about a 50-yard field goal attempt. At this point in the game, new Panthers kicker Ryan Santoso had not yet attempted a FG in an NFL game. But the broadcast team reported that Rhule told them Santoso is good from about 53. Hmm. Clearly, Rhule didn’t trust his quarterback or his kicker here. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he chose the third option: cowardly punt. Tough. Make sure to listen to the video with sound on to appreciate the heavy chorus of boos.
The worst part about this? The Jets only gained five yards on the following drive. The Jets made it to their own 25-yard line before a five-yard penalty brought them back to the 20, meaning Panthers head coach Matt Rhule will definitely come away thinking that this was a great idea he should try again. He will only be further emboldened by the fact that the Panthers led 16-0 at halftime, and that his quarterback, former Jets would-be golden boy Sam Darnold, carved up his old team for 234 yards and a TD in the first half. Such is the magic of playing the Jets: There are no bad decisions.