Carolina Panthers 24 vs 9 Houston Texans summary: score, stats, highlights | NFL Week 3

The good news for the Carolina Panthers is that their perfect record remains intact, the bad news is that they lost Christian McCaffrey to a hamstring injury in the second quarter. The defense and Sam Darnold led the Panthers to a 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans.

Mills makes his first start against NFL’s top D

Texans rookie Davis Mills made his first start of his young NFL career, unfortunately for him and Houston he did against best defense in the league heading into week 3. The Panthers entered Thursday’s game allowing just 190 yards per game and 10.5 points.

Houston struggled to move the ball against the Panthers’ stingy defense, especially in the first half. The Carolina defense allowed just 44 yards until final practice for the Texans in the second quarter.

Darnold led the Panthers on 3 TD long drives

After a three on their first possession, the The Panthers had an impressive 10.88-yard game that ended with Darnold’s 5-yard touchdown run.. It would be the first of two rushed touchdowns for Darnold on the night.

The blow for Carolina came in the second quarter when Christian McCaffrey limped off the pitch with a hamstring injury. He wouldn’t be coming back in the game and it took a while for the Panthers offense to recover.

Hurry up helped Houston find a rhythm

Houston responded just before half-time when they got into the quick attack with just 1:37 left in the second quarter. The 7 play, 64 yard drive was the best the rookie quarterback had watched all night, completing six straight passes, including a 30 to Brandin Cooks and a one-yard touchdown to Anthony Miller.

That was about the only bright spot for the Texans’ offense all night. Out of the half-time break, Darnold and the Panthers roamed the pitch for 10 games, 91 yards drive topped by a seven yard touchdown from Tommy Tremble to go up 14-7.

A Texans three and out, and drove another long, long drive through the Darnold which ended in a Zane Gonzalez’s 53-yard field goal to stretch the score to 17-6.

Darnold’s rushed second TD closes the game

The Texans would score their own basket to make it a one-possession game, but Carolina immediately hit back with a 75-yard touchdown as Darnold put the game on ice with a stealthy QB from the one-yard line.

The Panthers must be delighted with the way Sam Darnold started his career with the Panthers. He owns three wins in three games, two straight games from 300 yards and 3 touchdowns with a single interception.

The old Jet also has a new target in Charlotte. DJ Moore was unstoppable in a first half where he was more than 100 meters en route to a night where he caught 8 passes for a total of 126 yards.

Non-existent racing game for Texans

Mills didn’t have the debut he would have hoped for Thursday night. While he threw a touchdown and went 19/28 for 168 yards, the offensive never seemed to find its rhythm. He didn’t get much help from his running backs who added just 26 yards on 13 carries.

Ultimately, the Carolina defense finished at the same level as its average Thursday night. They allowed just 193 yards and just 9 points.

In fairness to the rookie quarterback, he had a short week to prepare for his first start. He will still have a few days to prepare for next week’s game in Buffalo. The Panthers will return to Carolina undefeated, but will eagerly await the return of Christian McCaffrey’s hamstring tests.

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