When all was said and done and the smoke cleared, earned a win.
Houston won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half to begin the game. Joey Slye’s kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback to the 20.
Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold brought his team out for their initial possession and thanks to a stingy Houston defense it was a three-and-out affair. Following a Joseph Charleton punt the Texans set out on their first offensive possession under rookie quarterback Davis Mills at their 36.
Houston fared no better than Carolina, as they had a three-and-out also.
On the Panthers second drive they got into the end zone for with 6:36 left in the first quarter when Darnold ran into the end zone from 5 yards out. The drive was 10 plays, 88yards and took 6:00 off the clock. Zane Gonzalez nailed the PAT and Carolina led 7-0.
Carolina looked to add to their lead with 10:47 left in the first half but the Texans defense stopped Chuba Hubbard for no gain on a 4th and 1 at the Houston 5 and the home team dodged a bullet and got the ball back with a turnover on downs.
Houston got on the board with 25 seconds left in the half when Mills hit Anthony Miller on a 1-yard TD pass. The PAT by Slye was no good, leaving Carolina in front 7-6. The scoring drive was 7 plays, 64 yards and took 1:12.
Carolina ran 3 plays and the half ended with the visitors holding a narrow 7-6 lead.
Houston received the second half kickoff and began at their 25 after a touchback. Davis led his unit on a drive but the Carolina defense rose to occasion and forced a punt.
The visitors got on the board for the second time with 6:20 left in the third quarter when Tommy scored from 7 yards out. Gonzalez was true on the extra point and the Panthers increased their lead to 14-6. The drive was 91 yards and took 4:17.
The Panthers padded their lead withle12:44 left in the game when Gonzalez hit a 21-yard field goal, bringing the score to 17-6. The drive was a 10-play, 56-yard affair that took 6:28 off the clock.
Houston got on the board at the end of their ensuing possession when Slye connected on a 53-yard field goal with 9:09 left in the game. The drive was 8 plays, 40 yards and took 3:35 off the fourth quarter clock and cut the Carolina lead to 17-9.
The Panthers put the final nail in the coffin with 4:07 left in the game when they scored on a 1-yard run by Darnold. Gonzalez added the point after touchdown and the score advanced to 24-9. The drive was 12 plays, 75 yards and took 5:02.
Houston got the ball one more time but turned the ball over on the Carolina 42 on 4th down. The Panthers ran out the clock on the ground and the game ended with a Carolina 24-9 victory. The win pushes them to 3-0 on the season while the loss drops the Texans to 1-2.
In his post-game press conference Coach David Culley gave his thoughts on his team’s rough night.
“Well, obviously, we didn’t run the ball very well. We have to be able to do that. I think the team we played had a little bit to do with that also. That’s a very good defensive football team. They kind of knew with a new quarterback in that things were going to be a little different from what they had seen previously in the first two games; a game and a half anyway. I’ve just got to look at the video to see exactly what happened but that’s a pretty good defensive football team.”
Culley was asked his thoughts on how rookie quarterback Davis Mills played in the game, and he responded, “He did a good job which was a really big thing going into the game. I thought he threw the ball very well. I thought in that two minute offense he did an excellent job of taking us down the field and making some nice throws and nice plays. I thought he did a nice job for us.”
Houston travels to Buffalo on October 3rd to take on the Bills.