Final Score: Texans 17, Panthers 24
Ryan Mallett's much anticipated second chance as a starter wasn't what we hoped it would be. Inaccuracy on his part, stone-handed receivers and poor run-blocking weighed down a solid effort by J.J. Watt and the defense.
With less than three minutes left in the 4th, Mallett had the chance to tie the game but an intentional grounding penalty incurred while avoiding a sack doomed the comeback attempt to a 4th and 17 incompletion with just 5 seconds left.
The defense began the game strong and seemed to tire as the game progressed. Cam Newton's offense punted the ball away on four consecutive possessions before scoring a touchdown in the second quarter.
Mallett's numbers (244 yards on 27/58 passing, a touchdown and an interception) could have looked better without several drops on catchable passes, often in critical situations. Even so, Mallett was erratic, with passes often landing in spots with no receiver near to catch it.
Chris Polk, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes were held to a combined 21 attempts and 51 yards behind an offensive line missing Duane Brown and later Jeff Adams. Brown was held out of the lineup with a thumb injury while Adams suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury late in the second quarter.
As often was the case in 2014, the defense buoyed the offense long enough to keep things interesting, but as the game wore on, Newton would find a groove, hitting Ted Ginn and Corey Brown for deep touchdowns. Newton finished the game 195 yards on 18 of 37 passing. He was also the leading rusher with 76 yards on 10 attempts and a score.
With the loss, the Texans are 0-2 and will host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium.
Share your thoughts and frustrations down below, Texans fans. We're neck deep in quarterback hell.
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