The Texans’ preseason opener suffered at the hands of some careless mistakes and poor play as Carolina took advantage to beat the Texans 27-17.
Houston’s defense suffered two blows in their pass defense with the Panthers utilizing the deep ball to great effect, first with Kelvin Benjamin on a 23 yard strike from Derek Anderson over Johnathan Joseph to score the game’s opening points. A short while later, Carolina struck again when Damiere Byrd burned Robert Nelson deep for a 50 yard touchdown from Panthers backup QB Joe Webb.
On offense, the Texans managed two scoring drives during the first half. After his first two drives went nowhere, incumbent starter Tom Savage led a twelve play, 75 yard drive down the field that Alfred Blue capped by weaving through the Panthers’ defense for a 16 yard TD. This capped Savage’s involvement in the game; he ended with nine completions on eleven attempts for 69 yards. Rookie Deshaun Watson had his own scoring drive in the first half, driving the Texans down the field on a ten play, 65 yard drive that ended in a field goal for the Texans.
The second half saw the defense’s woes continue, with Byrd once more getting the best of the secondary to cap off an eleven play, 78 yard touchdown drive. On offense, Deshaun Watson began the second half strong, relying on a quick passing offense to march the Texans down the field on a drive that concluded with this:
Watson continued to helm the Texans offense into the fourth quarter but struggled to maintain the same level of success that he enjoyed during those first few drives.
As is all too usual, Houston’s special teams struggled mightily, drawing multiple flags en route to helping the Texans post over 91 yards in penalties. It may have been the opening game of the exhibition season, but there will surely be a emphasis put on these mistakes in the coming days. The Texans now have eleven days in before their next preseason clash, when the New England Patriots visit NRG Stadium, and will be looking to improve on this performance.
What did you make of the Texans’ opening preseason game? Were you encouraged by the performances of Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson? What did you think of the offensive line and secondary struggles?