Carolina Panthers are 3-0 following Thursday Night Football win over the Houston Texans, 24-9.
Though this victory comes at a high cost for the Panthers as their best player, running back, Christian McCaffrey picked up a hamstring injury. CMC left the game in the second period and didn’t return. So far, there hasn’t been any prognosis about his absence, but he could easily sit out for the next one or two matches.
Carolina also lost CB Jaycee Horn, the No.8 overall pick from this draft, due to a broken foot. His injury came without any contact. The intensity of this injury is a bit more severe than McCaffrey’s, and it appears that the youngster could be sidelined for a while. He made an immediate impact on the Panthers’ defense which is one of the best in the league.
As for the game, QB Sam Darnold was in the middle of attention. The former Jets player threw 304 yards and ran for two TDs for the first time in his career. He was creating havoc on the field, constantly creating problems for the Texans’ defense.
Darnold stated he believes that despite CMC’s injury, the Panthers can continue to play at a high level and that he wants his teammate to fully recover before coming back on the field.
“We’ll be all right without him. We want him back. But I want him to take his time and make sure he’s good for the end of the season.”
CMC had seven rushes for 31 yards and two catches for nine. He was replaced with Chuba Hubbard, this year’s fourth-round pick, who did his part of the job correctly, having 52 yards on 11 snaps, and three more catches for 27 yards.
The remaining TD for the Panthers was delivered by Tommy Tremble.
On the other side, rookie QB David Mills replaced injured Tyrod Taylor and had 168 passing yards with one TD and without picks. And may we say that he did an excellent job, but that the Texans’ rushing game turned out to be awful. Only 42 yards in 17 rushes were devastating for any better result and were also limiting Mills.
“We have to be able to (run the ball),” Texans head coach Culley said. “That’s who we are, and I think offensively, our biggest ill of the night was the fact that we could not establish any consistency in our run game.”
Mark Ingram II ran for 21 yards on 6 carries, David Johnson had 11 on 2 rushes.
Mills and Brandin Cooks established a solid connection, with the veteran receiver catching the football nine times for 11 yards. WR Anthony Miller was the only one with a TD for the hosts.
Houston is now 1-2 and visits the Bills Next week in Buffalo. After that, they head home to play with the New England Patriots and later face the Colts and the Cardinals on the road.
As for the 3-0 Panthers, they are ahead of a challenging period. They move to Dallas for a meeting with the Cowboys before returning to Charlotte for a two-game stint. The first event is against the Philadelphia Eagles and the second against the Minnesota Vikings. This will be a true test for them, and Darnold especially. Matt Rhule now needs to figure out how to adjust the game without two of the biggest contributors on both the offense and defense.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.