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Panthers 1-1 After 34-21 Home Loss to Texans

Steve Smith a bright spot

If there is one thing you can count on about the Carolina Panthers, it’s that they seem to never want to win their home opener. For the 4th straight season, the Panthers dropped their home opener, falling to the Houston Texans 34-21 at home Sunday. The Texans are the surprise of the league going 2-0, as they played their second strong game, this time on the road, as they used a couple big catches from Andre Johnson, and a big special teams play to beat the Panthers. Johnson was the story on offense, catching two TD’s from new QB Matt Schaub, making that three on the young season for Johnson. He pulled in 7 catches for 120 yards, shredding the Panthers secondary which had done a decent job a week ago vs the Rams in St.Louis. Schaub was 20-for-28 for 227 yards and the two scores. The Texans also got some support from their running game, as offseason free agent pickup Ahman Green ran for 71 yards on 15 carries with a TD as well.

The Panthers led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, but their offense went into stall mode in the second quarter, getting outscored 10-0 and they trailed 17-14 at the half. That second quarter the Panthers ran just 8 plays, and gained just19 yards, while the Texans went down the field twice in two long possessions for scores, then took a knee to end the half. Houston put the game away in the 3rd quarter, scoring a touchdown when Green went off right tackle for 13 yards, and then when Nick Goings fumbled the following kickoff, Kevin Walter recovered it in the end zone for a score for Houston to put them up 31-14.

Panthers QB Jake Delhomme threw for 307 yards passing on 27-for-41 with three touchdowns and a pick. The Panthers rushing game was null in this contest, rushing for just 66 yards on 18 carries. For the second week in a row, the Texans front four on defense played a solid game, holding Larry Johnson in check last week, and this week holding two Panthers backs, DeAnglo Williams and Deshaun Foster in check for most of the afternoon. Houston also held the ball for 34:48 of the game clock, holding the Panthers to just 25:12 on the clock. Steve Smith did have a strong game for Carolina, catching 8 balls for 153 yards and three TD’s in the loss. “Offensively, we’re too up and down, too inconsistent,” Smith said. “Reason why? I can’t tell you. I could speculate, but there’s no need to do that. Just too inconsistent.

Carolina goes to play a winless team next week, as they travel to Atlanta to take on the 0-2 Falcons at 1:00PM.

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