HOUSTON – It was an overall disappointing day across the board for the Texans as they fell 16-10 to the Carolina Panthers at NRG Stadium.
The lost puts Houston at 2-2 on the season and denies a 3-1 start, which would have been their first time at that mark since 2016.
5 keys to the Texans loss to Carolina:
No Protection for Deshaun Watson
The offensive line had been improving in pass protection but Sunday, Carolina’s front brought the heat all afternoon. The Panthers sacked Watson six times and have 12 in their last two games. Watson did hold the ball too long on too many occasions, so some of the protection/sack issues fall on him, as well.
In the game, Watson took 12 hits and was hurried 18 times by the Panthers.
This kind of day will drive Watson nuts and even more so after he watches the film.
O’Brien/Kelly bad play call late first half
This was a headscratcher late in the first half, with the Texans threatening to score. The play called for Deandre Hopkins to throw a pass.
The play wasn’t there. It was underthrown and intercepted. The Panthers then marched it downfield and scored on a Christian McCaffrey three-yard touchdown.
Kyle Allen's production
The 2nd year QB came in and despite three fumbles of his own, he managed things well and finished 24/34 for 232 yards. Allen had the huge third and six conversions, as well, on their final drive that led to another FG that made it 16-10.
No answer for Christian McCaffrey
As advertised, Christian McCaffrey is a beast. He put on weight in the offseason and now is a legit three-down back who can do it all. Sunday, he rushed it 27 times for 93 yards, then caught another 10 passes from Allen for an additional 86 yards.
The guy can flat out play and few teams can contain him. Sunday, the Texans contained him about as good as most teams have but McCaffrey wound up getting his touches and was a factor, as he always is with this Carolina offense.
Texans receivers struggles
The big three of Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills combined for 10 catches and 88 yards.
Hopkins was targeted only eight times. Much of this issue also had to do with the lack of time for Watson to throw the ball against the Panthers, who registered six sacks.