Rookie QB Watson shines in Texans' 27-17 loss to Panthers

Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman (27) leaps over Carolina Panthers cornerback Cole Luke (32) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)

Deshaun Watson shined in his NFL preseason debut, completing 15 of 25 passes for 179 yards and running for a score and the Houston Texans lost to the Carolina Panthers 27-17

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Deshaun Watson starred in his NFL preseason debut, completing 15 of 25 passes for 179 yards and running for a score, but couldn't prevent his Houston Texans from losing 27-17 to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday.

Watson, who led Clemson to the ACC championship on this field last December en route to the U.S. collegiate national championship, received a rousing ovation from Tigers fans dressed in orange when he entered the game in the second quarter.

It was the opening NFL preseason game and the only one Wednesday.

The cheers were even louder when Watson outran two defenders for a 15-yard touchdown — although Panthers fans tried to cover the celebration with boos.

Houston's first-round draft pick looked comfortable in the pocket, stepping up to avoid pressure and getting rid of the football in a timely manner. He didn't let penalties on his team affect him and didn't turn the ball over in nearly three quarters of play.

Tom Savage went three-and-out on his first two possessions against Carolina's first-team defense. Savage had better luck with Carolina's starters out of the game, completing 8 of 8 passes for 67 yards on his final drive capped by a 16-yard TD run by Alfred Blue.

But it was a strong showing for Carolina's defensive starters.

"We put ourselves in good third down situations and we were able to execute and get off the field," Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. "Overall, the first half, the ones definitely had a good showing."

Panthers veteran backup Derek Anderson looked sharp starting in place of Cam Newton, who's still resting a sore right shoulder.

Anderson completed 4 of 5 passes for 76 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin to finish with a perfect 158.3 QB rating.

Benjamin, who reported to training camp in good shape after being overweight in the spring, made a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone to give Carolina the early 7-0 lead.

WATT, KUECHLY RETURN: Two former NFL Defensive Players of the Year returned to action after missing significant time last season with injuries.

J.J. Watt played one series for the Texans in his return from back surgery, which cost him 13 games last season. Kuechly returned after missing the final six games last season with his second career confirmed concussion. Neither player registered a tackle.

SITTING OUT: Along with Newton, veteran defensive ends Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson, center Ryan Kalil and rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel did not suit up for Carolina.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Related News

Texans look for improvement ahead of rematch with Patriots

Jan 10, 2017

Despite a decisive win over the Raiders in the wild-card round, the Houston Texans know improvement is necessary if they hope to get the first divisional playoff win in franchise history on Saturday against New England

Saints open practice in London with roster additions

Sep 27, 2017

The New Orleans Saints are welcoming back top receiver Willie Snead as they start practice in London for this week's game against Miami in the British capital

NFL owners approve Raiders' move to Las Vegas, so what now?

Mar 28, 2017

The Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas sometime in the not distant future, but Mark Davis' team is likely to belong to Oakland until 2020

You may also like these

Texans look for improvement ahead of rematch with Patriots

Jan 10, 2017

Despite a decisive win over the Raiders in the wild-card round, the Houston Texans know improvement is necessary if they hope to get the first divisional playoff win in franchise history on Saturday against New England

Saints open practice in London with roster additions

Sep 27, 2017

The New Orleans Saints are welcoming back top receiver Willie Snead as they start practice in London for this week's game against Miami in the British capital

NFL owners approve Raiders' move to Las Vegas, so what now?

Mar 28, 2017

The Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas sometime in the not distant future, but Mark Davis' team is likely to belong to Oakland until 2020

Financial Markets

Replay Wall delivers the most accurate sports news to you with experts’ voice. We aim to bring every sports fan together here even if you’ve missed the game.

Contact us: sales@replaywall.com

Football Bowl Championship Series Professional Football Arena Football CFL Football NFL Football Youth Football Press