Rookie quarterback Bryce Young led the Panthers on a 15-play, 86-yard drive to put Carolina in position to run down the clock and kick the game-winner that delivered the Panthers their first victory of the season.
Young was statistically better in the battle of No. 1 versus No. 2 overall quarterbacks. The former Alabama product went 22-of-31 with 235 yards and a touchdown with a 103.6 passer rating while the Texans’ C.J. Stroud completed 16 passes on 24 attempts for 140 yards with an 81.9 rating.
The defense did its part with six sacks and even keeping the Panthers limited to 1.8 yards per carry. The Texans didn’t win the turnover battle 0-1 and barely lost the time of possession by 29 seconds.
On the Panthers’ final drive, Houston had two penalties inside the Panthers’ 30-yard line that provided momentum. With 5:44 to go and a first-and-10 from the Carolina 21, defensive end Will Anderson committed offside and turned a first-and-10 into a first-and-5. On that very play, cornerback Shaquill Griffin committed pass interference, and the ball was moved up to the Carolina 34.
After an 11-yard catch from receiver Jonathan Mingo, Carolina had a first-and-10 from their own 45-yard line. Houston was able to sack Young, but the Panthers kept responding. Second down: Young rushes for seven; third down: Young to Adam Thielen for 10; fourth-and-2: Young to Thielen for three.
When the Panthers were able to get into Houston territory and after the two-minute warning, Frank Reich made DeMeco Ryans burn his timeouts. Then, the Panthers had their way when it came to setting up Pineiro as the hero.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman walked off under his own power. No update was provided.
Tight end Teagan Quitoriano was questionable to return with a groin injury.
Rookie center Jarrett Patterson left the game with an ankle injury. The cart came out for him, but his return was listed as questionable.
Houston’s leading ball-carrier was Dameon Pierce with 12 for 46 yards. Stroud couldn’t go over 140 passing. Receiver Noah Brown led with three catches for 57 yards. Tank Dell had 31 scrimmage yards. The Texans’ offense generated 229 yards and 16 first downs. The explosive unit did not show up after the bye week.
The Texans (3-4) go home to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9.
The Panthers (1-6) stay in Charlotte to host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9.