Sam Darnold completed 23 of 34 passes for 304 yards and rushed for two touchdowns as the Carolina Panthers improved to 3-0 with a 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday night.
The Texans saw rookie Davis Mills make his first start at quarterback on a short week after Tyrod Taylor injured his hamstring last Sunday. While the Panthers saw several players go down with injuries on Thursday night, they were still too much for the Texans to handle in Mills’ first start.
Darnold scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead. He would add a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak to put the game away with four minutes remaining.
Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring strain and first-round cornerback Jaycee Horn suffered a broken foot in the third quarter. Safety Juston Burris also left the game with a groin injury. Horn and Burris were injured on consecutive plays.
Mills completed 17 of 26 passes for 155 yards as Houston’s offense overall was held to just 193 total yards. Mills hit Anthony Miller for a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter that made it a 7-6 game after the extra point missed wide right.
Tight end Tommy Tremble added to the Panthers lead in the third quarter as he scored on a 1-yard touchdown on a jet sweep hand-off made it a 14-6 game. The teams would trade field goals before Darnold’s quarterback dive put the game away.
Darnold had just four 300-yard games during his three years spent with the New York Jets. He now has two 300-yard games in back-to-back weeks for the Panthers.
D.J. Moore caught eight passes for 126 yards for the Panthers.