Darnold runs in 2 TDs as Panthers improve to 3-0 with win in Houston

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates his touchdown run with Dan Arnold (85) and Cameron Erving (75) during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

HOUSTON (WNCN) – Sam Darnold threw for 304 yards and ran in two touchdowns to help guide the Panthers to their third win to begin the season, 24-9 in Houston.

Carolina scored all three of its touchdowns on the ground, even though Christian McCaffrey exited the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Darnold’s two short runs into the end zone bookended the game with him scoring from 5 yards out less than 10 minutes in, then punching one in from a yard out with 4:07 to go.

Tommy Tremble scored on his lone carry of the game to give the Panthers a 14-6 lead with 6:24 left in the third quarter.

A 53-yard field goal by Joey Slye cut Carolina’s lead to one possession, 17-9, in the fourth quarter, but Darnold gave the visitors a bit of insurance about 5 minutes later.

Defensively, Carolina held the Texans to just 42 rushing yards. Brandon Cooks did finish with 112 receiving yards, but the Panthers conceded just the one touchdown.

The Panthers will visit Dallas on Oct. 3.

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