Watson shines in Texans' 27-17 loss to Panthers

Ross Houston
August 11, 2017

Never mind that the Panthers won the game, Watson flashed enough promise that Texans fans, long thirsty for a quarterback, were hopeful. Watson, a two-time Heisman finalist, had a solid showing, completing 15-of-25 passes for 179 yards and running three times for 24 yards and a touchdown.

O'Brien is searching for improvement from his offense, which is seen as the missing link for a deep postseason run in the season ahead. Miller managed to get those three yards back on the following drive but a two yard completion to Braxton Miller was the only other positive play, resulting in another punt.

Boulware got some special teams work early in the game but didn't line up on defense until late in the contest. With no safety over the top to help Nelson Jr., the receiver knew he'd have a chance to make a play.

The NFL preseason kicked off last week when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night.

Until Wednesday, there hadn't been as many Clemson players on the field at Bank of America Stadium since the 2015 ACC Championship game.

"It's important. Every time we strap those pads on and go out there it's important", Savage said.

"Hopefully we play pretty well, but it's the first preseason game".

Panthers: Vernon Butler, last year's first-round draft pick, left the game with a left knee injury and did not return.

Indeed, Wednesday was a different scene than usual when it came to Boulware, one of six former Clemson players who suited up for the preseason game, but the only one playing for the Panthers. He's still somehow surviving on the back of his 2013 season with the Bears (13 TD, 1 INT) despite going 2-20 in his past 22 starts. One of the best position battles in camp is at kicker.

In extended action last night against the Panthers, which the National Football League has collected into one continuous stream of highlights, Watson was hit six times, mostly behind the line of scrimmage - and never by starting-caliber defenders. He didn't let penalties on his team affect him and didn't turn the ball over in almost three quarters of play. He felt when the rush was coming and - in most cases - was able to either move away from it, or get rid of the ball. That won't be a problem with the Texans' starting unit out there. Thus both guys could play longer than expected Wednesday because it's a close competition. Deep in the third quarter against the Panthers, Watson showed it off by escaping the pocket and taking off.

In the second half, Watson returned with a couple of excellent out-route throws, one being dropped along the sideline by McCarron. Houston beat the Raiders in the Wild Card game, but lost in the Divisional Round to the eventual champion Patriots.

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