The Texans fell, 15-13, to the Panthers in Carolina on Sunday, as the Week 8 loss dropped Houston to 3-4 on the season.
C.J. Stroud ran for a second-half score, and helped guide the Texans on a second quarter touchdown drive. But Carolina kicked a trio of second half field goals, including a 23-yarder as time expired to pick up its first victory of 2023.
For just the second time this fall, the Texans lost the turnover battle. Carolina registered a first half takeaway, and didn't turn the ball over themselves. On top of that, Houston was flagged 10 times for 70 yards, compared to just three penalties for 20 yards by the Panthers. Head Coach DeMeco Ryans pointed to those miscues as a culprit in the defeat.
"It's hard when you put yourself in a hole," Ryans said. "You have to find a way to mitigate those penalties, those negative plays and help ourselves. When we continue to do that, we'll play good ball and we'll win games."
Houston's defense sacked Bryce Young six times, but the rookie was able to close out the game with a 15-play, 86-yard scoring drive that burned up the final 6:17 of the game clock.
Stroud completed 16-of-24 passes for 140 yards on the day, and was sacked twice. The rookie signal-caller wanted more from himself and his offensive teammates.
"It's not good enough," Stroud said. "I feel like we did some good things here and there. We all just need to be more consistent all the way around, and you got to reward our defense for getting good stops and getting sacks and getting things like that."
Ryans also wanted more from the offense, and had some praise for Stroud, despite the loss.
"It's a team game, right?," Ryans said. "CJ's been doing a great job for us all year. Did a great job for us today, but we had to play together as a team around our quarterback and that's how we win games."
The Texans ran the ball 30 times and picked up 110 yards, with Stroud's scoring sneak and a 1-yard blast by fullback Andrew Beck.
On defense, Houston allowed just 44 yards on 22 Carolina carries, and came up with nine tackles for loss and a goal line stand on 4th down.
Four of Cam Johnston's six punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, including his franchise-longest 74-yarder in the second quarter.
Houston returns home this week and will host Tampa Bay next Sunday at noon inside NRG Stadium.
QB C.J. Stroud shows off his wheels on 13-yard scramble during opening drive against the Carolina Panthers.
WR Nico Collins shows off toe drag swag on 8-yard sideline out in the final seconds of the first quarter.
QB C.J. Stroud threads the needle to WR Noah Brown on 22-yard redzone dart.
WR Tank Dell jukes defenders and created an 11-yard gain.
FB Andrew Beck plows in from 1-yard out to put the Texans on the board first against the Carolina Panthers.
The Houston Texans defense completes a goal-line stand against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter.
DE Will Anderson Jr. takes down former Alabama teammate Panthers QB Bryce Young for a sack in the first half of action.
LB Denzel Perryman shoots gap on third-and-short for a tackle for loss against the Carolina Panthers.
RB Dameon Pierce hits a wicked spin move on 16-yard scamper against Carolina Panthers defenders.
QB C.J. Stroud rushes for a 1-yard touchdown in the second half against the Carolina Panthers.
Watch the Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers highlights, including the top three draft picks from the 2023 Draft.