Panthers beat Texans 27-17 in their first preseason game, Kelvin Benjamin got the party started with an early touchdown catch:

Photo credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Carolina Panthers won their first preseason game 27-17 and Kelvin Benjamin had a great night catching a touchdown then relaxing for the rest of the game. Benjamin showed that he is still a playmaker for the Panthers offense and expect a big year from the veteran receiver. DeShaun Watson also saw a significant amount of playing time in this match up and don’t believe what the media tells you, Watson looked rough mechanically. DeShaun Watson struggled from the pocket and the Texans often called bootlegs to take advantage of the rookie’s mobility. Still it was pretty obvious that Tom Savage is the better choice for Houston right now and Watson has to improve in the accuracy department to win the starting job down the road. Watson finished the night with 179 yard and 1 rushing touchdown but it was clear he would struggle against NFL starters. The other big topic of the night was Christian McCaffrey and how he is going to transition to the NFL ranks? To be honest McCaffrey looked explosive rushing for 33 yards on 7 rushing attempts but the rookie running back did seem a little overwhelmed by the contact. At the pro level the hits are so much more massive and it’s tough to make it as an undersized running back. A lot of the 200 pound running backs don’t last in this league and you have to wonder if McCaffrey is going to have the build to endure all the punishment that an NFL running back’s body takes? McCaffrey might be better off as a 10-15 carries a game type of player but it’s hard to envision this guy becoming a work house / every down back. Damiere Bryd probably had the best night overall for either team, the Panthers receiver hauled in 2 touchdown passes and 98 receiving yards. Joe Webb also impressed for Carolina tossing for 2 touchdowns and 128 passing yards. On the opposite sideline the Texans running game did look like it could pack a punch this upcoming season. D’Onta Foreman and Alfred Blue both ran hard setting the tone for the Texans offense. When you add Lamar Miller into that running back group it’s easy to see the Texans could be lethal on the ground. Finally Braxton Miller caught a quick 3 passes before being yanked for the rest of the game. Miller looks like he has progressed and could help alleviate the loss of Will Fulller. In the end though the Panthers were too much for the Texans and Carolina improves to 1-0 for the preseason. It was a good start for Ron Rivera’s football team.

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