Brandon Weeden came in for Watson with just over five minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Told he would not start but would be playing in some capacity behind incumbent Tom Savage, Watson trotted out to anchor the Texans' offense for the entirety of the second and third quarters. Getting in and out of the huddle quickly. Watson completed 15-of-29 for 179 yards and rushed for 24 yards and a score. Whereas Savage is a slow-motion mover in the pocket, Watson's athleticism enables him to create passing opportunities through improvisation. He went 4-9 for 38 yards on the night. Houston's starting QB was Ryan Mallett, who is now in Baltimore. He shook off Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson on a 17-yard gain on Carolina's first play from scrimmage. The offense took a step forward on the next drive, putting together a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 16-yard run by Alfred Blue.
Benjamin caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie from Florida State. This is going to be the first chance for the teams to do just that.More news: BHP Billiton plc's (LON:BLT) "Buy" Rating Reaffirmed at Deutsche Bank AG
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The Texans made the playoffs last season despite an inept offense that accounted for fewer points than their defense and special teams combined. That leaves the No. 2 receiver wide open between Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong. He did return to the game.
Savage was 2-of-3 for 14 yards and he was sacked twice. A live stream is available at Watch NFL Network.
Savage, in his fourth season with the Texans, has played in just five National Football League games, including two starts last season when the now-departed Brock Osweiler was benched. Watt has said he has trusted the coaching staff to manage his reps during training camp, and the Texans have been cautious with their star defensive end.
"I think this is probably all scheduled because coaches always have this problem when guys get hurt", said Panthers analyst Eugene Robinson. "Then I had my little son, Joe Webb IV, so I felt it was a good time to put it back there".
While most of the starters won't see much, if any, action during Wednesday's game, Robinson believes it's important the Panthers show they've improved, particularly on the offensive line.