Notes from Texans 26, Panthers 13

Some thoughts after taking in the Texans’ 26-13 preseason win at Carolina:

  • Veteran quarterback Matt Schaub looked comfortable in his first game work since his serious foot injury in November. The numbers were nothing special -- three-for-six for 52 yards and an interception. But the offense moved smoothly early before a night of red-zone stalling commenced. Houston got just one TD in five chances, settling for field goals five times.

  • Schaub got hit by blitzing defensive back Captain Munnerlyn on the interception, with defensive end Charles Johnson also closing. Munnerlyn wasn’t picked up blitzing from Schaub’s left while Johnson beat tackle Derek Newton. Schaub was throwing for Kevin Walter, but might have sensed pressure and thrown shorter in the same direction to an open Arian Foster.

  • The Texans could shuffle receivers through the preseason, but the early leader among the youngsters is Keshawn Martin, who looked comfortable working as a starter on a night when Andre Johnson did not play. DeVier Posey was targeted just once, and not early. Jeff Maehl got work ahead of Posey and Lestar Jean.

  • Outside linebacker Brooks Reed covered a lot of ground, with an early sack and an impressive pursuit of fullback Mike Tolbert, who dropped a sideline pass in part because he heard Reed approaching.

  • Carolina rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly looked quite good and forced a fumble by Foster, who didn’t get a great deal of work.

  • Returner Trindon Holliday took a kickoff 90-yards for an electrifying score. He picked up solid blocks from James Casey, Garrett Graham and Troy Nolan on the way. Panthers receive Kealoha Pilares looked like he had a chance to catch him, but his late dive for Holliday’s ankles came up short.

  • Veteran cornerback Alan Ball didn’t look like he had a good sense of where to be on this night. But he was called for a ridiculous pass interference penalty. He didn’t turn to spot the ball early enough to find it or the receiver, or to interfere with him. He was closer to interfering on the next play when there was no flag.

  • Nice pick/takeaway by safety Nolan on a loose ball that didn’t hit the ground.

  • Not great after-the-catch work by Justin Forsett on the second-quarter play where he ran backwards.

  • The offense had the ball for 37:41. There are likely players on defense the Texans would have liked to have gotten more film on than they were able in a game shaped like that.