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Panthers beat Texans, marking the first time the Panthers have started a season 3-0 since 2015

Running back Christian McCaffrey was out for the better part of the game after sustaining a hamstring injury in the second quarter.

HOUSTON — Sam Darnold threw for 304 yards and ran for two touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers eased past the Houston Texans 24-9 despite losing Christian McCaffrey to a hamstring injury early in the second quarter. 

The Panthers are 3-0 for the first time since 2015 when they opened the season 14-0 and reached the Super Bowl. 

Carolina’s top-ranked defense put the squeeze on Houston rookie Davis Mills in his first career start, sacking him four times and holding him to 168 yards passing. Mills was pressed into action after Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury last Sunday and was placed on injured reserve. 

McCaffrey missed 13 games last year due to various injuries.

Carolina opened the season with a 19-14 victory over the New York Jets in the debut of Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in this year’s draft.

Through two previous games, the Panthers have racked up an NFL-best 10 sacks, and also lead the league in rushing yards (46.5) and passing yards (143.5) per game allowed. In addition, Carolina had allowed the lowest points (10.5) and third-down conversion rate (25%) per game through the first two weeks.

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