Rapid Reactions: Panthers top Texans in preseason opener

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What It Means

With their 27-17 win over the Texans, the Panthers continued a trend that began seven years ago. 

Their preseason opener results, updated: 

2010 - L

2011 - W

2012 - L

2013 - W

2014 - L

2015 - W

2016 - L

2017 - W

Players now get a day off before returning to Wofford for the first of their final three training camp practices on Friday afternoon. They'll then head to Nashville Tuesday before two joint practices with the Titans ahead of preseason game No. 2 on Aug. 19.  

Top Plays

—You can't teach 6-foot-5:

—And you can't teach speed: 

Jared Norris got credit for the forced fumble, but was it David Mayo? 

Health Watch

—Defensive tackle Vernon Butler was eventually carted off after he was helped off with a left knee injury late in the first quarter. The 2016 first-round pick may have had his leg stick in the turf as or after he took a crack-back block from Texans tackle Breno Giacomini. 

—Wide receiver Brenton Bersin suffered a left thigh contusion when he was hit low while trying to make a catch deep down the right sideline in the second quarter.  

—Tight end Scott Simonson also left in the second quarter after he injured his left hamstring.

—Panthers who didn't dress: quarterback Cam Newton; wide receivers Curtis Samuel and Fred Ross; center Ryan Kalil; offensive tackles Blaine Clausell and Tyrus Thompson; defensive ends Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson; defensive tackles Kyle Love, Toby Johnson and Drew Iddings.

Other Notable Nuggets

—We probably already know who will return as team captains in the regular season, so it's nice when head coach Ron Rivera gives some other guys a chance. On Wednesday, right guard Trai Turner and linebackers Shaq Thompson and Ben Jacobs went out for the opening coin toss.

—Offensive coordinator Mike Shula obviously isn't going to show all his cards in the preseason. So it's not a huge surprise running back Christian McCaffrey saw just one target and spent his quarter and a half lined up in the backfield. The first-round looked as advertised as a runner, picking up 33 yards on seven carries.

—It was surprising to see running back Jonathan Stewart on the field. Because he was either dealing with an injury or the Panthers were being cautious with their workhorse, Stewart last played in a preseason opener in 2012. In two series, he gained four yards on two carries.

—After a spring full of recycled jokes aimed his way, it was good to see wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin make two big plays.

—With a hamstring keeping second-round wideout Curtis Samuel out, the Panthers have been wondering who could separate from defenders and stretch the field. So no one took advantage of an opportunity better than third-year receiver Damiere Byrd, who hauled in two touchdowns and could've had a third if Joe Webb hadn't put too much on a second-quarter interception.

—Third-round pick Daeshon Hall had an impressive debut, drawing a penalty flag and almost picking up a sack. Somewhere, former GM Dave Gettleman was smiling.

Photos from the Panthers preseason opener against the Texans.

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