Loss of Christian McCaffrey, Jaycee Horn overshadows Panthers’ 3-0 start

HOUSTON — The excellent news for the Carolina Panthers on Thursday evening was they improved to 3-0, however the concern is whether or not they can maintain their success after shedding two of their largest stars in working again Christian McCaffrey and cornerback Jaycee Horn.

Or is it?

“We’re a soccer staff,’’ left sort out Cameron Erving stated after the 24-9 victory over Houston. “We’re not the Carolina Christian McCaffreys.’’

McCaffrey suffered a hamstring harm with 12:13 left within the second quarter and didn’t return. Horn, who was the No. 8 choose general on this 12 months’s draft, went down with what coach Matt Rhule referred to as a number of breaks in his proper foot within the third quarter and was carted off.

There was no instant timetable for when both will return.

Quarterback Sam Darnold and the league’s top-ranked protection had been sufficient to carry off the Texans, however will they be sufficient when the competitors picks up in Week 4 with Dallas on Oct. 3.

McCaffrey entered Thursday’s recreation because the NFL chief in yards from scrimmage. Not solely is his productiveness as a runner and receiver worthwhile, however his blocking can be vital.

“Shedding Christian is hard, however I assumed we did a very good job of bouncing again,’’ Darnold stated. “For us, it’s simply executing the performs referred to as. It’s so simple as that for us. Simply because Christian is out doesn’t imply I’m not going to go to the working again.’’

Darnold wasn’t sacked previous to McCaffrey’s happening with out contact on a run to his left. Darnold was sacked thrice the rest of the second quarter after McCaffrey was changed by rookie Chuba Hubbard.

Darnold took the blame for that, saying he held onto the ball too lengthy making an attempt to drive the play down subject.

Requested what the Panthers discovered about Darnold within the second half when the previous Jets quarterback accomplished 14 of 16 go makes an attempt for 146 yards, Erving stated, “We’ve received a very good one.’’

Darnold additionally rushed for 2 touchdowns, one thing he’d by no means achieved in a single recreation since arriving within the NFL in 2018.

As for Horn, his potential to man-up on the opponent’s prime receiver allowed defensive coordinator Phil Snow to assault with extra blitzes. That helped Carolina to a league-best 10 sacks the primary two video games. Whether or not that may proceed towards extra skilled quarterbacks stays to be seen. The Panthers had 4 sacks Thursday.

Houston (1-2) was the second of Carolina’s three opponents to start out a rookie quarterback.

Horn was changed by veteran Rashaan Melvin, who was signed to the follow squad on Sept. 14 after being launched after coaching camp.

Rise of TE Tommy Tremble: The rookie out of Notre Dame did little within the first two video games however emerged as a weapon within the second half of this one with a dashing landing on an finish round and a 30-yard catch. He may be evolving into offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s scheme.

Quarterback breakdown: Darnold struggled some instantly after McCaffrey left, largely as a result of his safety broke down. However he took his recreation to a different degree within the second half in a approach he hadn’t the primary two video games. He beat the Texans together with his arm and legs, nearly keen Carolina to victory — ending 24 of 34 passing for 304 yards.

Silver lining: After subsequent week’s recreation towards Dallas, the Panthers get the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons.

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