Following a touchback on the opening kickoff, the Texans fumbled the ball away to the Panthers on their first possession of the game. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton wasted no time in putting together a short four-play, 26-yard scoring drive for the visitors. After getting stuffed on a few running plays, Newton hooked up with Steve Smith on a 26-yard pass into the end zone. Smith made a nifty grab, getting both feet in bounds. One quick PAT later and the Panthers were on top of the Texans with the first score of the game and a 7-0 lead.