Panthers 10

(6-2, 3-1 away)

Texans 14

(3-5, 2-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 2, 2003


1 2 3 4 T
CAR 7 0 3 010
HOU 0 0 7 714

Miller's TD catch the difference

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Texans told Tony Banks to avoid mistakes. He did, and they won.

Banks played an error-free game and hit tight end Billy Miller for a 20-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, helping Houston shut down the Carolina Panthers 14-10 Sunday.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Panthers: What happened to the Panthers today?
This was a bizarre game for the Panthers. They didn't look good at all offensively with the exception of a few Stephen Davis runs. Questions are going to have to be answered concerning QB Jake Delhomme's effectiveness, because the Panthers need him to play much better football. Right now, the Panthers aren't looking like the same team that beat the Saints and the Bucs in overtime.

Question on the Texans: Were you surprised with today's performance despite the absence of Carr?
Yes and no. The Texans were surprisingly able to get a running game going against a strong rush defense that features one of the best front fours in the NFL. But sometimes when a big name player like a David Carr goes down, it provides an opportunity for the team to rally and fight harder for a victory.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Banks is the first quarterback other than David Carr to start for the second-year Texans (3-5). Carr was out with a sprained right ankle.

"I'll feel better about picking my check up this week," said Banks, who didn't take a single snap last season.

Entering Sunday, his NFL career had been marked mostly by miscues: 100 turnovers in 85 games, mostly with the Ravens and Rams. But against Carolina's vaunted defense, he was 13-of-19 for 154 yards with the one touchdown and -- importantly -- zero interceptions and zero fumbles.

"I've seen Tony Banks play before, and we did not take Tony Banks lightly," Panthers coach John Fox said. "I thought he had a terrific second half."

Carolina, which has lost two of three games after a 5-0 start, took a 10-7 lead on John Kasay's 23-yard field goal at the end of a third quarter in which each team had one possession.

But Banks connected with Miller for the winning points on a second-down play from the Panthers 20 with 9{ minutes left. Banks' precision pass traveled between Carolina's Ricky Manning and Greg Favors, and Miller made a one-handed catch and cradled the ball as he strode 4 yards into the end zone.

Banks "had a little bit of pressure on him, and I looked late," Miller said. "It kind of stuck in my hand."

Already without its starting QB, Houston lost rookie tailback Domanick Davis to a strained chest in the second half after a 74-yard day. Davis was trying to become the first player to run for 100 yards in each of his first three NFL starts.

Stacey Mack replaced him in the Texans' backfield and tied the game at 7 halfway through the third quarter with a 1-yard scoring lunge in his regular role as goal-line specialist.

After Miller's TD in the final period, Carolina moved to Houston's 31 on its next possession.

But the drive stalled when receiver Steve Smith, who earlier scored the Panthers' touchdown, kicked defensive tackle Jerry Deloach after a catch and was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul. Carolina punted and never threatened again.

"Just after the catch I started to feel pressure on my leg," Smith said. "It was getting harder and harder and I was trying to get loose, so I kicked him."

Said Fox: "Steve didn't use good judgment and hurt our football team."

The Panthers fed the Texans a steady diet of Stephen Davis on the game's opening drive, rushing him eight times for 20 yards to set up the occasional throw by Jake Delhomme. One of those passes, a 24-yarder to Smith over the middle, put Carolina up 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Carolina's Davis, the NFC's leading rusher, finished with 153 yards on 30 carries.

"I would rather have 11 yards and a win," he said.

The rest of the opening half was marked by a Carolina offense that gained plenty of yards but couldn't score again, and an officiating crew that had two gaffes reversed by replay in four minutes.

In the second quarter, Chad Stanley punted from near midfield to Smith, who waved for a fair catch. But Smith was knocked off the play by Houston's Derrick Vaughn, who was blocked into the returner. Officials initially ruled the ball touched Smith, giving the Texans possession at Carolina's 4. But replays showed the ball did not hit Smith and belonged to Carolina.

Moments later, Stephen Davis lost the ball after being tackled by Jay Foreman, and cornerback Aaron Glenn picked it up and dashed 48 yards for an apparent score. Fox threw his red flag a second time, and again referee Ron Blum reversed the call after seeing the ground caused the fumble.

Game notes

Stephen Davis set a Panthers season record with his sixth 100-yard rushing game. ... The Texans improved to 3-0 at home against NFC teams. ... Mack's TD capped an eight-minute, 17-second scoring drive, the longest in the team's 24-game history. ... Kasay has made all 18 field-goal attempts this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 12 plays, 83 yds, 7:12
Drive info: 12 plays, 83 yds, 7:12
carFG0:10John Kasay 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 68 yds, 7:08
houTD6:54Stacey Mack, 1 yd run
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yds, 8:40
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yds, 8:40