Texans done in by inability to run ball in loss to Panthers

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans got a solid performance from rookie quarterback Davis Mills in his first career start Thursday night.

But they were doomed by their inability to run the ball or prevent big plays in a 24-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

“We just weren’t very good on offense tonight ... because we weren’t able to run the ball,” Texans coach David Culley said.

Carolina’s top-ranked defense sacked Mills four times and held 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.

Mills threw for a touchdown and avoided big mistakes after he threw an interception in the second half of Sunday’s loss at Cleveland. But the Texans (1-2) finished with just 42 yards on the ground, and that forced Mills into tough down-and-distance situations as Houston punted six times.

Mark Ingram ran six times for 21 yards and David Johnson had two carries for 11 yards.<