Joe Adams had a running partner on a nice punt return in the third quarter. In his first game of his NFL career, Adams reversed field on a punt and ran down the Panthers sideline as Cam Newton playfully gave chase before Adams was pushed out at the Houston 39.
I dont really let one guy try to tackle me. Its probably going to take five or six guys, Adams said. I saw guys start to crack-back, so I just kind of reversed field.
I just tried to come out and do the best I can and make guys miss. The rest of the guys blocked it up great. I just tried to hold my part down.
STARTING ASSIGNMENTS: Free-agent pickup Haruki Nakamura started at free safety ahead of Sherrod Martin, last years starter. Martin and Nakamura alternated series, and Martin recovered an Arian Foster fumble caused by rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Defensive tackle Ron Edwards, who missed last season following triceps surgery, got the start alongside tackle Andre Neblett.
The fact that Neblett started is an indicator of what the Panthers coaches feel about the rest of the tackles. Neblett faces a four-game suspension at the start of the regular season for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
DID NOT DRESS LIST: As expected, starting linebacker Jon Beason and Thomas Davis were not in uniform as both recover from leg injuries. Rivera hopes to get Beason and Davis, both of whom missed most of last season, back this week.
The rest of the players who sat out were receivers Rico Wallace (hamstring) and David Gettis (knee), cornerback Brandon Hogan (knee) and guard Mike Pollak (shoulder).
Offensive lineman Andre Ramsey, who was signed Friday after tackle Lee Ziemba was waived, also did not dress.
Rookie cornerback Josh Norman, who has been bothered by a hamstring most of training camp, dressed but did not see the field Saturday.
TEXANS TIDBIT: Charlotte native and ex-Panthers linebacker Omar Gaither was not in uniform for Houston. Gaither, the former Myers Park standout, signed with the Texans last week after Keyaron Fox was placed on injured reserve.
RELAXED POLICY: Despite the NFL relaxing its rules on TV blackouts, the Panthers maintain theyre happy with the long-standing policy.
Traditionally, a game must sell out in order for the game to be shown in the local market. But recently, the NFL relaxed those rules and will allow teams to have attendance to be as small as 85 percent without blacking out the games.
Panthers president Danny Morrison said the team is happy with the policy and doesnt anticipate any changes.
When the option was made available, we were comfortable with our present situation. We get great fan support, 93 straight sellouts. So we felt our present policys working well.
REPLACEMENT REFS: With the regular NFL officials still in a lockout, the Panthers and Texans played Saturday with replacement officials like the rest of the league.
Three of the eight officials had experience at the Division-I level, but none higher than that.
No real controversial calls were made, but head referee Gerald Wright did forget to turn off his microphone in the second quarter. His comments were work-related, though.
SMALL PLAYBOOK: Rivera said the Panthers ran a truncated version of their playbook Saturday night, showing only basic sets so as to not show their entire offensive plays in the first game of the preseason.
The first-team offense didnt show much, scoring only three points in the first quarter.