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Cam Newton, Matt Schaub have up-and-down opener

In the first game of Saturday's preseason doubleheader on NFL Network, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub produced mixed results on a dozen or so plays over three possessions each before giving way to their backups.

The Texans topped the Panthers, 26-13.

Newton, the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, played 13 snaps, with his last series resulting in a 33-yard field goal by Olindo Mare. Newton completed just 2 of 6 passes for 17 yards and was sacked once by Brooks Reed. He did show off his athleticism with a 15-yard scramble on third-and-7 to keep alive a scoring drive. That run was punctuated by a smart but awkward two-feet-forward slide.

Schaub got off to a hot start, completing 3 of 5 passes for 52 yards as the Texans drove down to the Panthers' 2-yard line before Shayne Graham kicked a 20-yard field goal. Both incompletions were the result of excellent coverage by the Panthers' secondary, which forced Schaub to throw the ball away.

Turnovers was part of the story for the Texans' first-team offense.

Running back Arian Foster was stripped of the ball by Panthers rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly on the first play of the Texans' second possession. On the Texans' third series, Schaub's sixth pass attempt was intercepted by Panthers backup middle linebacker Jason Phillips. Schaub was hit by defensive back Captain Munnerlyn during his throwing motion, affecting his throw and ending his night after 11 plays.

The best news of the night is that both quarterbacks came out of the night healthy. Only three more games until the fun starts for real on Sept. 9.

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