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Schaub Makes Return, Texans Beat Panthers 26-13

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Texans quarterback Matt Schaub signals to the sideline during a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. (credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub signals to the sideline during a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. (credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.  (AP) –   Matt Schaub declared the rust gone after his first action in nine months.

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Schaub led one scoring drive and threw an interception in his first game since breaking his right foot last season, and the Houston Texans beat the Carolina Panthers 26-13 on Saturday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

Schaub completed three passes for 52 yards on Houston’s opening drive, including a 22-yard strike on third down to Owen Daniels to set up a field goal.

Houston’s next two possessions ended in turnovers when Arian Foster fumbled and Schaub’s pass was intercepted by linebacker Jason Phillips on a bad throw over the middle.

“Those first couple of days lining up behind center for the first time since mid-November, going against a defense, there was a little bit of rust,” Schaub said. “That’s worn off now, so we’re just back in a groove.”

Playing without top receiver Andre Johnson, Schaub finished 3 of 6 for 52 yards for Houston (No. 6 in the AP Pro32). Johnson said he could have played, but the coaches decided to hold him out.

Cam Newton‘s night also was short and not all that productive for Carolina.

Carolina’s first-team offense, which finished fifth in the NFL in scoring last year, looked out of sync from the start and struggled with blitz pickups.

The Panthers (No. 20) didn’t pick up a first down until their third possession when Newton showed off his incredible scrambling ability by racing up the middle for a 15-yard gain on third down. Unlike last year when Newton would challenge would-be tacklers, he elected to slide after picking up the first down –  and looked a little awkward doing so.

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