HOUSTON — Ryan Mallett will start at quarterback for the Texans on Sunday at Carolina against the Panthers, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Brian Hoyer started the season opener but had two turnovers early and was benched in the fourth quarter. Mallett took over and led the Texans on two scoring drives in the last six minutes of the 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He will start against the Panthers, according to the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team is not expected to disclose its starting quarterback until game day.

Hoyer was signed in the offseason after starting for the Cleveland Browns last year and beat Mallett for the job in training camp.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Monday that he knew who the quarterback would be, but that he wouldn’t share that information before the game. He repeated the sentiment Wednesday.

“Quarterback, you guys will find out on Sunday,” he said. “It’ll be a decision again that’s in the best interest of the team.”

Mallett and Hoyer both spoke Wednesday before news of the decision broke, and neither gave any indication of who would start. Mallett spoke about how he was able to jump into the game late and help the team cut the deficit.

“I felt good,” Mallett said of Sunday’s game. “Like I said after the game, it’s about preparation. I get my confidence from how well I prepare and it’s going to be the same this week — prepare for whichever way we go. You know what I mean? Prepare like a starter regardless.”

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Quarterbacks Ryan Mallett (15) and Brian Hoyer (7) talk during Week 1 game against Kansas City