C.J. Stroud, the Texans’ rookie quarterback, had a remarkable performance against the Buccaneers, setting new records and leading his team to a thrilling victory. In just his eighth career start, the No. 2 overall pick tied a rookie record with five touchdown passes and set another with an impressive 470 passing yards. His outstanding performance included a game-winning drive that secured a 39-37 victory over Tampa Bay.
Head coach DeMeco Ryans praised Stroud’s gutsy performance and highlighted his toughness in the pocket, as well as his ability to make big-time throws. The receivers also played a crucial role by making reliable catches and big plays.
Stroud’s heroics were particularly impressive considering the Texans’ struggling running game, which managed just 53 total rushing yards due to an injury to Dameon Pierce. Stroud compensated for this by excelling in the passing game. He made 199 yards and three touchdowns on passes of 20 or more air yards, and he distributed the ball to multiple receivers, with four different wide receivers catching touchdowns. Notably, three players surpassed 100 receiving yards, marking a franchise history milestone.
The climax of the game came during Houston’s 40-second, 75-yard drive to take the lead, responding to a late Buccaneers touchdown. Stroud showcased his composure and skill during this drive, connecting with his receivers and ultimately delivering the game-winning touchdown to Tank Dell.
During this drive, Stroud broke the single-game rookie passing record and also became the only rookie in NFL history to throw for 400-plus yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Stroud’s impressive performance positions him as a strong contender for the 2023 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award and has the Texans in contention in the AFC South. Stroud and his team are looking to build on this momentum and aim for success in the playoffs.