C.J. Stroud on Sunday led the Houston Texans to a victory in Jacksonville over the divisional rival Jaguars in a momentous afternoon for the rookie quarterback.
Stroud tossed two touchdowns — including a 68-yard bomb to rookie wideout Tank Dell — as the Texans‘ defense forced two turnovers and held Trevor Lawrence‘s Jaguars to five conversions on 13 third-downs.
Stroud shines against Lawrence
In the first installment of a matchup poised to define the AFC South for years to come, Stroud outdueled Lawrence at TIAA Bank Field to secure Houston‘s first win of 2023.
“He’s dialed in to improve every week,” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said postgame. “He’s not satisfied, he’s been a leader for the offensive unit.”
Houston needed to finish strong on Sunday afternoon, as Lawrence (279 passing yards, one touchdown) had Jacksonville within two scores entering ther fourth quarter. But Stroud’s long touchdown pass to fellow rookie Dell dashed the Jags‘ hope of a comeback.
Texans strong on their travels
These have been lean years in Houston, but the Texans have now beaten Jacksonville on the road for a fourth consecutive season — and continued to show they’re a tough out in another team’s building.
The Texans’ three wins in 2022 all came away from NRG Stadium, while two of their four wins in 2021 took place on the road as well. The ability to play spoiler will come in handy for a young team hungry to succeed long-term — and with fortunate bounces here and there, perhaps Stroud can guide the Texans to a better finish in the standings than anyone predicted.