C.J. Stroud’s historical efficiency moves Texans past Bucs

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A smiling C.J. Stroud pointed to the home crowd after referees verified his consent goal strike with 6 seconds left. Then he bounced around, flexing his tricepsmuscles. And when he got to the sideline, he took off his helmet and let out a celebratory holler. 

For all the efficiencies that haveactually made Stroud the preferred for Offensive Rookie of the Year, what he did Sunday significant his veryfirst signature win for the Texans (4-4). 

“7 (Stroud) is DIFFERENT omg,” Texans defensive lineman Jonathan Greenard tweeted. 

Ohio State fan LeBron James sentout an even more concise Tweet.

Stroud’s initially profession game-winning drive topped his historical efficiency in the Texans’ thrilling 39-37 success over the Buccaneers (3-5), which included 5 lead modifications. He finished 71.4% of his passes for 470 backyards, an NFL single-game death record for a novice, and a career-high 5 goals. 

Stroud endedupbeing the 2nd novice ever with at least 400 passing backyards and 5 goals in a videogame, signingupwith Matthew Stafford. He’s likewise the 6th gamer in NFL history with at least 450 passing lawns, 5 goal passes and no interceptions in a contest. 

“It was a gutsy efficiency from him,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans stated “It wasn’t all tidy, however he gutted it out. He was difficult in the pocket. Made some plays. Made some big-time tosses for us.”

The previous Ohio State star captured fire in the 2nd half, when he finished 80% of his passes for 325 backyards, 4 of his 5 goals and a best 158.3 passer score. The program began on the Texans’ veryfirst play from skirmish in the 3rd quarter, when Stroud hit veteran receiver Noah Brown for a 75-yard catch-and-run goal down the sideline to cut their deficit to 20-16. 

Houston scored a goal on its next drive too, the outcome of a completely positioned 29-yard ball from Stroud to fellow novice Tank Dell in the end zone. 

Early in the 4th quarter, with the videogame connected at 23, the Texans dealtwith a fourth-and-goal from the 9-backyard line understanding they required to go for it. Their location kicker, Ka’imi Fairbairn, hadactually been ruled out for the videogame with a quad injury. 

Stroud increased to the celebration. He hit tight end Dalton Schultz for the goal. Then he transformed on the occurring two-point effort, taking the ball up the middle into the end zone. He busted out into the squabble, the dance he hasactually made popular in the NFL. 

He revealed the verysame composure under pressure on the Texans’ last drive. 

After Baker Mayfield’s goal pass to tight end Cade Otton, the Bucs led 37-33 with simply 46 seconds staying. Houston, with 2 timeouts left, had to go 75 backyards for the goal. Stroud continued to total 5 of 5 passes, consistingof the 15-yard game-winner to Dell, to put his stamp on the videogame. 

“I informed them kids inadvance, ‘If y’all simply provide me a little bit of time, I’m going to make them pay,'” Stroud stated. “And they didn’t simply offer me a little bit of time, they offered me a lot of time. So that assists a lot.

“I think as you can see, I wear’t think we can be stopped when we’re on our A-game,” he included. “It’s a big-time win for us. November and December are when you desire to be playing your finest ball.”

What made Stroud’s efficiency all the more excellent was that he prospered in spite of the Texans’ absence of a run videogame, an Achilles’ heel all season. Houston had 53 hurrying lawns for the videogame, consistingof simply 7 through 2 quarters. 

Stroud, who didn’t reach 200 lawns passing in the Texans’ previous 2 videogames, was on fire with his pass-catchers. The Texans had 3 receivers with more than 100 lawns getting for the veryfirst time in franchise history: Brown (six receptions, 153 backyards, TD), Schultz (10 receptions, 130 lawns, TD) and Dell (six receptions, 114 backyards, TD). 

“If [the run game is not] there, we have a guy who can actually toss it and make some plays,” Ryans stated. “If that’s a strength of ours and we have to play to that, that’s what we’ll do.”

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Stroud stated playcaller Bobby Slowik challenged the offense this past week in practice. The system had a bad taste in its mouth coming out of last week’s loss to the formerly winless Panthers, when it scored simply 13 points, the second-fewest for the group this season. 

Slowik desired more from his young quarterback. 

“He informed me, ‘You have to go make plays. Be unique. You’re a unique gamer. Go be unique,'” Stroud remembered of the discussion. “He put the ball in my hand and I value that.”

He turned it into his franchise quarterback minute.

Ben Arthur is the AFC South pressreporter for FOX Sports. He formerly worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat author for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for 3 seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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