Yesterday’s win by the Houston Texans against the Cincinnati Bengals showed a side of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud we hadn’t seen yet: a turnover machine.
When all was said and done, Stroud lost 2 fumbles and threw 1 interception. Overall, his day was anything but mistake-free, going 23 of 39 for 356 yards. Had he not led the team to a win, many would be blaming Stroud for the loss.
However, the rookie shook off the mistakes and proved this is a new day for the Houston Texans. This is no longer a team that gives up, no longer a team that packs it in when the going gets tough.
C.J. Stroud BALLED OUT— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 12, 2023
Only rookie in the last 40 years to lead consecutive game-winning drives in the final 2 minutes of regulation pic.twitter.com/fSo9VTDLdt
Stroud fumbled twice in scoring range early. Clinging to a 10-point lead late, with a first down needed to ice the contest on a third-and-2, Stroud made a bad throw to Tank Dell that was picked off, leading to a Bengals TD. On the ensuing drive, Stroud undershot Dell again deep on third down. After a Cincinnati field goal tied the game, Stroud answered. The rookie led a quick drive, hitting Dalton Schultz for a 25-yard gain and threading the needle to Noah Brown to set up the game-winning field goal. The drive proved Stroud’s mettle. Seemingly a shoo-in for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Stroud tossed his hat into the MVP discussion as the upstart Texans moved to 5-4.
Stroud finally had help from the run game as well. Newly minted starter Devon Singletary racked up 150 yards on 30 carries for a strong 5.0 yards per carry and an early touchdown. Singeltary certainly seems a better fit for offensive coordinator Bobby Slowick’s wide zone run scheme than incumbent tailback Dameon Pierce.
With Stroud splashing dimes and Singletary gobbling up yards, the Texans dropped 544 total yards on Cincinnati while averaging 7.4 yards per play. Houston outgained Burrow’s Bengals by 164 yards in the big road win.
Third in the mix of great performances was wide receiver Noah Brown, who led the team with an incredible 172 receiving yards on just 7 catches.
Overall, it was yet another “great moment in Texans v Bengals” football.
The @HoustonTexans are the first team with a 350-yard passer, 150-yard rusher and 150-yard receiver in the same game since the Indianapolis Colts on 11/29/98— Ryan Galbierz (@RGalbierz) November 13, 2023
Peyton Manning – 357 passing yards
Marshall Faulk – 192 rushing yards
Torrance Small – 153 receiving yards
In the end, if Stroud’s 2,626 passing yards, 15 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions, 61.6 completion percentage and 101.0 passer rating through 9 games doesn’t plant him firmly in the driver’s seat for Offensive Rookie of the Year, someone needs to diagnose what’s wrong with the selection process for that award.
Next up, the Arizona Cardinals come to H-Town. Will Stroud outplay Kyler Murray, another young player who had a great rookie campaign? We’ll just have to wait and see.