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Breaking down C.J. Stroud’s unbelievable Week 9 performance

It was one for the record books and it goes under the microscope in today’s article

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

There have been only a few moments that I can point to where the large swath of football fans that I can my friends decide to individually, but in unison text me about the Houston Texans.

The few that do come to mind:

Matt Schaub’s fourth pick-six in a row (NFL record)

Texans’ 0-30 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2015 Wild Card Round

Texans trading up for Deshaun Watson

Texans taking a 24-0 lead against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 Divisional Round....

Then the Texans falling behind 24-28 in the exact same quarter

DeAndre Hopkins being traded to the Arizona Cardinals

There’s some honorable mentions here and there, but C.J. Stroud’s performance on Sunday can be added to this bitter-sweet list.

Compared to previous weeks’ chart by Next Gen Stats, this is a spider wed

  • Wide left: Stroud’s only weak spot was throwing deep left. He was 1/6 beyond 10 yards to the left side
  • Home run hitter: four of the five TDs were beyond and three were beyond 20 yards. Only three of his previous TDs were from this distance
  • Green from the greens: Stroud was perfect from inside five yards and back. He threw 11 competed passes from five yards and in
  • Lucky number 7: seven Texans caught passes from Stroud last week. More impressive, four different players caught touchdowns
  • Complete control: Stroud’s 71.4% completion percentage is a career best so far. The next closest being 66.7% (twice)
  • Seeing the screen: compared to last week’s game plan, the short screen was heavily incorporated. The right side is clearly Stroud’s preferred side
  • Zero: Stroud ran the ball zero times last week. He let the arms do the talking
  • Average Intended Air Yards (IAY): 11.3 Yards (1st)
  • Air Yards to The Sticks (AYTS): 1.8 (1st)
  • Time to Throw (TT): 3.35 seconds (1st)

Analysis: my father put it best: Houston, we have a quarterback. Stroud’s ability to bounce back after his worst performance of the season is remarkable to say the least. The ceiling has yet to be reached with Stroud. NASA should be calling soon to come find their local QB as he’s somewhere in orbit.

What Stroud did best was attack Tampa Bay both down the field and with quick screens. Stroud forced the Bucs’ to cover the entire field. Their safeties were helpless. Tampa plays a pressure oriented defense, which means their corners will either be pressing to buy time for the pass rush or dropping extremely deep to cover against long down and distances. Houston took advantage of this by feeding Dalton Schultz the rock 11 times. His ability to help block and then catch the ball bailed out the offense on several occasions.

I’ve added a new stat to the list; Time To Throw, to emphasize and give credit to the performance by the offensive line. Stroud would not have had quite the day he did unless he had statistically significant time in the pocket. Kudos to third string center Michael Dieter for stepping in and locking down the middle.

Houston is a 4-4 ball club at the halfway mark in the season. Based on the way Texans fans feel, the team could be undefeated. This is one of those seasons where wins and losses don’t matter, it’s all about the eye test.