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C.J. Stroud struggles, but Texans beat Patriots in preseason opener

Houston Texans rookie quarterback made his NFL debut, but even though his numbers weren’t strong, the team pulled out a win.

NFL: Preseason-Houston Texans at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans are flying home happy after a 20-9 win against the New England Patriots in Thursday night’s preseason opener at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

The team may be pleased with the result, but rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud probably isn’t too thrilled with his performance.

The No. 2 overall pick drew the start tonight over Davis Mills, but struggled in his two first-quarter drives.

On the opening drive of the game, Stroud threw his first interception to Patriots safety Jalen Mills.

The Patriots took advantage of the short field and tacked on a field goal to take a 3-0 lead, but the Texans were dominant from there.

Mills entered the game late in the first quarter and led five drives. The first four weren’t too pretty, including a fumble from a botched snap, but the fifth one ended in a circus-like touchdown to third-round rookie Tank Dell just before the half.

Mills finished the day going 9 of 12 for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Third-string quarterback Case Keenum took over for the second half and proved why he didn’t belong there, leading two touchdown drives in Houston’s first pair of possessions and sending the game out of reach.

Tonight’s game was your typical preseason tilt. It wasn’t pretty, nor was it perfect, but the Texans now have something tangible to put on tape and learn from, and that in itself should result in a win.

The Texans are set to welcome the Miami Dolphins to town for the NRG Stadium preseason opener on Saturday, August 19 at 3 p.m.