Houston Texans rebuild rumbled into Jacksonville on Sunday and steamrolled through the Jaguars defense like a TANK over a pile of cars. Rookies C.J. Stroud, Tank Dell and the rest of Houston’s offense dominated against the presumed favorites in the AFC South.
Stroud has hit a record 121 completions without an interception for a QB in their first three starts. Adam Schefter also tweeted out this impressive tidbit of information:
Texans’ rookie QB C.J. Stroud has 906 passing yards in his first three NFL starts and is the third player in NFL history with at least 900 passing yards in his first three games, joining Cam Newton (1,012 passing yards in 2011) and Justin Herbert (931 in 2020).— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 25, 2023
What impressed me the most about Stroud’s performance was the composure with which he led drives. After a bland three-and-out to start the game, Stroud immediately bounced back with an impressive seven-play, 62-yard drive to open up the scoring. When Houston blocked a field goal in the second quarter, Stroud took advantage of the field position and posted another seven-play, 41-yard drive. This one ending in a four-yard touchdown to tight end Brevin Jordan.
Before we jump into Week 3’s jubilant stat line and scoreboard, take a look at last week’s coverage of the Next Gen Stats as a baseline for Stroud’s performance.
- The long ball: Stroud connected on his longest throw to date to Tank Dell in the first quarter on the second drive of the day.
- Different story: compared to weeks one and two (see above) Stroud was less effective in the middle of the field. The Jags took away the deep slant to Nico Collins that was devastatingly effective against Indianapolis last week. In doing so, they opened up the deep ball and shorter passes over the middle
- To the right - again, we see an uneven distribution of passes thrown to the right. Particularly, the zone in between the linebackers and corners.
- Red hot in the red zone: two for four for 11 yards and a touchdown through the air, and also three carries for 14 yards
- 66 percent completion; Stroud’s best yet
- Average Intended Air Yards (IAY): 8.7 Yards (14th)
- Air Yards to The Sticks (AYTS): 0.6 Yards (10th)
Analysis: Goosebumps and giddiness. We haven’t seen a dominant performance like this in quite some time. The defense was able to get the Jaguars off their script of dominating our defense through the run, which allowed Stroud & Co. to freely attack the defense. Stroud, by nature of playing at Ohio State in college, is used to playing with a lead. The more the special teams and defense can do that, the more competence we’ll see out of Stroud. The poise, confidence, and reasonable risk demonstrated this past weekend all are produced from advantageous situations created through complimentary football.
While the two stats we are following closely do not look as adept, you have to consider the nature of the game. Stroud’s positive Air Yards to The Sticks indicates a continued intent to push the ball down the field. While the IAY dropped mainly due to the top four QBs (Justin Fields, Jordan Love, Russell Wilson, and Baker Mayfield) all were playing from behind in their games.