C.J. Stroud proved his status as a rising star with how he dominated the Cleveland Browns

C.J. Stroud proved what a difference maker he is in the win over the Cleveland Browns.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns got blown out on Saturday, falling to the Houston Texans 45-14 in a game that was close at halftime but got markedly out of hand as the second half went on. There were a lot of reasons for that. Joe Flacco got swallowed up by a great Houston Texans defense. The offensive line played above their supposed worth and of course, C.J. Stroud went buck wild on the Browns.

Stroud, a rookie who missed the first encounter with the Browns, proved to the entire NFL just how much importance one game-changing player truly makes. With largely the same rosters intact for their first meeting, the Browns walloped the Texans and dominated the first game. It was so bad that the entire NFL world thought that the Browns were just that much better than the Texans.

A lie. A lie of untold proportions. The Texans didn't see many offensive players change from the first to the second game, only really the return of Stroud, and with that one return, Stroud showed off just how good he really was.

The first matchup saw Case Keenum and Davis Mills struggle to find success, going a combined 26-49, with two touchdowns, two interceptions, and 178 total yards. Against nearly the same defense, Stroud went 16-21, with three touchdowns, no interceptions, and 274 passing yards. Not only that, but the Texans gave up three sacks against the Browns in their first meeting, in the rematch, the Texans gave up none.

So not only did Stroud change the tide against the Browns by just playing, he broke some records in doing so. The biggest of which is becoming the youngest NFL quarterback to ever win a playoff game. The Texans are rolling after their win over the Browns and with Stroud under center, the sky seems to be the limit for Houston.

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