As the Houston Texans faced the Tennessee Titans in a pivotal Week 17 matchup, the presence of C.J. Stroud proved instrumental in securing a significant victory for the Texans. Stroud showcased his talents and demonstrated why his role is crucial in establishing a new culture while keeping playoff hopes alive in the process.
Houston Texans needed a win in Week 17 to restablish momentum
Defeating a divisional opponent is fresh air for DeMeco Ryans’ squad. They’ve worked hard throughout the regular season but have experienced hardships along the way. Injuries forced the Texans to rely on backup quarterbacks in the midst of an important stretch of games. The Texans persevered but almost missed a chance to compete for playoff seeding.
Case Keenum and Davis Mills did their best to keep the team above water. They finished with a 1-1 record in the starter's absence. The NFL’s concussion protocol sidelined Houston’s best player for two weeks. Fans were anxious for Stroud's return until news of his availability for Week 17 was released Friday morning. He made an impact against the Titans and led his team to a 26-3 victory.
The return of the offense's leader was a catalyst for Bobby Slowik’s group. His players looked energized and performed well after several weeks of mediocrity. The Texans receiving core received a huge boost of confidence. Nico Collins (80) and Robert Woods (58) led Houston in receiving yards. Devin Singletary also contributed 80 yards on the ground - averaging 5.0 yards per carry (16). It was an impressive performance for the struggling offense.
C.J Stroud's presence was a catayst for the Houston Texans
A well-balanced offense helped Matt Burke’s defense control the game. They held the Titans to three points by limiting the production of their X-Factors. Derrick Henry finished the after with 42 rushing yards on 12 carries. The All-Pro rusher earned his lowest offensive grade of the season (50.9). It forced the Titans to find other ways to score in a short amount of time.
Clinching a post-season is a priority for Texans. They’ve persevered through a rough patch and are prepared to control their own destiny heading into the final week of the NFL regular season. A win against the Colts is the first step towards earning a spot in the AFC Playoff Bracket. C.J. Stroud’s presence will comfort fans as they hope for Houston’s success. He makes a difference on the field and is essential for winning. DeMeco Ryans and his group will need help from other teams, but they are still alive in the hunt.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com