A 15-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 8 did not sit well with DeMeco Ryans team. They've displayed glimpses of greatness this year but struggled against a winless franchise. It was a red flag for fans hoping for an extended season. The Houston Texans needed a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to regain momentum.
Bobby Slowik relied on his rookie quarterback often Sunday afternoon. He was resilient and recaptured the faith of a concerned fanbase.
Houston Texans: C.J Stroud had a career outing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Inconsistencies in Bobby Slowik's scheme hindered Houston's productivity in Week 8. Ejiro Evero and the Panthers were determined to disrupt one of the NFL's upcoming offenses. They limited big plays and forced DeMeco Ryans' squad to settle for field goals (3). C.J. Stroud finished the game with his lowest passing yard total of the season (140). He failed to find the endzone for the first time in his career.
An embarrassing loss to a winless team motivated Ryans' unit. It challenged Houston's X-Factors to rise to the occasion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. C.J. Stroud was one of the leaders that answered the call Sunday afternoon. He picked apart Todd Bowles' secondary and carried his team to victory.
Holes in Tampa Bay's defense helped the first-round pick find success. He connected with his favorite targets early and often. Nico Collins (54) and Tank Dell (114) exposed a midtier secondary (18th). Dalton Schultz (130) and Noah Brown also filled intricate roles in the offense. Assistance from a well-rounded arsenal of weapons helped C.J. Stroud break multiple records. He set the NFL rookie quarterback record for most yards in a game (470). Stroud also tied Daniel Jones and Deshaun Watson for most touchdowns scored by a rookie quarterback in a single game (5).
Houston Texans: C.J Stroud must finish the season strong
A historic outing from the franchises' youngest player excited the fans in NRG Stadium. It was assurance after a disappointing loss in the previous week. Stroud's dominant performance also proved Nick Cesario and his front office made the correct selection during the NFL draft. The Carolina Panthers overlooked Stroud. It fuels the second-overall pick as he works to lead his team to a post-season berth.
There were a handful of noteworthy takeaways from Sunday afternoon's game. Stroud's record-breaking performance was only part of Houston's winning recipe. Matt Burke's defensive unit played outstanding after a questionable display in Week 8. Tavierre Thomas (83.3) and Jalen Pitre (76.3) led the defense in coverage ratings. Thomas (70.0) also assisted Blake Cashman (70.2) in run defense. Their efforts were enough to help Houston win the game.
A last-second touchdown helped the Texans achieve victory in Week 9. DeMeco Ryans' unit played behind their rookie quarterback. His efforts led Houston to their fifth win of the season. We expect C.J. Stroud to use his performance as momentum to finish the season. He's proven his doubters wrong so far, but there's more football left on the schedule.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com.