April 23, 2024

Unexpected Texans gear up for the divisional round while C.J. Stroud’s incredible rookie campaign continues.

HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston Texans were almost completely unexpected to qualify for the playoffs this season, let alone win once they were there.

The Texans, who are participating in the postseason for the first time in four years, defeated the Cleveland Browns 45-14 to advance to the divisional round.

Houston finished with just three wins in the previous season, but it helped them secure the second overall pick in the NFL draft, which they used to choose Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Despite Stroud’s abundance of talent, it was not expected of him to instantly turn the franchise around.

“Everybody counted us out. … Houston versus the world,” Stroud stated. “Just being able to play at such a high level at this moment is fantastic. It doesn’t matter what others think.”

The 22-year-old Stroud is currently the talk of the NFL after becoming the youngest quarterback to win a postseason game with three touchdown passes in his playoff debut.

On Saturday, Stroud exploited Cleveland’s top-ranked defense, amassing 236 yards through passing and tossing touchdown passes of 15, 76, and 37 yards prior to halftime, enabling Houston to take a 24–14 lead.

According to coach DeMeco Ryans, Stroud has gotten better every week and has proven that no situation is too difficult for him.

“When you have a young player who can shoulder the load of your team and the way the team is behind him, the confidence that he gives our entire team, it´s so cool to watch because he´s such a special player,” Ryans stated. “I know he´s had a special season, and we´re looking forward to keep moving on.”

After halftime, Houston’s defense sealed the victory for the Texans, who had been led by star player Tyler Stroud. In the third quarter, Christian Harris and Steven Nelson both returned interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back possessions.

Ryans declared, “Those are big-time plays.” “Attacking the football was one of our main goals going into the match. However, attacking it and scoring changes the game for us.”

The Texans are the first team since Seattle on January 5, 2008, to have multiple pick-6s in a playoff game. They are also the eighth team in NFL history to do so.

What’s effective

Stroud was 16 of 21 for 274 yards Saturday. With about nine minutes remaining, he finally sat down because the Texans were so dominant. His 157.2 passer rating was the best by a rookie with at least 20 passing attempts in a game in NFL history.

An offensive line that prevented Cleveland’s defense and standout pass rusher Myles Garrett from getting to Stroud helped. The Texans didn’t surrender a point, and Stroud only took one hit.

“We´re playing our best ball as of right now these last two weeks, last three weeks really, and that´s really what you want,” Stroud stated.

WHAT REQUIRES ASSISTANCE

After a game like the one the Texans played on Saturday, it’s hard to find many problems. However, Houston’s pass defense stiffened up after giving up receptions of 45 and 47 yards in the first quarter of the game against the Browns.

If the Texans want to win this week against stiffer opposition, they’ll need to get rid of those big plays.

AVAILABLE STOCK

WR John Metchie, who had treatment for leukemia for his entire rookie season last year, had three receptions for a career-high 44 yards versus Cleveland in addition to a 9-yard run.

“I´m really proud of him for his journey and all that he´s been through,” Ryans stated. “No one has endured it more intensely than him. Metchie is the only one who practices their skill more than everyone else, so it was encouraging to see the results in our opening playoff game.”

LOW STOCK

Devin Singletary is still Houston’s primary running back, but RB Dameon Pierce, who ran for 939 yards as a rookie last season, had three runs for zero yards on Saturday.

 

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