It’s safe the say the Houston Texans have found their man at quarterback after C.J. Stroud absolutely lit up his home field in a 39-37 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Stroud rewrote the record books in the process, too.
Stroud set the rookie passing yards record in a single game with 470 yards on 30-for-42 through the air with five touchdowns, including the game-winning score to rookie receiver Tank Dell who scored twice in his first multi-score game.
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Baker Mayfield and the Bucs were in position to spoil Stroud’s party when he found Cade Otton to cap a 61-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to take a 37-33 lead. But Stroud, who was dissecting the Bucs’ defense all game long, didn’t care that clock wasn’t on his side when he took the field to try to pull off a miracle.
Stroud only needed six plays, finding tight end Dalton Schultz, who had 10 catches and 130 yards with a touchdown in this one, with his first two throws to get near midfield. Then, Stroud located Noah Brown, who led the Texans with a massive 153 yards on six catches and a score, for 14 yards to get the ball over into Bucs’ territory.
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The best throw of Stroud’s night came next as he found Dell running a beautiful route on the left sideline, and he got two feet in for 26 yards to place the Texans on the 15-yard line.
With 10 seconds left, Stroud dropped back and fired to Dell for 15 yards in the end zone, sending off a massive celebration at NRG Stadium in Houston.
This game truly had it all, including a Texans backup running back needing to kick emergency field goals and kickoffs. Dare Ogunbowale was used by head coach DeMeco Ryans to replace an injured Ka’imi Fairbairn, and he drilled a 29-yard field goal with 8:45 left in the fourth quarter that was, at one point, going to be the game-winning points before madness ensued at the end.
The Bucs made it hard for Stroud to enjoy what he was doing on the field all game long as Mayfield and his unit kept firing back at the Texans. But there just wasn’t enough time on the clock when they got the ball back, fumbling on a miracle attempt at the end of the game.
Mayfield finished 21-of-30 for 265 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His running back, Rachaad White, scored two rushing touchdowns on 20 carries for 73 yards while hauling in four catches for 46 yards.
Mike Evans was the leading receiver for Tampa, catching four balls for 87 yards. Otton also had 70 yards on six catches with two touchdowns.
The Texans, now 4-4, have a tough task next week when they travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Meanwhile, the Bucs, now 3-5, have the Tennessee Titans next on their schedule.