In his Week 9 performance against Tampa Bay, C.J. Stroud threw five touchdown passes and set a new NFL rookie record with 470 passing yards. Stroud led a game-winning drive with just 46 seconds remaining to lead the Houston Texans to a thrilling 39-37 victory over the Buccaneers.
View the best photos from the Week 9 matchup between the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"It's a gutsy performance from him," Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said. "It wasn't all clean, but he gutted it out. He was tough in the pocket, made some plays, made some big-time throws for us, and the receivers, they were reliable for him. They made those catches, made tough catches, made big plays for us, so it was all those guys working together. But C.J., it was a very gutsy performance by him."
On the final drive, Stroud connected with TE Dalton Schultz on back-to-back passes and the Texans called their final two timeouts after each catch. WR Noah Brown caught a short pass and added a 14-yard gain. Stroud spiked the ball to stop the clock before he looked to Tank Dell for the final two plays of the drive.
Running a two-minute drill with just 46 seconds left, Stroud had confidence in his playmakers. He told the receivers to stay ready.
"He's different," Dell said. "I've been saying that since rookie minicamp, since fall camp. C.J. is different, man. He told us to stay poised and be ready. So that's what we did was be ready and we executed."
Dell caught a 26-yard pass and ran out of bounds at the Tampa Bay 15-yard line. Stroud threw his fifth touchdown of the day, a 15-yard score to Dell in the endzone to give the Texans a 39-37 lead with just six seconds left in the game. OC Bobby Slowik drew up the play on the sideline and the offense executed it perfectly.
"We just had put that in on the sideline, so Bobby did a great job of feeling the tempo of the game and feeling what we probably needed and had a play we ain't worked on since training camp, and literally I know that Tank was -- Tank's route was nasty," Stroud said. "I didn't get to watch it. I just threw it. I just had to take care of the safety. They were in quarters. Once the safety was by the inside route, I throw the outside route, and his job was to beat the corner, and the Texans win."
Stroud completed 30-of-42 passes for 470 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 147.8 passer rating in his eighth career NFL start. The Texans recorded 496 total net yards of offense (443 passing, 53 rushing) with three players, Noah Brown (six catches, 153 yards, 1 TD), Schultz (10 catches, 130 yards, 1 TD) and Tank Dell (six catches, 114 yards, two touchdowns) recording 100-yard receiving performances.
"I think as you can see, I don't think we can be stopped when we're on our 'A' game," Stroud said. "It's a big-time win for us and, as you see, November and December is when you want to be playing your best ball."
With the win, the Texans improve to 4-4 on the season and will travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals in Week 10.