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"Damn good" debut for C.J. Stroud, despite L at Baltimore

CJStroud-DrewStory

Sunday wasn't the happy beginning C.J. Stroud and the Texans wanted to happen, but the rookie quarterback still impressed his head coach and teammates despite the defeat.

Stroud and the Texans fell, 25-9, to the Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. He completed 28-of-44 passes for 242 yards, and guided the Houston offense on a trio of field goal drives. Stroud was sacked five times and hit five other times. Despite the outcome, running back Dameon Pierce only had praise for Stroud.

"He did damn good in my eyes," Pierce said. "He stayed calm given the looks he was given. Sometimes it wasn't what we practiced, but he stayed calm, stayed poised and delivered plays."

Stroud and company were unable to find the end zone on the day, and despite the praise from Pierce, the rookie signal-caller was focused on improving.

"I've got to play better," Stroud said. "It only gets tougher from here. I don't think we did anything super-great. I think we shot ourselves in the foot a lot. We didn't give ourselves a winning chance."

As a team, the Texans were penalized nine times for 88 yards, and converted just 7-of-18 third down tries, and one of four on fourth down. Still, DeMeco Ryans added some perspective on Stroud's outing.

"For his first time out, it was a tough place to play," the head coach said. "A tough opponent. A lot of things were stacked up against him. But I thought he handled himself well."

Wide receiver Nico Collins, who pulled in six catches for a game-high 80 yards, pointed to the rookie's poise on Sunday as a positive.

"Calm and collected," Collins said." We had his back the whole way. We're going to continue to climb as a unit. It's a long season and we're only going to get better."

Stroud and the Texans return home to Houston, and will host the Colts next Sunday at NRG Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon CT.

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