The Houston Texans 37-17 win in Jacksonville isn't just any Week 3, divisional win. The Texans dominant performance on offense, defense and special teams, despite a long list of injured starters, also marks the first career win for DeMeco Ryans as head coach.
"It's special, to get the first win is definitely special," Ryans said. "Been thinking about it for a long time since we started. How would that first win be? It's a lot of work and I never lose sight of the grind and the work that it takes to win a game. But I'm so proud of our guys and I'm happy for our guys and the work that they put in to help us win this game. Like it's a credit to everybody. It was truly a team effort and I'm just thankful to be in this position to help lead these men."
The Texans defense bounced back from last week's loss with a pair of takeaways, while special teams came up with a blocked field goal by Will Anderson Jr. and kickoff returned for a touchdown by FB Andrew Beck. The offensive line, ravaged by injuries and without four starters including three-time Pro Bowler LT Laremy Tunsil, didn't allow a single sack on C.J. Stroud. In his first NFL win, the rookie quarterback completed 20-of-30 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and has not thrown an interception in three weeks.
Stroud, who led Ohio State to a 21-4 record as the Buckeyes starter, compared his preparation in college to deliver under pressure, to the pressure of facing NFL-caliber defenses each week.
"Coming from Ohio State, man, it's a pressure element that is pushed on every week that either you can't lose," Stroud said. "And if you're playing a less-than team or a team that people think are less-than, you have to win by 70 plus points. So like the preparation that I put in college, I almost kind of did the same thing as I've gone to the league."
Stroud has been open about the pressure he puts on himself. His motto, "Pressure is a privilege" is one that he embraces as the Texans No. 2 overall draft pick. Following his first NFL win, Stroud was, in fact, on the phone with his former college head coach immediately when the game ended.
"I just got off the phone with Coach (Ryan) Day and he kind of said some things to me that he used to always say to me when I was at Ohio State, that just resonated and I told him congrats and everything for the win from last night," Stroud said. "But what prepared me from college is working now in the league as well, and I think this is just the beginning. Like yeah, we won, let's throw it away. Watch the film, correct the issues, and let's go on to week four. Man, I think that's the next step is just doing it again, being consistent."
The Texans improve to 1-2 on the season and return home to NRG Stadium to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 1 when J.J. Watt will be inducted into the Ring of Honor.