Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud provided commentators with a buffet of positive traits following his five-touchdown performance in the 39-37 comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9.
According to Derrik Klassen from The 33rd Team, one of the traits that Stroud was able to showcase was playing the game fearlessly.
It’s not just Stroud’s control that pops off the screen in these moments, though. It’s his aggression — his fearlessness. Stroud is unafraid to rip it down the field and into tight windows. Stroud believes he can make any throw in the world, and he plays with the preparation and arm talent to back it up.
The whole game is a testament to that, but no moment encapsulates it more than Stroud’s second-to-last throw on the game-winning drive. When the Texans needed him most, Stroud stepped up to the plate without fear.
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) November 5, 2023
Here’s the situation: second-and-10, 16 seconds left, down four points. That’s a death sentence for most rookie quarterbacks, but Stroud didn’t flinch. Stroud saw the Buccaneers’ Cover 2 shell and knew precisely how to attack it. After opening the play with his eyes to the right, Stroud snapped back to the left side and threw a dart to Dell on a deep corner route into the Cover 2 “honey hole.”
No hesitation, no second-guessing. Just grip it and rip it to make one of the toughest throws an NFL quarterback can make in a high-pressure moment. That is big-boy quarterbacking at its finest.
Typically younger quarterbacks must graduate from hesitancy to confidence when firing the ball quickly, or standing up against blitzes and pass rushing. Stroud has demonstrated a completion of this task, which gives the Texans an assortment of play-calls going forward.