The Houston Texans continued their run as one of the trendiest teams in the NFL on Sunday, picking up a 21-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals despite three interceptions from rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.
In terms of turnovers, this was by far the worst performance of the season for Stroud who had only thrown who picks entering Sunday's game. Even so, that is a much easier pill to swallow with a win, and Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans admitted as much in postgame media availability on Sunday.
“After a game like this, we're feeling excitement," Ryans said. "Any time you win in this league, it’s a big win. And, this game, there were a lot of miscues, and things didn't go our way, but what I love the most and told our guys, we found a way to win, and that's what it takes to be a good football team."
It may be time to officially put that label on the Texans: "Good football team." Houston has now won three straight games and has a record of 6-4 after mustering only three wins and a tie a season ago. Sunday's game, even with the turnovers, might be a positive sign for the Texans as a whole because, for once, it wasn't up to C.J. Stroud to be clutch to win. That responsibility fell to the defense.
"You have you to find a way to win, have to play complementary football," Ryans said. "Offense struggled there, defense stepped up and had their back. We’ve had other games where the defense has struggled, and offense has stepped up and made drives there at the end of game to win the game. I think the defense owed the offense a drive for now. So, it was awesome to see the defense be on that side and being the reason why we won that game.”
That is the hallmark of a good football team. Perfect performances week-in and week-out are impossible in the NFL, and Stroud was always going to have a game like this in his rookie season. But what's important is that even when the best player on the field struggled, Houston still found a way to win. That can go a long way in the chase for a playoff spot.
Things get tougher for the Texans next week, however, but this team has not shied away from challenges thus far. Houston will play host to Trevor Lawrence and the 7-3 Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at 12 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised on CBS.