It’s safe to say Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has entered the MVP conversation after putting together another game-winning drive, this time over the Cincinnati Bengals in a 30-27 victory on Sunday.
After a field goal by kicker Evan McPherson brought the Bengals back to a tie game at 27 apiece, Stroud had just over 90 seconds to pull off what he did last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – win it for his team.
Stroud used big passes to tight end Dalton Schultz (25 yards) and Noah Brown (22 yards), the Texans’ leading receiver on Sunday with 172 yards on seven catches, to give Houston a chance at a 38-yard field goal for the win.
Matt Amendola, filling in for the injured Ka’imi Fairbairn, kicked it through the uprights to spoil the Bengals’ potential comeback victory.
The Texans, now 5-4, have won five of their last seven games. The Bengals, who were on a four-game win streak, fell to 5-4 on the season.
This game started off hot for the Bengals after quarterback Joe Burrow found his receiver, Trenton Irwin, for a 32-yard touchdown down the right sideline. With no Tee Higgins on the sideline due to injury in this game, it was good for the Bengals to see Irwin get involved immediately.
The Texans couldn’t match the Bengals at first, but Stroud found fellow rookie Tank Dell for Houston’s first touchdown in the second quarter to tie it at seven a piece.
The Bengals, meanwhile, cooled off after their first touchdown drive to the point where they didn’t get points on the board until McPherson kicked a field goal in the third quarter to make it 20-10.
But Burrow started to get things going again after that field goal, and it came after a beautiful scramble out of the pocket and finding Ja’Marr Chase downfield for a 64-yard touchdown.
While Stroud would match that score with his own, rushing it in from eight yards out, Burrow threw his first interception of the game on a high pass intended for tight end Drew Sample. He would throw another on the Bengals’ next drive on a bad pass into the end zone to kill a potential scoring drive.
However, Stroud, who rarely gets picked off, threw one on the next possession that set up the Bengals perfectly for a Joe Mixon one-yard rushing touchdown to bring the Bengals within three.
In the end, the Bengals’ struggles and turnovers on offense were capitalized on by Stroud and the Texans, who continue to turn heads this season.
Stroud finished with 356 yards after his record-setting performance last week with a touchdown and interception on 23-for-39.
Another amazing performance from the Texans was Devin Singletary, starting for the injured Dameon Pierce, had 150 yards on 30 carries with a touchdown run.
Chase finished with 124 yards for the Bengals, while Tyler Boyd had eight catches for 117 yards. That made up most of Burrow’s 347 yards on 27-for-40 through the air.