The Houston Texans got their first look at their new prospective franchise quarterback on Thursday night, as rookie signal-caller C.J. Stroud started Houston's first preseason matchup against the Patriots in New England. He played just two series in the Texans' 20-9 victory, and unfortunately did not get the offense moving in his first professional action.
Stroud played 11 snaps, and completed 2 of 4 passes for 13 yards and one interception. The Ohio State product also rushed twice for 6 yards, and took a 15-yard sack on the fourth play of the game.
Stroud's interception came on Houston's first drive of the night on a third-and-21. Veteran defensive back Jalen Mills read the rook like a book, and stole possession away for the Pats. New England then capitalized on the short field with a successful 44-yard field goal.
"Got to make a play smarter and not put my defense in a bad situation, put them right in field goal range, and that's my mistake," Stroud said. "Even though I'm a rookie, still trying to play as a vet and play sound football and not only protect my offense but to protect the defense, as well."
Stroud didn't get much of a chance to show what he's capable of in his first 11 preseason plays. A big reason for this was the play of his offensive line -- which struggled immensely against the Patriots' pressure.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist during his time in Columbus, and recorded the most passing touchdowns in a two-year span in Big Ten history with 85. Stroud led an offense that ranked No. 1 in the FBS in points per game (45.0) and yards per game (526.0) over the past two seasons. Houston is hoping he can spark the Texans offense in the future.