HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans beat Arizona on Sunday for their third straight victory.
Next up is an AFC South showdown with Jacksonville, where a win would put them in first place in the division.
“If we’re playing meaningful football late in the season, then that shows the growth,” first-year coach DeMeco Ryans said. “That shows that everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do — focused on getting better.”
The Texans (6-4) have doubled their win total from last season and have won three games in a row for the first time since a nine-game streak in 2018.
At 7-3, the Jaguars are a game ahead of Houston in the standings. But the Texans beat them 37-17 in Week 3, so a win this week would give them the top spot in the division despite identical records.
“It’s been really cool to play with my teammates and build week in, week out,” quarterback C.J. Stroud said. “Now that we’ve put ourselves in a great position to go play for the division (lead), it’s really special. This week is going to mean a lot.”
The star rookie threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 21-16 win, but he’s looking to clean up his play after tossing a season-high three interceptions.
“What I love about C.J. is … when he makes a mistake, he already knows what he needs to do to fix it,” Ryans said. “Very coachable. I know he’ll be dialed in on getting better this week.”
Stroud’s 2,962 yards passing are the fourth-most ever in a player’s first 10 games, and he joined Joe Burrow as the only rookies in NFL history with 300 or more yards passing in three consecutive games.
The second overall pick has thrown for 1,695 yards in five home games, which is the most through a player’s first five home games in NFL history.
The home crowd showered Stroud with chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P!” Sunday after he got a pass off under heavy pressure and found Tank Dell in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown that made it 21-10 just before halftime.
“I really didn’t hear it, but I appreciate it,” Stroud said. “That’s cool. Hopefully, I keep playing well and keep putting wins together. That’s definitely of course my end goal, not just this year, but for every year.”
The Texans ran the ball well again Sunday a week after they had a season-high 188 yards in a win at Cincinnati. Devin Singletary had his second straight 100-yard game with 112 yards rushing against the Cardinals.
That performance came after he ran for a career-best 150 yards against the Bengals. The fifth-year pro has taken advantage of his opportunity in the starting lineup, filling in for Dameon Pierce, who is out with an ankle injury.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Houston raced out to a 21-10 lead Sunday but didn’t score after halftime. The Texans must put together a complete game if they hope to remain in the playoff hunt down the stretch.
CB Derek Stingley, the third overall pick in the 2022 draft, had his first interception of the season Sunday in his second game back after missing six games with a hamstring injury.
“It was cool to see him make a big play for us after all he’s went through to work his way back to get on the field,” Ryans said.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman was out Sunday, serving the first of a two-game suspension for repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players. The penalty was originally three games, but was reduced to two after an appeal.
LB Henry To’oTo’o missed a second straight game Sunday recovering from a concussion and it’s unclear if he will return this week. … WR Noah Brown sat out against Arizona with a knee injury.
149. Dell, a rookie third-round pick, caught a TD pass and set a franchise rookie record with 149 yards receiving Sunday. He ranks second on the team with 659 yards receiving and his six TD receptions are a rookie franchise record.
Stroud must limit his turnovers if the Texans hope to extend their winning streak against the Jaguars.
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