ATLANTA (AP) — C.J. Stroud set an NFL record and led a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that gave the Houston Texans the lead. Unfortunately for the rookie quarterback, he didn’t come away with a victory.
The Texans lost 21-19 on Sunday when the Falcons’ Younghoe Koo kicked a 33-yard field goal on the game’s final play.
Stroud broke the record for pass attempts without an interception to start a career. The No. 2 overall draft pick stands at 186 attempts through five games. Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys had the previous record of 176.
Stroud finished 20 of 35 for 249 yards and one touchdown, his seventh TD pass of the season.
“It is important to take care of the football,” Stroud said. “I don’t put it into harm’s way too many times.”
Stroud was nearly picked a couple of times against the Falcons, but the ball hit the turf.
“I got touched a couple of times. Those DBs are really good,” he said. “Turning the ball over is a recipe to lose.”
Perhaps more important than the record was the fourth-quarter drive he led that gave the Texans a 19-18 lead with 1:49 left. After settling for four field goals, the Texans finally broke through. Stroud directed an 11-play, 75-yard drive that he capped with an 18-yard pass to Dalton Schultz, who got behind the Falcons’ defense and was open in the middle of the end zone.
“It was a play from earlier in the game, and we made an adjustment to it and we were able to convert on it,” Schultz said. “We had an urgency on that last drive. … Obviously we need to do a better job earlier in the game. We can’t be kicking field goals all day long.”
Ka’imi Fairbaim made kicks from 38, 43, 28 and 42 yards.
Texans coach DeMeco Ryans was disappointed his team was not able to find the end zone until the final two minutes, but he liked what he saw from his rookie quarterback and the offense on that drive. He also appreciates another interception-free effort from Stroud.
“C.J. has continued to do a really good job of protecting the ball, protecting the team,” Ryans said. “We need to play well around him.”
Before Prescott set the record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career, Tom Brady was the owner of it. Stroud said he has met both of those quarterbacks and is thankful for the help they provided.
“Those guys are special football players. … I want to use those things they have taught me and explained to me,” Stroud said. “I really appreciate those guys.”