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Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud leans on faith after first playoff exit — Andscape

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BALTIMORE – Many noteworthy athletes have that one thing that motivates them through their careers when chasing victory.

For quarterback Tom Brady, it was being selected 199th overall in the NFL draft. For quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it was not being drafted first. For NBA legend Michael Jordan … it was a lot of things.

For Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, he could be motivated by draft positions or personal slights or just an overall desire to win. But he’s also driven by his faith, something he’ll rely on after his team fell 34-10 against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday.

“It’s what I lean on through thick and thin,” Stroud said of his Christian faith after the game. “I know I’m upset right now, but I’m really just blessed looking back on this year, this opportunity we had today to play in front of millions of people.”

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud throws a pass during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 20 in Baltimore.

Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

While Stroud didn’t lead the Texans on a single touchdown drive on Saturday — the lone touchdown came on a second-quarter punt return — he was the same poised and unwavering quarterback he’d been all season. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 175 yards but didn’t make the typical mistakes expected of a rookie starting in just his second ever postseason game: no interceptions, no fumbles and Stroud was never sacked despite being under pressure.

Stroud arguably outplayed his counterpart, Lamar Jackson, in the first half, which ended in a 10-10 tie.

With the running game all but nonexistent (12 rushes for just 31 yards), it was Stroud dodging defenders, escaping the pocket, biding time for his receivers to get open, and connecting on multiple third downs to extend drives.

Stroud maintained his composure until the game was out of reach, rarely appearing to be rattled even as the Texans made costly mistakes: multiple dropped passes, a missed 47-yard field goal by kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn at the end of the second quarter, and 11 penalties that cost the team 70 yards (the Ravens committed just three penalties for 15 yards). Jackson, on the other hand, could be seen being visibly frustrated with his teammates before halftime, throwing up his hands when mistakes were made.

“It would be inappropriate if I said it,” Jackson said, referring to what he told teammates in his halftime speech.

But Stroud’s composure was consistent with how he’s been all season in leading a team that ESPN projected would win just seven games to a 10-7 finish and an AFC South crown, not to mention the 45-14 beatdown he helped put on the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the playoffs on Jan. 13.

Whether Saturday or any number of games this season — including this play against the Cincinnati Bengals — Stroud showed the kind of Brady-like poise that makes you think Super Bowl. Time and time again, Stroud was faced with scenarios where a first-year starter – let alone a rookie – should falter, and he didn’t.

“Proud of him, proud of his resolve, his confidence, throughout the entire year,” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said of Stroud, who finished the regular season with 4,108 passing yards and 26 total touchdowns. “He was the guy breaking our team down, he’s the leader of our team, and I’m so proud of him, proud of how he’s grown as a player and as a leader. It’s fun to watch. Really awesome young man, and the sky’s the limit for him and what he can do in his career.”

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (left) and Baltimore Ravens safety Geno Stone (right) speak after the AFC Divisional round game at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 20 in Baltimore.

Kara Durrette/Getty Images

Less than an hour after the final whistle, Stroud said it was hard to answer if this season in the end was a success, seeing as in college one loss could be seen as a failure. But he doesn’t want to harp on the negative.

“We [came] up short, so you can’t look back like, ‘Dang, we ain’t do nothing special,’ you gotta of course really look back and smile throughout everything,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s like ‘Dang, man, what if?’ That’s the worst feeling, just having regrets. What if I did this? What if I did that? Just learning experiences.”

This season has tested and taught Stroud a lot, but he said it’s been his faith that’s guided him all the way through, no matter the wins and losses.

“I’m just superblessed with the guys who I line it up with every week this year, and I’m just really, really thankful to God just on how much he’s brought me from,” he said. “I’ve grown as a person and as a man of God in a lot of different ways, so I’m just really blessed for that.”

The Texans’ season didn’t end in a surprise Super Bowl berth, but it did show to the world what Stroud is capable of as one of the budding stars in the league. This is no fluke, no gimmick, no luck. Stroud is just that good.

Saturday’s loss won’t have any lasting impact on that. 

“I’m just really grateful to God for all the opportunities that he’s blessed me with,” Stroud said. ”I’m just going to lean on him, and I know that this isn’t the end for me, it’s more football for me to play and I’m just excited for that.”

Martenzie Johnson is a senior writer for Andscape. His favorite cinematic moment is when Django said, “Y’all want to see somethin?”



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