It has been a while since Dec. 26, 2021 -- 644 days, in fact. For some, that date might be meaningless, but for the Houston Texans it marked the last time they won a game on their own field.
After nearly two years, the team was more eager and motivated than ever to finally get a 'W' in front of their own fans. On Sunday, they finally did.
The Texans defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-6 to improve to 2-2 and finally get the victory they have been after for 644 days. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud impressed in the win, going 16-for-30 with 306 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The victory marked his third-straight game with 250-plus passing yards, two-plus pass TDs and zero INTs, the most by a rookie since at least 1970. He is also one of only two players to ever have 30-plus pass attempts and no interceptions in each of their first four career starts, along with Gardner Minshew.
After the victory, the 21-year-old said this team was not going to settle for continuing to lose at home.
"I've been thinking about this for a long time," Stroud said, via the team transcript. "Y'all deserve to feel special. Y'all deserve to root the Texans on. Not winning since 2021, I think it was around Christmas, that is not flying for anybody in this building."
He had a message for the fans, wanting to be sure they know how hard the team is trying to give them a good product on the field.
"I want them to know we're fighting our tails off every day to make sure y'all walk around with Texans gear pride, y'all walk around with that swag that we walk around with when we get a 'W'," Stroud said. "... I just want to say, we're going to keep fighting every day just so y'all can walk around with that swag. I think that's huge for this team."
Stroud says he never wants the Texans fans to have to answer for the team's struggles, adding that he takes winning, specifically winning in front of his own fans, very serious.
"For me I take that real personal because I don't like being bagged on my teams," he said. "When my Lakers lose, I be pissed. I take that stuff real serious, man. It's up to us to work every day and put the work in. You've seen, those Steelers fans came and showed out today in our stadium, and we sent them home. I think our fans felt the energy."
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In his short time in Houston he has already begun to "fall in love with the city little by little" and complimented the people who make up the city.
"... it's a blessing to be able to be in Houston, a great town with a lot of stuff to do, great people, Southern hospitality to its finest," Stroud said.
The team has looked a lot more put together with their new quarterback and new head coach DeMeco Ryans. Tight end Dalton Schultz said Ryans made it a point to bring attention to that Dec. 26 date when he arrived in Houston.
"DeMeco came in and he put up a date," Schultz said. "It's the last time that the Texans won a game at home. At the forefront of the week, we were honed in on just being able to win at home. There's always room for improvement, but that was a great team win and we needed that one."