Stroud lacked game dominance. In what seemed like a playoff game, the Texans struggled. Indianapolis also struggled, especially early. Minshew was 5-of-11 for 29 yards when Houston grabbed a 14-3 lead on a Stroud-to-Andrew Buck pass. 1-yard first-half touchdown with 1:57 left.
After a slow start, the Colts rallied. The first half ended with a field goal. Jonathan Taylor broke a 49-yard touchdown run on his way to a big game. After the 2-point convert, the Colts knotted the game 14-14.
The teams swapped field goals, then Stroud produced another rare quarterback play. On second-and-14, Stroud dodged the rush to gain time and threw to Collins, who caught it for a first down.
On second-and-13, Stroud fired a laser under pressure to Collins for 23 yards to the Colts' 7-yard line. After a penalty, Devin Singletary scored a 3-yard touchdown to give the Texans a lead with 6:20 to play. Houston lead 23-17 after Ka'imi Fairbairn missed his first extra point of the season.
For a crucial fourth down, Taylor was removed from the field after a sustained Colts drive. Goodson couldn't catch Minshew's errant pass, which dropped incomplete. The Colts couldn't score on the last free kick after the Texans took a premeditated safety with one second left. Houston advanced to the playoffs.
Houston improved before drafting Stroud. The Texans hired linebacker great DeMeco Ryans as their head coach. That was the first huge step. Houston then chose Stroud when the Carolina Panthers passed on him and traded up to the third overall pick for edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., who has also been great as a rookie.
Houston moved from maybe the worst NFL team to the playoffs when Collins and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. improved, the offensive line improved, and the defense performed well.
If the Jaguars lose, the Texans might win the division, and it looks like just the beginning. The Texans' remarkable season turnaround begins with Stroud. No disrespect to Los Angeles Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua, but NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting shouldn't be close. Especially after Stroud's great Saturday performance. Stroud is one of the NFL's finest tales this season. His season continues.