HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans took their Week 16 loss to the Cleveland Browns personally and defeated them in their wild-card matchup 45-14, led by a historic day for quarterback C.J Stroud on Saturday.

Texans coach DeMeco Ryans called Stroud "special," as the No. 2 pick in last year's draft tied the NFL record for most touchdown passes (three) by a rookie in a playoff game.

"C.J. is the reason why we're in this position," Ryans said postgame. "He's a special young man and special player and continues to shine. No matter how big the moment is, our whole team is leaning on him, and he has the shoulders to carry the weight. And he shows up week after week. ... No moment is too big for him. He has had a special season and we're looking forward to keep moving on."

1 Related

Ryans and Stroud became the third rookie coach-quarterback duo since 1950 to win a playoff game. Stroud was the first quarterback drafted in the top two of the draft since 1967 to start and win a playoff game in his rookie season. He also became the youngest to win a playoff contest, passing Michael Vick.

"Super excited for this team and the city of Houston," Stroud said. "I'm just blessed to be in the position I am. ... I put in a lot of hard work, and my teammates do too, and it's cool to see the fruits of your labor come to be true. I'm super blessed to be considered with a great name like Michael Vick, who was my favorite quarterback growing up. I'm super blessed, and hopefully, I can make it to two [wins]."

This matchup was a rematch from Week 16, a game the Texans lost 36-22, and the players didn't forget it as a song blasted in their locker room before the game.

"The song we were playing when we walked in was that 'Get Back a Motherf---er,'" Texans tight end Brevin Jordan told ESPN. "We didn't have C.J. Stroud [in Week 16], and when we went back and watched the film, there was always a guy or two not on the correct targets or assignments. It is just one of those games where we corrected it, and we took that game personally."

The Texans trailed 14-10 in the second quarter and, from that point on, went on a 35-0 run to blow the game open.

It started when Stroud ran a play-action and threw a 4-yard pass to Jordan, who ran for 72 yards after the catch into the end zone to put the Texans up 17-14.

Then, before the half on second-and-20 with 1:11 remaining, Stroud found tight end Dalton Schultz wide open for another touchdown to lead 24-14 at the half.

Ryans told his team at halftime it was about finishing and "games that flip at halftime."

Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud became the first quarterback drafted in the top two of the draft since 1967 to start and win a playoff game in his rookie season. AP/Eric Christian Smith

"The thing that was said in the locker room was, we're here," Ryans said. "We talked about our moment, we talked about opportunity. Now, the biggest thing is, what do you do with it? It was all about going out and just finishing, continuing to execute, continuing to finish. And that's what we did."

In the third quarter, the Texans shut the door on any potential comeback when cornerback Steven Nelson and linebacker Chris Harris intercepted Browns quarterback Joe Flacco, returning both picks for touchdowns to lead 38-14.

There were other key contributors in the revenge win for the Texans. In Week 16, wide receiver Amari Cooper went for 265 yards and two touchdowns, which helped the Browns control that game. Ryans decided to have former No. 3 pick cornerback Derek Stingley follow Cooper on Saturday.

"Stingley did an unbelievable job on Cooper and limited him to four catches, so it was an outstanding job," Ryans said. "Sting was up for the challenge before the matchup. And that's what playoff football is about. It's about your playmakers stepping up and making plays."

According to Next Gen Stats, Stingley matched up with Cooper on 71% of routes and held him to zero catches, as Cooper finished with 59 yards on four catches.

"I was in a groove," Stingley told ESPN. "I was locked into my technique and my eyes. I was making sure I wasn't going to be the one."

The Texans will wait to see who they will face in the divisional round. But in Jordan's eyes, as long as they have Stroud performing at a historic level, they're confident in any matchup.

"If all 11 of us are on the same page on the offensive side, are getting into their spot, get into their assignment, we feel like nobody can play with us," Jordan said. "Especially when you have No. 7 back there."