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Status of Texans rookie QB Stroud for Sunday's game uncertain because of concussion

HOUSTON (AP) — C.J. Stroud had the worst game of his young career in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets before leaving with a concussion.

Now the Texans must wait and see if the star rookie quarterback can return this week or if they’ll have to start Davis Mills against the Titans.

“We’ll see how he progresses,” coach DeMeco Ryans said. “Not many guys have returned the following week from a concussion. It’s more about the long-term health than the excitement of the game. We care about their long-term health.”

Stroud and the rest of the Texans (7-6) struggled to do much of anything right in the 30-6 loss to the Jets, who entered the game having lost five in a row.

Both teams were scoreless in the first half before New York took the game over after halftime.

Stroud came into Sunday leading the NFL with 3,540 yards passing and had averaged 348 yards a game in his previous five games. But he had a season-low 91 yards Sunday playing in wet and windy conditions before leaving with about 6 1/2 minutes left after hitting his head on the turf.

“They made plays, and we didn’t,” Ryans said. “You go out and you play that way, you don’t make plays, you don’t deserve to win the football game. So, we didn’t show up and make enough plays to win and when you play like that, that’s what will happen.”

Despite the messy conditions, Ryans wouldn’t blame the weather for the struggles in the passing game.

“The weather wasn’t bad enough where you couldn’t throw the football,” he said. “It wasn’t that bad of a rain, we had some (opportunities) there, we just didn’t make the plays.”

Stroud completed 10 of 23 passes Sunday for his lowest completion percentage of the season. It was the first time he hadn’t reached 100 yards passing and just the third time where he didn’t throw for at least 240 yards.

WHAT’S WORKING

Nothing worked great against the Jets, but Houston did some good things in the running game. Devin Singletary had 65 yards rushing and averaged 5 yards a carry. He had Houston’s only points Sunday on a 1-yard run in the third quarter that came after the Texans recovered a fumble by Zach Wilson.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Whoever starts at quarterback Sunday will try and get the passing game on track after the bad outing against the Jets. It won’t be easy though with the team’s receiving group having been hit hard by injuries.

Sunday was Houston’s first game without Tank Dell, after the star rookie broke his leg in Week 13. The group took another blow when leading receiver Nico Collins left early Sunday with an injured calf in a game where starting tight end Dalton Schultz sat out for a second week with a hamstring injury.

If Collins and Schultz remain out against the Titans, the Texans will need someone such as Noah Brown or John Metchie to step up to make up for their absences. Houston’s leading receiver against the Jets was backup tight end Brevin Jordan, who had three receptions for just 35 yards.

“For me (to) make things easier, I think it all starts with just executing what we’re supposed to do to give ourselves a chance,” Ryans said. “I think you have to start right there, you have to be able to execute the game plan and do what we have to do, no matter who’s in there.”

STOCK UP

DE Jonathan Greenard. He had two sacks Sunday for his third multi-sack game this season to give him a career-high 10 this season. He’s the first Texan to have at least 10 sacks in a season since J.J. Watt had 16 in 2018.

“Jonathan has had a productive year, done some good things for us this year,” Ryans said. “Everybody eats when everybody rushes together.”

STOCK DOWN

K Matt Ammendola missed his first extra point of the season after Singletary’s score.

INJURIES

CB Tavierre Thomas and LB Blake Cashman had hamstring injuries in the first half and didn’t return. ... Houston rookie DE Will Anderson had an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.

KEY NUMBER

1 — The Texans converted just one of 12 third down attempts Sunday.

NEXT STEPS

Sunday is the first of two meetings with Tennessee in the closing weeks of the season where the Texans need a win to have any hope of remaining in contention for a wild-card playoff spot.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press