Heading into the 2023 season, no one was really expecting much from the Houston Texans. After finishing with the second-worst record in the NFL last year, the Texans were viewed a long shot to make the playoffs in 2023, but they defied those odds by clinching their first postseason berth in four years on Saturday night. 

With their 23-19 win over the Colts, the Texans became just the fifth team in NFL history, and first one in 11 years, to make the playoffs with a rookie at quarterback (CJ Stroud) AND a rookie head coach (DeMeco Ryans). 

Stround and Ryans will now join an exclusive club that only includes four other tandems: 

2008 Falcons: Matt Ryan and Mike Smith 
2008 Ravens: Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh
2009 Jets: Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan
2012 Colts: Andrew Luck and Chuck Pagano

It's almost fitting that Stroud is joining a list that also includes Luck, because his rookie year is playing out in a very similar fashion. With 264 passing yards on Saturday against the Colts, Stroud will now finish the regular-season with 4,108 yards, which is the third-highest total by a rookie in NFL history (Luck is at No. 1 on the list with 4,374). 

Also, Stroud is set to become just the third QB since 1967 to start a playoff game during his rookie year after being selected with a top-two pick (Stroud will be joining Luck and Robert Griffin III). 

Stroud and Ryans have turned around the franchise faster than anyone thought possible. At the end of the 2022 season, it looked like the Texans were going nowhere fast. As a matter of fact, at this time last year, former Texans coach Lovie Smith took a lot of heat for leading Houston to a wild win over the Colts that cost his team the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft

After scoring a TD with under a minute left, Smith decided to go for two, and although the decision was successful, the win over Indy left Houston with the second overall pick. However, that ended up working out pretty well for the Texans, because they were able to land Stroud. 

As for Ryans, the Texans interviewed several popular candidates, including the coach that Ryans beat on Saturday: Shane Steichen. Besides him, the Texans also talked to Jonathan Gannon, Lions OC Ben Johnson and Sean Payton, but in the end, they felt like Ryans was the best man for the job and that decision is already paying off tremendously.

After struggling for most of the past three years, the Texans are a team with a suddenly bright future.