Tank Dell caught his first touchdown in the NFL on Sunday and is giving the ball to his mother.
With 9:54 remaining in the game against the Colts, the rookie receiver ran to the right sideline at the 10, pulled in a dart from C.J. Stroud, whirled around and raced up the sideline into the end zone. It was a 23-yard pitch-and-catch for the score, and one of seven receptions for 72 yards on the day for the wideout from the University of Houston.
"It's just one of our backyard plays," Dell said after the game. "Just an out route. I caught it and then it just felt like he overplayed it. So just cut back and handled the rest."
The rookie held on to the ball during his celebration, came to the sideline, and made sure it found its way to Texans Equipment Director Darwin Beacham and his crew.
"They taped it up, put the stat on it, and they gave it back to me," Dell said. "So, it's special. I'm planning on giving it to my mom."
Dell said his mother will likely put it in a case for safekeeping.
In his debut last week at Baltimore, Dell finished with three receptions for 34 yards. He and the rest of the offense performed better yesterday, despite falling by a 31-20 margin to Indianapolis at NRG Stadium. Fellow receivers Nico Collins and Robert Woods also performed well. The former led the way with seven catches for 146 yards and a score, while the latter caught six passes for 74 yards.
Head Coach DeMeco Ryans is "encouraged" by Dell and likes the way the rookie keeps getting better.
"Tank will continue to grow," Ryans said. "He has the right mindset. He plays football the right way. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. I'm excited to continue to see Tank progress."
Dell credited offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik's plan of attack for getting the receivers open looks and running room after the catch. He also thinks it's just a sign of better things to come.
"Coach Slow dialed up a great game plan for us," Dell said. "Me, Nico, Rob, all the receivers, we all got in there, got some touches and showed what we are capable of doing throughout the season."
"We got a room full of route runners, of true receivers able to make plays," Woods said. "Nico is getting the ball in space, being able to make plays. He should have had two touchdowns. Tank is making plays. I feel like it's just a room full of receivers who love their craft."
Dell, Woods and the rest of the Texans will review the Colts loss today, and have Tuesday off. They'll return to the practice fields at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Wednesday, and will face the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday.