Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud showed why he’s destined for stardom in a record-setting performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Against Tampa Bay, the 23-year-old completed 30-of-42 passes for 470 yards — the NFL record for the most passing yards by a rookie quarterback — and five TDs.
Also, he delivered in the clutch. With 0:46 left in the fourth quarter, the No. 2 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft engineered a six-play, 75-yard drive and threw a 15-yard TD to rookie wide receiver Tank Dell, sealing a 39-37 victory.
“C.J., man, he’s different. I’ve been saying that since rookie mini-camp,” Dell said following the victory, via ESPN NFL Nation reporter DJ Bien-Aime. “He told us to be poised and be ready. So that’s what we did.”
Stroud displaying composure in a clutch situation is excellent for the Texans because there are veteran QBs who don’t have this quality.
The former Ohio State Buckeye has exceeded expectations this season. Per ESPN.com, he’s completed 60.3% of his passes for 1,800 yards, nine TDs, one interception and an above-average 58.4 QBR.
Don’t be surprised if he wins Offensive Rookie of the Year since oddschecker gives him the best odds (+150) to win the award.
The Texans (4-4) are still in the playoff hunt, too. They’re second in the AFC South, and The New York Times simulator notes they have a 28% chance to make the postseason.
Houston made the right decision when it selected Stroud because he already looks like a franchise cornerstone the organization can keep building around.