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Houston Texans Quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) passes during the NFL football game between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 12, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)
November 17th, 2023
A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021 and 2022 as the leader of the Ohio State Buckeyes offense, C.J. Stroud landed at the Houston Texans as the second overall pick of the 2023 NFL draft and has far exceeded expectations as a rookie.
On a team projected to finish with the worst record in the NFL ahead of the 2023 season, Stroud has turned the tides of the franchise much sooner than anticipated, leading the Texans to a 5-4 record through Week 10 and second-place position in the AFC South, just behind the 6-3 Jacksonville Jaguars.
After setting a number of records at Ohio State, Stroud has already written his name into the NFL history books through the early part of his rookie season, while he's a +2500 dark horse to win the NFL MVP award.
Let's take an in-depth look at Stroud's hot start to his rookie season and examine his regular-season record against every NFL team he has played thus far.
In Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season, Stroud squared off with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and his high school friend, Bryce Young, who won the 2021 Heisman over Stroud while at Alabama.
In a 15-13 defeat to Carolina, Stroud came up short against his peer while throwing for 140 yards, and he ran the ball in for his first career rushing touchdown. The Panthers earned their first win of the season over Houston, though Carolina is in far worse shape in 2023 with a 1-8 record through 10 weeks.
In a 30-27 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10, Stroud recorded his third game with 350 or more passing yards, which tied a rookie record shared by Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.
In his first division game of his career, Stroud confronted AFC South rival Indianapolis in Week 2 and recorded his first two career touchdown passes in a 31-20 loss. His 384 passing yards were the second-most in a single game by a Texans rookie QB, and he accomplished that with his offensive line missing four starters.
The game prior, in Stroud's debut, he threw for 242 yards in a 25-9 defeat to Baltimore.
H-Town let’s get it!!!! 🤘🏽 pic.twitter.com/VUp8th6gt0— CJ Stroud (@CJ7STROUD) April 29, 2023
H-Town let’s get it!!!! 🤘🏽 pic.twitter.com/VUp8th6gt0
In Week 3 of the 2023 season, Stroud got another matchup with a division rival when he clashed with Jacksonville on the road. In a surprise upset, Stroud led Houston to a 37-17 win and completed 20 of 30 passes for 280 yards and two scores.
He joined Cam Newton and Justin Herbert as the only players in NFL history to record at least 900 passing yards in their first three games.
Stroud later earned Offensive Rookie of the Month for September after throwing for 906 yards and four touchdown passes and had no interceptions in the first month of his career.
Stroud managed to make it through Week 5 before he threw his first career interception. In a 20-13 win over New Orleans on Oct. 15, 2023, he was picked off for the first time in his rookie season, on his 192nd pass attempt. The game prior, in a Week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Stroud broke a record set by Dak Prescott when Stroud threw his 177th pass attempt without an interception, the most for any quarterback to start his career.
On Stroud's first career interception, he was picked off by linebacker Zack Baun, but the Texans ended up with the ball, as receiver Nico Collins punched the ball out of Baun's grasp and offensive lineman Tytus Howard recovered possession for Houston.
Stroud's best game of his career thus far occurred in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the 22-year-old threw for 470 yards, which broke Andrew Luck's single-game passing yard record for a rookie QB, which was set back in 2012.
Stroud also added five touchdown passes in the 39-37 comeback win, which tied a single-game record for a rookie signal caller. Ray Buivid, Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, Deshaun Watson, and Daniel Jones also co-own the record.
On top of that milestone, Stroud's performance marked the third time in NFL history that a quarterback threw for 470 yards and five touchdowns without recording an interception. Y.A. Tittle and Ben Roethlisberger are the other quarterbacks to achieve the feat.
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