The Houston Texans rookie sensation C.J. Stroud put on what could only be described as a quarterback clinic in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In just a single game, Stroud earned the highest single-game passer rating by a rookie quarterback with a minimum of 30 attempts in NFL history, the most passing yards by a rookie in a game in NFL history, the youngest player ever with at least 450 passing yards in a game, and became the sixth player in NFL history to record at least 450 passing yards and 5 touchdown passes with no interceptions. It goes without saying that this performance earned him the distinction of Offensive Player of the Week.
With a final score of 39 - 37 with the Texans fighting their way to victory all the way down to the final 46 seconds of the game, it’s easy to see that the record-setting performance from Stroud was achieved under the type of stress that even some veteran quarterbacks succumb to. Stroud stepped up to the challenge with 30 completions on 42 attempts for 470 yards and 5 touchdowns, the longest of which coming off of a 75-yard catch from Noah Brown. He had his highest completion percentage of the year so far with 71.4% and earned an unheard of passer rating of 147.8.
How did Stroud respond to his historic performance? He first looked to his faith that inspired him both in the game against the Buccaneers, as well as every day he goes out on the field, before he detailed some of the mistakes the team did make in their win as well as how the team has improved so far.
" "Momentum is everything in this league and in the game of football. We've got to ride this momentum and work really hard in practice this week. We weren't perfect out there, though. We're never going to be perfect, but we've got to clean up some things, got to run the ball a little better. But, I think as you can see, I don't think we can be stopped when we're on our ‘A’ game.""- Texans Quarterback C.J.Stroud
The passer rating alone earned him one of many records, with the 147.8 rating becoming the highest single-game passer rating by a rookie quarterback with a minimum of 30 attempts in NFL history. The record was previously held by the Tennessee Titan’s Marcus Mariota who had a 137.5 rating in a 34 - 28 win in overtime against the New Orleans Saints in 2015.
"“It was a gutsy performance from him. It wasn’t all clean, but he gutted it out. He was tough in the pocket and made some plays. He made some big time throws for us and the receivers were reliable for him.” "- Texans Head Coach DeMeco Ryans
With 470 passing yards, C.J. Stroud now holds the record for the most passing yards in a single game by a rookie quarterback, taking the title from the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck who threw for 433 yards in a single game in 2012.
""If you give me a little bit of time, I will make them pay." "- Texans Quarterback C.J. Stroud
And that is exactly what he did. At 22 years and 33 days old, Stroud also became the youngest player ever with at least 450 passing yards in a game, surpassing the record set all the way back in October of 1961 where Jacky Lee played with the Houston Oilers against the Boston Patriot when he was 22 years and 94 days.
His game winning performance that resulted in over 450 passing yards with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions puts him as only the sixth player to ever achieve such a feat in NFL history alongside quarterbacks including Peyton Manning in 2013, Tony Romo in 2013, Ben Roethlisberger in 2014, Drew Brees in 2015, Jared Goff in 2018, Patrick Mahomes in 2018, and Tua Tagovailoa in 2022.
The record-breaking performance when it mattered most against the Buccaneers came after Stroud was selected as the Offensive Player of the Month in September, as well. The accolades earned by Stroud are quickly catapulting him to the discussion as one of the premiere quarterbacks in the league and it doesn’t take long to find out why. He is playing that good right now. Stroud started his rookie season off catching the attention of the league by snatching a record set by Dak Prescott when he threw for 177 consecutive pass attempts to start his career without a single interception.
While it may not seem like much right now, the Texans have won more games than all of last season and are doing it with a team that is packed full of exciting rookies on both sides of the ball. With Stroud at the helm, the team is looking better and better each week and the quarterback only continues to build his list of records as they keep fighting for their first shot at the playoffs since the 2019-2020 season. The only question left is can Stroud keep the momentum going, and if he does, exactly how many records will he break this year?