The Houston Texans’ 37-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday shouted to the world. The message: quarterback C.J. Stroud was worth every ounce of draft capital Nick Caserio and Demeco Ryans invested in him with this year’s second overall pick.
Despite all the “Ohio State Buckeye quarterbacks can’t hang in the NFL” narrative to the contrary, Stroud is not only hanging, he’s hitting marks, setting records and showing out.
As of this writing, and barring some miraculous performance by either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Baker Mayfield or the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts in tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup, Stroud is one of only four NFL passers in 2023 with over 900 air yards.
But that’s not all. With yesterday’s 280 yards, Stroud landed 3rd all-time in most passing yards by an NFL rookie in their first three games.
The players with the most passing yards in their first three career games in NFL history:
Cam Newton Carolina 2011 1,012
Justin Herbert L.A. Chargers 2020 931
C.J. Stroud Houston 2023 906
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 2017-18 866
Andrew Luck Indianapolis 2012 846
To make matters worse for Houston haters, Stroud also set an all-time NFL record:
The outing made him the first quarterback in NFL history to have at least 900 passing yards, four pass touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first three career starts, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Stroud currently has 78 completions on 121 attempts for a 64.5 completion percentage. A 7.5 yard per pass average and a rating of 98.0. Against the Glitter Kitties, he hit a 118.8 rating.
Tank Dell on his touchdown celebration with C.J. Stroud:— Coty M. Davis (@CotyDavis_24) September 24, 2023
“That’s a Cail dance. He came up with it, and I went along with it. It’s something we will be doing from now on." #Texanspic.twitter.com/T9oKDzKW8T
Meanwhile. first overall draft pick Bryce Young has a paltry 299 passing yards, two touchdowns to two interceptions and a sad 66.6 QB rating.
Even though the Texans current depth chart looks like the patient list a M.A.S.H unit, head coach Ryans is proving that he was also the right choice.
And Ryans owes a lot of that to Stroud.
Demeco Ryans via ESPN
Sky is the limit for C.J., he just keeps his head down and keeps working. C.J. is a very humble young man. Everything starts with the quarterback, and we have a good one who’s doing really good things. He’s improved every week. And that’s what I like and admire about C.J. is he’s dialed into improvement every week. He’s not satisfied. He’s been a leader for us as an offensive unit, and it’s impressive to see a young man continue to get better each week and lead that group.
CJ Stroud was better under pressure than in a clean pocket today. Continues to shows signs.— TexansCap (@TexansCap) September 24, 2023
Under Pressure 40% of drop backs, 125.3 QB Rating / 6.0% CPOE
No Pressure 60% of drop backs, 114.4 QB rating / 2.5% CPOE
Next up, former Texans’ great J.J. Watt’s little brother T.J. Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s VERY early, but CJ Stroud is a rookie quarterback who has been playing without the majority of his starting offensive line, under heavy pressure and yet he’s been poised, confident and in control.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 24, 2023
Again, it’s early, but Houston has to be excited right now.