C.J. Stroud had one of the greatest rookie performances ever Sunday as he led the Houston Texans to a dramatic 39-37 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Stroud needed only 40 seconds to quarterback a miraculous six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to receiver Tank Dell with six seconds left at NRG Stadium.

Stroud – this year’s No. 2 pick – finished the day with 30 completions on 43 attempts while tossing a single-game rookie record 470 yards and five touchdowns, good for a 147.8 passer rating.


The Ohio State product became the first rookie – and only the sixth player in NFL history – to record at least 450 passing yards, five TD passes, and no interceptions in a game, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.

Led by quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Bucs had taken the lead with 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter after a Cade Otton touchdown reception. That was more than enough time for Houston to clinch a fourth win of the season.

Despite having no timeouts left, Stroud put the Texans in a position to win the game by delivering a big-time deep throw to Dell before the eventual game-winning score.

Dell, whom the Texans selected in the third round in April, caught six passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

Stroud has now completed more than 60% of his passes for 2,270 yards and 14 touchdowns against only one interception through eight games in 2023. He’s helped Houston post a 4-4 record so far after the team went only 3-13-1 last year.

The 22-year-old was the second quarterback off the board in the 2023 draft; Bryce Young went first overall to the Carolina Panthers.

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