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C.J. Stroud Knew He Could Play in NFL After Showing Up Steelers



Steelers Texans QB C.J. Stroud

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud had an historic rookie season in 2023, throwing for 4,108 yards and 23 touchdowns against only five interceptions. He completed 63.9% of his passes and averaged 273.9 passing yards per game, becoming the first rookie to lead the league in that category in 84 years.

In addition, Stroud became just the fifth rookie to pass for 4,000 yards in a season and the first Ohio State quarterback to be named to a Pro Bowl. He was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year by a landslide.

So when did Stroud realize in his rookie year that he could be an elite NFL quarterback? It was in the Texans’ Week 4 blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stroud revealed this on the Cold As Balls show with actor/comedian Kevin Hart. Yeah, that was the actual name of the show. Stroud and Hart were each in a cold tub in front of a live audience in Las Vegas during the interview.

“It was about Week 4. We played the Steelers at home. it was the first time with a packed crowd at home. We went crazy, scored 30 points on one of the top defenses in the league-that was the moment I was like, ‘Man I can really play in this league and I don’t think nobody can mess with me,” Stroud said.

Stroud completed 16 of 30 passes (53.3%) for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ 30-6 win over the Steelers at NRG Stadium on Oct. 2. Stroud posted an impressive 111.2 passer rating in the rout.

Stroud’s performance put him at 1,212 yards for the season, surpassing Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Andrew Luck for the second-most yards through four starts to begin a career. He trails only Cam Newton’s 1,386 yards.

Stroud also had the third-most passing attempts (151) by a rookie without an interception to start his career, behind Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (176) and Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa (152). Stroud had a 6-0 touchdown-interception ratio to start the season.

Stroud had a make shift offensive line blocking for him in the Week 4 contest, and he still managed to shred the Steelers defense. Stroud’s performance really put the Steelers and the rest of the league on notice that he’s going to be a problem in the league for years to come.