Rookie quarterbacks are getting their chances early this season.
One is taking advantage of the opportunity in extremely impressive fashion.
After all three first-round quarterbacks started the opener, two more were forced into action because of injuries this week, with Aidan O’Connell getting the nod for the Raiders and Dorian Thompson-Robinson for the Browns.
This marked just the third season since the 1970 merger when at least five rookie quarterbacks started in the same week this early in the season, with it also happening in 2012 and 2021.
While Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, O’Connell and Thompson-Robinson all ended up on the losing side, No. 2 overall draft pick C.J. Stroud extended the solid start to his career.
Stroud threw for 306 yards and two TDs to lead Houston to its second straight win, 30-6 over Pittsburgh. Stroud’s 1,212 yards are the second-most ever for a player in his first four games — trailing only Cam Newton’s 1,386 in 2011 for Carolina — but it’s his ability to protect the ball that might be most impressive.
Stroud joined Brock Purdy and Joshua Dobbs as the only quarterbacks this season to start all four games and not throw an interception.
Stroud is now part of a far more elite group, joining Aaron Rodgers (2020), Patrick Mahomes (2018 and ’19), Drew Brees (2018), Tom Brady (2015 and ’17) and Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players to throw for at least 1,200 yards with no interceptions in the first four games of the season.
It hasn’t been as easy for the four other rookie quarterbacks with Young ranking in the bottom five in passer rating and yards per attempt and O’Connell and Thompson-Robinson looking overmatched in their first starts.
Richardson has been better, with three touchdown passes and four TD runs in three games.
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