The impressive rookie season for CJ Stroud is officially over. However, the young quarterback’s first year in the league was much better than anyone expected. Putting together arguably the best season ever by a rookie quarterback, Stroud led the Houston Texans to the divisional round of the playoffs before ultimately being sent home by the buzzsaw that is the Baltimore Ravens.
A trip to the postseason was only possible for the Texans because they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in a Week 18 win-and-in game. The matchup was Indy’s second time playing CJ Stroud but likely the first of many big matchups between the two teams. In the game, the Colts learned that Stroud is definitely a problem they will have to deal with for years to come.
Indianapolis linebackers Zaire Franklin and EJ Speed detailed that on their podcast The Trenches. Both acknowledged that Stroud was already a really good player, then Franklin went in depth about the play where it really set in that they were facing a special talent. He highlighted the play when Stroud was scrambling around before throwing the ball up, almost as if he was throwing it away, only for the ball to land in the hands of Nico Collins.
Colts and CJ Stroud will battle for years to come
Franklin went on to say that he noticed even back in Week 2, when they first faced off against Stroud, that he didn’t play like a normal rookie, pointing out how Stroud already knows how to deceive defenses with his eyes, shoulders, and drops. In that first game against Indy, Stroud completed 30-of-47 passes for 384 yards and two touchdowns. In the Week 18 meeting, Stroud was 20-of-26 for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
As annoying and frustrating as it may be for the Colts to play CJ Stroud, the team must get prepared for the battle as they’ll be facing off against him and the Texans at least twice a year. Considering how both squads are loaded with a lot of young talent, these games will likely continue to have major implications like the Week 18 one had.