NFL rookie QB tracker -- C.J. Stroud stays sharp in Week 4

ByBrianna Williams ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The NFL's newest signal-callers made strides in Week 4.

After missing Week 3 with injuries, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson returned under center for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts, respectively. Meanwhile,C.J. Stroud continued to impress as one of the league's top quarterbacks -- and not just among rookies. Aidan O'Connell joined the group as he made his first NFL start for the Las Vegas Raiders in the absence of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Only one quarterback in the quartet exited Week 4 in the win column. Here's how Young, Stroud, Richardson and O'Connell fared:

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 1

Game result: 20-17 loss vs. Minnesota Vikings

Stat line: 25-for-32, 204 passing yards, 0 passing TD, 0 INT, 17.4 QBR

Young lost four games in his two seasons as the Alabama Crimson Tide's starting quarterback. The Panthers have matched that mark through their first four games of the season.

His average of 4.9 yards per pass attempt this season, is above only Joe Burrow (4.8) as the league's only two quarterbacks to average fewer than five yards per pass attempt this season.

Read more: At 0-4, Panthers' offense, rookie Bryce Young are failing each other

He had a fumble in the third quarter that was forced by Harrison Smith and returned by D.J. Wonnum for a 51-yard touchdown.

Young acknowledged his costly misstep shifted Carolina's momentum after the game.

"Turning the ball over is something we talk about a lot," he said. "That was a huge, huge, huge swing in the game. And again, that's solely, single-handedly on me."

Up next: Young's next opportunity for his first win will be against the Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET, Fox).

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 2

Game result:30-6 win at Pittsburgh Steelers

Stat line: 16-for-30, 306 passing yards, two passing TDs, 0 INTs, 76.5 QBR

Stroud has solidified his status as the league's premier rookie passer with a strong showing against Pittsburgh. Through four games, his 151 pass attempts without an interception ranks third to begin a career in NFL history. He trails only Cam Newton's 2011 season for most pass yards through four games with 1212 yards.

Read more: Texans rookie QB C.J. Stroud continues to rewrite history in win over Steelers

Houston entered Sunday with a record of 0-9-1 in its past 10 home games, making this the team's first home win since Week 16 in 2021.

Up next: Stroud and the Texans can extend their winning streak to three with a victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday (1 p.m. | Fox).

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 4

Game result: 29-23 (OT) loss vs. Los Angeles Rams

Stat line: 11-for-25, 200 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, two rushing TDs, 0 INTs, 67.2 QBR

In his return, Richardson became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have a rushing touchdown in his first three games. He has four rushing TDs this season, making him the first quarterback with four scores in his first three games.

Richardson and the Colts managed to erase a 23-point deficit to send the game to overtime, where they came up short of a win.

Up next: Richardson has yet to win a game that he finishes, as he exited Indianapolis' Week 2 win in the second quarter due to injury. His next chance to change that will be on Sunday (1 p.m. | CBS) in his first game against the Tennessee Titans.

Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

2023 draft selection: Round 4, Pick 135

Game result: 17-24 loss vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Stat line: 24-for-39, 238 passing yards, 0 passing TD, 1 INT, 8.2 QBR

O'Connell dazzled in his three-game preseason showing, completing 43 of 62 passes for 482 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. However, Khalil Mack and the Chargers defense disrupted the rookie early often in his first NFL start.

He was sacked seven times and turned the ball over three times -- two fumbles and one interception.

"A lot to correct and we're going to do that this week. ... I think the magnitude of each play is really what I'm learning. And what I learned today is how important each play is, how important each drive is, and having to just do my job on each play."

Up next: If Garoppolo remains in the concussion protocol, O'Connell could be under center for a primetime matchup against the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football" (8:15 p.m. | ABC).