NFL rookie QB tracker Week 13: Stroud earns big win

ByKalan Hooks ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A pair of rookie quarterbacks took some bumps in Week 13 while one continued to excel.

Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers fought against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but came up short. Will Levis and the Tennessee Titans fell in overtime against the Indianapolis Colts, while C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans earned a needed victory over the Denver Broncosashe continues to make his case for NFL Rookie of the Year.

Here's more on how the trio performed in Week 13:

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 1

Game result: 21-18 loss vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stat line: 15-for-31, 178 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 18.8 QBR

Still winless on the road, Young and the Panthers came close against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Young continued to be under pressure, getting sacked once for a loss of 8 yards. He has been sacked 44 times this season, the fourth-most through a player's first 11 career games since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

After just three points in the first half, Young led Carolina to a seven-play, 65-yard third-quarter drive that ended with a touchdown run by Chuba Hubbard, putting the Panthers in front by three points.

In the fourth quarter, Young followed up Hubbard's second touchdown of the day with a successful 2-point conversion, spinning his way into the end zone.

However, with a chance to win the game, Young took a few steps back. He threw an interception with 2:21 remaining to seal Carolina's fifth straight loss, eliminating the Panthers from postseason play.

Up next:Young and the Panthers travel to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday with hopes of winning their first away game.

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 2

Game result: 22-17 vs. Denver Broncos

Stat line: 16-for-27, 274 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 17.0 QBR

The Texans dominated the Broncos on both sides of the ball to produce a second-quarter 13-0 lead that wouldn't be relinquished.

Stroud connected with Nico Collins for a 52-yard catch in the first quarter -- the deepest completion of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Stroud exited the game briefly in the fourth quarter but returned to finish. He still leads the NFL in passing yards with 3,540, completing over 63% of his passes.

Up next: Stroud and the Texans will attempt to build on their winning streak Sunday when they face the New York Jets.

Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

2023 draft selection: Round 2, Pick 33

Game result: 28-38 loss vs.Indianapolis Colts

Stat line: 16-for-33, 224 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 27.8 QBR

The Titans got off to a hot start against the Colts, scoring on their opening drive after going 15 consecutive games without an opening-drive touchdown, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Levis' start included a play that almost went the wrong way. What would have been a fumble by the rookie that the Colts recovered turned into a defensive play for the quarterback. Levis stripped the ball from Julian Blackmon to force a fumble, recovering it to regain possession.

Down 25-19 with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, Levis zipped a 3-yard pass into the end zone toDeAndre Hopkins. Both teams failed to score the rest of the quarter, leading to overtime.

Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew threw a game-winning touchdown to Michael Pittman Jr. in the extra frame, handing the Titans their eighth loss of the season.

Up next:Levis and the Titans will take on the Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football."

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