C.J. Stroud and every rookie QB to win an NFL playoff game

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C.J. Stroud became the latest rookie QB to win a playoff game for his team. The Houston Texans shellacked the Cleveland Browns, 45-14, and the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft looked terrific.

While we’ll have to wait and see how far Stroud and the Texans go, but for now we can recap all the other first-year signal-callers to notch a postseason victory.

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Wins: 1 (so far)

Result: Won AFC Wild Card (so far)

Stroud continues to impress in his rookie season, throwing for 274 yards against Cleveland in the opening round of this year’s playoffs for a 45-14 victory. He now has to face off against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens for the divisional game.

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Wins: 2

Result: Lost in the NFC Championship game

We all know Purdy’s story of going from Mr. Irrelevant to the starting QB for San Fran, leading them deep into the playoffs. He was injured early in last season’s NFC championship game, and the 49ers Super Bowl hopes went out with him.

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Wins: 1

Result: Lost in NFC divisional round

Dangeruss won his first playoff game against Washington in 2012, helping the Seahawks overcome a 14-point deficit and win 24-14. Wilson couldn’t find the same success against the Falcons in the divisional round.

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Wins: 1

Result: Lost in AFC divisional round

Yates and the Texans beat the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs, but couldn’t get past the Ravens in the AFC divisional game. These two squads face off again for the first time since that day.

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Wins: 2

Result: Lost in AFC championship

The Jets had some close playoff games against Cincinnati and San Diego before Sanchez had to square off against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Sanchez had led the offense to an 11-point lead in the first half, but that wasn’t enough of a cushion to outduel the Sheriff.

Image for article titled C.J. Stroud and every rookie QB to win an NFL playoff game

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Wins: 2

Result: Lost in the AFC Championship

Stroud joined Flacco on this list by beating the 39-year-old in the Wild Card Round last week. Back in ‘08, Flacco helped guide the Ravens past Miami and Tennessee before falling flat against the Steelers in the conference title game.

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Wins: 1

Result: Lost in AFC Championship

Big Ben beat the New York Jets in the divisional round, but couldn’t run through Tom Brady, who won his second Super Bowl ring that year with the Pats.

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Wins: 1

Result: Lost NFC championship

Brooks made history for being the first rookie QB to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs in the playoffs when he and the Saints beat the Rams. It was also New Orleans’ first playoff win in team history.

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Wins: 1

Result: Lost in NFC championship

King became QB1 for the Bucs in the middle of the season after starter Trent Dilfer sustained a season-ending injury. He led Tampa Bay to the NFC championship game after beating Washington. The Bucs lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs, the “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams.

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Wins:

Result: Lost in the NFC championship

While technically a rookie, Brock was 34 at the time, having come to the NFL after a decade in the Canadian Football League. Brock and the Rams made it to the NFC championship game before getting shut out by the Bears, the eventual Super Bowl champions. (Brock wasn’t the oldest rookie ever; Otis Douglas made his NFL debut at 35 in 1946.)

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Wins: 1

Result: Lost in NFC divisional round

Drafted in the seventh round, Haden was the third string QB for the Rams. After being thrust into the starting role, he helped beat the Cowboys before L.A. fell to the Vikings in the next round.

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