CJ Stroud, the rookie Texans quarterback who defied the odds to make it to the highest echelon of his professional career, has just become the youngest player ever in the position to win an NFL playoff game.
Speaking with ESPN after the Sunday game, Stroud credited God and his steadfast faith with giving him the strength to perform against the Cleveland Browns in a 45-14 blowout.
“Just the time that we put in together, to see the fruits of that labor to come to be, it’s a blessing. Man, I’m just blessed to be a part of this,” he said.
Asked by another reporter what he had written on a wristband heading on to the field, Stroud said it was a reminder of his favorite scripture passage.
“Because Ma’am, I put a lot of stuff but, I put a cross, triple sevens, and then ‘to the glory of God.’ And then I’ll put Proverbs 3:5-6. It is my favorite scripture, made for this.” That verse, for reference, says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
The Texans made their way to the playoffs through a previous 23-19 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Stroud said he wasn’t stressed by being counted out against Gardner Minshew and the 9-7 rivals.
“It’s a blessing … I just thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ man,” Stroud said. “… everybody counted us out from it from the start so, man, it’s just special to see the city of Houston just want to come up again and I’m just blessed enough to be the vessel that Christ picked to lead this great franchise so I can do damage just thank the Lord.”
The title of youngest QB to win a playoff game was previously held by Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons. Asked how he felt about eclipsing his childhood hero, Stroud — who grew up with his father away in prison — said it was once again God who delivered, not him.
“It’s been a heck of a year and I thank God, I can just go another week with my teammates. This is like a dream come true. I’m super blessed to be considered with a great name like Michael Vick, who was my favorite quarterback growing up. And hopefully I can make it two (wins),” he said at the time.
The 22-year-old Stroud, who is the subject of speculation around the NFL’s MVP award, recently told reporters that his leadership, maturity, and inner peace come from a belief that all things are possible through the Lord.
“For me, it’s a lot of prayer. A lot of just knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I can’t handle. I don’t deserve His grace and His mercy, but I still get it and I love Him for that because, I mean, it’s not about me it’s about Him and His glory,” Stroud said.
“I’ve been through a lot, not only in football but things that made me kind of chill when everything’s going crazy, and I thank God for… putting that in me, because that’s something you need playing in this position.”