Even by his standards, Nick Chubb has been incredible for Browns so far
It’s not news, but Nick Chubb has been amazing for the Cleveland Browns this season.
He’s not Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Justin Herbert. He doesn’t have a signature touchdown celly, like Jaylen Waddle, and this just in: anybody can do the Waddle, even me (well, sort of).
All of that said, Nick Chubb is always going to go about his business and kill it for the Cleveland Browns.
Currently, Chubb is the NFL’s rushing leader through five games, with 593 yards on 98 attempts, which has equated to 6.1 yards per carry. He’s tacked on seven touchdowns as well, which included a two-touchdown performance in last weekend’s heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, when he amassed 134 rushing yards on 17 carries, and had a spectacular 41-yard TD on the opening drive.
For what it’s worth, that L on Sunday was absolutely not on Chubb, to echo our own John Suchan’s sentiment. Chubb’s had four 100-yard rushing games in five outings, and what has been even more impressive has been his big play ability game-to-game.
As pointed out by Pro Football Focus Fantasy Football on Twitter, Chubb has had 20 runs of 10-plus yards through five games, which has been more than 24 NFL teams. PFF highlighted how Chubb leads the league in missed tackles forced this season as well, with him pacing, and really, lapping the field, with 42.
Even by his standards, Nick Chubb has been incredible for the Browns so far this season.
It’s not news that Chubb is one of, if not, the best running back in the NFL. That’s at least in terms of the rushing element; the pass-catching is an area where one would like to see more progression from him, but it’s difficult for me to be too nitpicky about Chubb’s play here.
The gist here is, while Cleveland should be far from happy with its 2-3 record thus far, it’s again been very apparent that Chubb is just a truly special back. Despite the Browns’ struggles when it comes to the defensive side, closing games this season, or like last week, Cleveland’s inability to win in situational ball, this shouldn’t gloss over Chubb’s otherwordly play.
Now, should Cleveland look to utilize Kareem Hunt some more in the middle stretches of games to preserve Chubb throughout the year? Perhaps that’s an adjustment to look into, as Jared Mueller of Dawgs By Nature seemingly pondered, and to aid the Orange and Brown in finishing games; he and others touched on that in a recent episode of The OBR Filmroom Breakdown, too.
To that point, while Hunt is the better receiving back for late-game situations, Chubb can be an outlet there at times, still, and in instances where Cleveland can mix in some runs in late-drive situations, Chubb can still help Cleveland move further down the field. That’s whether they’re looking to set up more yardage for a Cade York field goal, or more near the red area, such as in that Chargers game last week in the last two Browns drives, for example.
In any case, what’s been evident through five games is that, by and large, Chubb and the Browns’ offensive line have been dominant in the run game overall, and Cleveland will usually be able to lean on that.
Granted, Amari Cooper and David Njoku have fared pretty well with Jacoby Brissett thus far, which has been a positive offensively, even with a few head-scratching plays from time to time from Brissett. That interception last week was awful.
But, Brissett has done a nice job, for the most part, and while Cleveland has asked him to do too much at times in crucial moments, he’s given the Browns a chance typically. And with Chubb starting this year better than any of his other career campaigns to this point, Cleveland’s offense has not usually been the key area of concern.
That’s been the pitiful defense to this point, which needs to be addressing some of their weak points, as DPD’s Kyler Blasing hit on of late.
Regardless, for now, it almost seems as if some are almost taking what Chubb has been doing for granted. That shouldn’t be the case, and if Cleveland steers the ship better in weeks to come and is in the thick of things when Deshaun Watson is back, even with Watson in the fold, we know how Chubb’s presence can still help Watson settle into things a bit more.