3 Cleveland Browns who shined on offense in loss to Buffalo

Cleveland Browns, Jacoby Brissett . Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns, Jacoby Brissett . Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns, Nick Chubb
Browns, Nick Chubb. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

1. Nick Chubb was still the focal point

Nick Chubb had a horrible game statistically. However, the Bills are a top-ranked defense (second overall and focused their resources to stop him. They pretty much showed why they are ranked so highly, holding him to 19 yards on 14 carries. The Browns did score 23 points, however, so the Bills did not completely shut down the Browns’ offense.

Still, like it or not, a good defense can probably take one part of the offense away from their opponent, and the Bills keyed on Chubb, just as Miami had done the previous week. However, it cost them as they diverted resources from pass coverage, so perhaps Chubb deserves partial credit for the outstanding statistical day that the passing game has versus the Bills.

A weakened offensive line also contributed to the Browns’ woes on the ground. As mentioned above, the Browns were playing without starting center Ethan Pocic. Tackle Jack Conklin and guard Wyatt Teller were dealing with injuries. The Browns linemen will not use injuries as an excuse. That is definitely the job of the writers, however, and the opinion here is that the offensive line was not nearly at normal strength.

Credit also the Bills for an outstanding effort. It’s a winning organization with a great coaching staff and players who care and play hard.

The poor rushing stats should not be translated to mean that the athlete wasn’t performing. Chubb was still the man, even if the box score does not show it.

Chubb, incidentally, had three catches on three targets for 48 yards, good for third on the team in receiving yards. Not coincidentally, this is the second week in a row that Chubb had three receptions. The halfback pass is a standard countermeasure when the defense keys against the run. Maybe the Browns should try it more often.

Overall in the past two games, they targeted him seven times and gained 66 yards. That’s 9.4 yards every time the quarterback throws the ball to him (or 11.0 yards per catch, if you prefer). Cleveland might benefit by looking at the Steelers’ playbook to figure out how to use the running back as a dual threat (Le’Veon Bell and now Najee Harris).

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt should know all about that from his time in Green Bay, where they specialize in the short pass to running backs to foil the overloaded boxes. This isn’t rocket science. It’s a classic West Coast Offense, that was actually pioneered in Cleveland for the likes of Leroy Kelly and Greg Pruitt. There is nothing wrong with throwing the ball to a destructive running back with 4.4 speed.