Thursday, February 22, 2024

TNF: Nick Chubb has a monster game, leads Browns to victory

The Cleveland Browns seemed to really get it going on Thursday Night beating the Cincinnati Bengals on NFL Network and Sky Sports’ Thursday Night Football, something that didn’t happen in Baltimore on Sunday. Cleveland came into the game needing to show what they’re really made of, having been demolished by the Ravens last week.

They achieved the bounceback through Nick Chubb, who rushed 22 times for 124 yards and 2 TD’s, averaging 5.6 yards per carry on TNF. The 2018 second-round pick is really establishing himself as one of the league’s premier running backs and fantasy football starters. I was lucky to pick Chubb up at 9 in one of my fantasy leagues which looks like a steal when Kevin Stefanski is going to lean on him, over Baker Mayfield’s passing game when playcalling

The third-year QB, out of Oklahoma only completed 53% of his passes at M&T Bank Stadium, something we saw quite a bit last year, with the former number 1 overall pick having games with a completion rate as low as 36%. After having a strong rookie year in 2018, the Browns’ signal-caller has had four head coaches in four years and has seen his play decline massively. I like Baker, he was my Number 1 QB’ coming out of college in 18′, ahead of Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold. Darnold’s career hasn’t really taken off either, Jackson’s on the other hand…

Cleveland underperformed last year, after a lot of pre-season hype. They were the destroyers of their own destiny, after ‘believing the hype’ and falling to a 7-9 record instead of being playoff contenders. They will be looking to pull off an upset and win the AFC North ahead of Baltimore and the Pittsburgh Steelers, starting with a win in Cincinnati on TNF.

Game Breakdown – TNF – Bengals @ Browns

The Bengals began the game in good field position, after a 42-yard kickoff return from Brandon Wilson. On the first play from scrimmage, Joe Burrow targeted AJ Green around 33 yards downfield. The two connected for an initial catch, but after it was revealed Green was out of bounds meaning that call was overturned.

After that was brought back, the very next play goes for a first after Burrow connected with Tyler Boyd on a slant route for 11. The Bengals picked up 4 yards on the next couple plays, meaning they were about to face a 3rd & 6. Cincinnati’s rookie Quarterback, Burrow, scrambled for the first down, gaining 7.

3 plays later they were facing another 3rd down, this time a couple of yards away from the second orange chain. This time however, the Ohio outfit couldn’t pick up the first down after their running back Joe Mixon was blown up in the backfield by Sheldon Richardson.

Bengals HC, Zac Taylor decided to go for it on 4th & 4 and got the first down after an 8-yard completion to Tyler Boyd. A CJ Uzomah grab then put them into the RedZone. Two more plays followed, which yet again ended up with Cincinnati facing third down.

On 3rd&6, Burrow was sacked by Adrian Clayborn which put a halt on the Bengals’ first drive. Randy Bullock came onto the field for a FG attempt, which he then put away, giving Cinci a 3-0 lead.

Mayfield, Chubb and the LSU pairing of OBJ and Landry braced the field next. Baker’s first throw was a 9-yard play-action pass to Jarvis Landry on 1st &10. The very next play saw the same play to the right, which resulted in a 26-yard reception from KhaDarel Hodge.

2 snaps later, Austin Hooper pulled in an 11-yard catch and run on an in-route. He was pushed out of pounds by William Jackson at the Cincinnati 28. A 6 yard rush by Nick Chubb got Cleveland to the 11, after a few penalties were followed by small gains.

The Browns elected to run Chubb again straight away, which proved to be a good decision as he rushed to his right for a TD. Cody Parkey’s extra point was good, putting Cleveland up 3-7.

After the second quarter began, the Bengals couldn’t get anything out of their next drive, as a Sheldon Richardson sack lead to a 2nd&19 and then 3rd&7. On third down, Burrow tried to call for a timeout but wasn’t awarded it creating miscommunication between himself and his center. Trey Hopkins snapped the ball, which then rolled back a fair few yards. Luckily the Heismann Trophy winner landed on the pigskin to prevent an unfortunate turnover.

With the ball back in Baker Mayfield’s hands and after a tiny gain on first down, the Browns were then facing a 2nd &9. A Nick Chubb rush to the right picked up 13.To follow that, Baker dropped a 43-yard deep ball into the hands of Odell Beckham Jr after running play-action to the left. That resulted in a touchdown and a successful extra point from Parkey again. 3-14.

Watson put in another great return for the Bengals, which set them up for a good drive in great field position. They used that to their advantage, marching down the field for a score. CJ Uzomah grabbed a 23 yard ball from Burrow into double coverage for a TD. Bullock’s extra point was good, bringing the game back to within one score. 10-14.

Both teams punted on their next drive, going up to the two minute warning, where Cleveland looked to strike again. They did just that with a 6 yard pass to Kareem Hunt, the Browns’ pass-catching back. OBJ and Hodge both pulled in big gains from Mayfield on the series, this time out of the Shotgun formation. 10-21.

With little time in the half remaining, Burrow lead his side to field goal range to end the 2nd Quarter. Randy Bullock put up another 3 points, leaving the score 13-21 at the half.

Kevin Stefanski’s Browns began the half with the ball picking up a couple of chunk plays. The first was a 21 yard catch and run from Juice Landry on 4th&2. That was then followed by yet another big run from Nick Chubb.

He put up a 23 yard rush between the tackles to the left for a TD. Or was it? Chubb was actually declared short, meaning the call of a touchdown was reversed. Credit to the Bengals defensive line, who managed to stop Cleveland at their goaline in 4 consecutive plays, causing a turnover at the 1.

The next drive was also a disaster for Cincinnati though, after picking up a first down, Burrow was then strip-sacked back to the goaline by Myles Garrett. All Nick Chubb then had to do was punch it in at the 1-yard line. He finally did that, this time at the first time of asking, leaving the score 13-28 after the extra point.

The Bengals had to rely on Bullock again to make the score 16-28, failing to get the run game going. That being said, Joe Burrow was looking pretty good in only his second NFL start. He’s one for the future.

Back to the match report, the fourth quarter began in the middle of the next Browns drive. Rookie Tight End Harrison Bryant picked up 14 yards with an impressive play, which was followed by 27 yards in 3 rushes from Hunt. All the yardage was undone however, as William Jackson picked off Baker by the goaline. The intermediate effort was intended for Bryant.

This was a bit of a momentum shifter for Cincinnati, who went on a 14 play, 69-yard drive in 5 minutes. The series was completed with a Mike Thomas touchdown and Bullock extra point. 23-28

Going into the final few minutes, the Bengals defense needed a stop to bring the game to an exciting finish whilst Cleveland needed to run the clock down and secure the victory. That meant that the next Browns drive would be incredibly run-heavy. Something which the Cinci defense couldn’t stop. Within two minutes they were in the endzone again, after a few big gains from both of Cleveland’s backs. 23-35.

A late Tyler Boyd 9 yard TD wouldn’t be enough to get the Bengals back in the game, final score Cincinnati 30-35 Cleveland.

Stats – TNF – Bengals @ Browns

CIN – Joe Burrow37/613163090.6
CLE – Baker Mayfield16/2321921110.6
CLE – Nick Chubb221245.6262
CLE – Kareem Hunt10868.6333
CIN – Joe Mixon16462.990
CIN – Joe Burrow7192.770
CLE – Baker Mayfield351.780
CIN – Giovanni Bernard133.030
CLE – Odell Beckham Jr.4/67418.5431
CIN – Tyler Boyd7/87210.3171
CLE – Jarvis Landry3/34615.3210
CIN – Drew Sample7/9456.4100
CIN – CJ Uzomah4/64210.5231
CIN – Joe Mixon4/44010.0180
CLE – Khaderrel Hodge2/23919.5260
CIN – Tee Higgins3/63511.7180
CIN – Mike Thomas4/4317.8141
CIN – AJ Green3/13299.7150
CLE – Austin Hooper2/42211.0110
CIN – Giovani Benard5/7224.460
CLE – Kareem Hunt2/2157.591
CLE – Harrison Bryant1/21414.0140
CLE – Nick Chubb1/199.090
CIN – John Ross III0/200.000
CLE – Andy Janovich1/100.000

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