The Cleveland Browns moved into their bye week with a lot of momentum after beating the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Browns offense ran as smoothly and efficiently as it has all season. Quarterback Baker Mayfield had as many touchdowns as incompletions, posting three touchdowns and just three incompletions. But, the biggest headliner on the offense may have been running back Nick Chubb.
Chubb had a huge day for the Browns. He carried the ball 20 times for 176 yards and a touchdown, while also adding a receiving touchdown. The 176 yards are the most rushing yards he has had in his rookie season so far.
So, were the elements that led to Nick Chubb’s big day in the run game? Well, in today’s Browns film room, I will take a look at the main elements that helped Chubb put out his best performance of the year. Take a look!
One of Chubb’s best assets is his explosive jump cut. He quickly can stop his momentum in one direction and then explode off both feet to another direction. He avoids defenders and finds open lanes using this skill set. Here are a couple plays where he shows off his jump cutting ability.
Chubb takes the handoff and is immediately met by a defender on the right side of the line. To avoid the defender, Chubb stops and plants both his feet to jump cut to the left. This move avoids the defender, but the running back then explodes off the cut and heads back to the right through the hole. This jump cut allows him to gain a big 20-yard gain. The play also showed off his vision to find the hole when the blocking does not shows itself from the start.
Chubb takes the handoff and is supposed to go to the right, but the inside linebacker crashes down and fills the hole on the right. Chubb stops and sees his blocking set up. So, his jump cuts back to the left where the hole is formed behind two of his blockers. The jump cut allows him to hit the gap and pick up an eight-yard gain.
What makes Chubb an even better back is his power and strength. He has the ability to break arm tackles with ease and run through defenders to extend the play. When he is about to go down, he can stay up a bit longer than most to add a yard or two to the end of the run. Here are some examples from Sunday illustrating his power and strength.
This play was not blocked well. Chubb receives the handoff for the outside run and almost immediately has to stop to allow his blocking to develop. It develops a little, so the running back decides to head into the line. However, the blocking does not hold up and so Chubb is grabbed at the line of scrimmage. Even, though he is met at the line, Chubb is able to keep his legs churning and to pull off three yards. His strength and power allowed the play to get at least something positive.
This is another play where Chubb uses his strength to gain yards after contact. Chubb gets the handoff and heads to the right, but he has to cut back to the left when the right gets shut down. When he heads around the left edge, he is met by a defender, who tries to take him down. But, Chubb easily shakes the defender off and continues downfield. Another defender closes on him and grabs him to try and bring him down. The running back stays upright and runs a couple more yards before that defender and another defender finally tackles him. He had to do a lot to get this 10-yard gain.
What makes Chubb special is his explosive speed that he adds to the rest of his arsenal. Early on in his Georgia career, Chubb showed this explosive speed. But after a severe knee injury early in his college career, his explosive speed was affected negatively. That is until now. Chubb has shown off his track speed that makes him a home run threat on any play. He can explode off cuts and quickly get to his top speed. He can use his speed to beat angles that should have gotten him tackled. Here are some examples of his explosive speed in Sunday’s victory.
This play was the best example of Chubb’s speed. He takes the handoff and heads to the gap that formed on the left end of the line. He burst through it untouched and is then able to outrun the angle of the safety to run past the safety’s tackle attempt and into the open field. The rest of the play is just pure speed to run past the entire defense and all the way for a 92-yard touchdown. He showed off his homerun speed.
This is another example of his explosive speed. I illustrated earlier about his jump cut in this play, but his explosive speed is also on display. When Chubb jump cuts to left, he lands and then explodes back to the right through the hole. He shows off his ability to quickly get going and his speed causes the Falcons defenders to be late to try and tackle him. This leaves them to dive and have to try to arm tackle Chubb, which is no match for the running back’s strength.
Chubb combines all his physical abilities with his superb vision. He follows his blocks well and knows where his blocking will be on each play. He can find holes when they are just developing. And when he sees something, he does not hesitate to hit the lane. The vision of the running back is key to helping him show off his physical attributes. Here are some examples of his great vision.
I focused on Chubb’s strength in this play earlier, but it is now time to appreciate his vision in the play. Chubb is shut off twice in this play, but he somehow still pulls off a successful run. The run is supposed to go in the middle of the line, but Chubb sees a defender penetrating and showing in the middle of the line. The running back then tries to go to the right, but he is met by an unblocked defender. Chubb then sees his backside lane opening, so he cuts back to the left, where he is able to break out for a ten-yard gain. He uses his vision to quickly diagnose his blocking and to react accordingly before he can get stopped. His vision to reaction time is so fast.
This is an example of Chubb following his blocking and not trying to do too much. He takes the handoff to the left and reads his lead blocker and the defender on the blocker is about to take on. The defender goes a big wide and away from the interior of the line, so Chubb cuts inside of the lead blocker. He also saw the left side of the offensive line pushing their defenders into the second level of the defense, making it more enticing for him to cut inside. The blocking on the right crashed down and limited the length of the run, but overall it was a quality four-yard run due to Chubb reading his blocks well and quickly hitting what he saw.
But, Chubb cannot be solely appreciated for his big day against the Falcons. The Browns run blocking was really good. The Browns offensive line and extra blockers did well to open up lanes for the running back. Here are some plays from Sunday that show off the good blocking by the Browns.
This play is an outside zone run play to the left. The blocking really sets up well. As the offensive line flows to the left, the inside of the wall forms from the block of left guard Joel Bitonio. On the outside of the wall, left tackle Greg Robinson and tight end Darren Fells push their defenders outside to help create a big hole on the left side. Chubb runs through the hole and is not touched till he is four yards down the field. The good blocking helps Chubb get a nice 5-yard gain on this first down play.
This is an inside run play for Chubb. The ball is snapped and key blocks come from left guard Joel Bitonio and center J.C. Tretter. Bitonio blocks the defensive lineman to his outside, while Tretter takes on the defensive lineman lined up across from him. Tretter is able to turn his defender to the right, walling off the inside of the running lane. Bitonio pushes his defender out to the outside, creating the outside of the lane. The final key block comes from the lead blocker, fullback Orson Charles. Charles enters the hole and takes on the linebacker who was filling the gap. Charles turns the linebacker to the outside, allowing Chubb to run inside of him. The blocking holds up well. Chubb is only grabbed by hands until he is tackled 11 yards downfield.
The highlight of the game versus the Atlanta Falcons is quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield completed 17 of 20 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. He had as many touchdowns as incompletions. He played his best game of the season.
There were no lowlights from their game versus the Atlanta Falcons. The Browns had their best overall team performance of the season.