SEC speed on Saturdays? Nah. Ohio State Buckeyes speed? Nah.
On Sundays, it’s considered Cleveland Browns’ speed, at least so far this season. With former SEC players such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Nick Chubb donning the brown and orange, that SEC speed has carried into the NFL and our favorite NFL team has benefited greatly from it. The Browns have had quite a few ups and downs through the first four games of the season, but with Sunday’s performance in Baltimore, the Browns proved that they can compete with the big boys in the AFC North and most importantly, truly be in the mix for the divisional crown even if they had plenty of low points throughout much of the first three games of the season. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, both sides have shown plenty of promise while the rookie kicker and punter continue to dominate in their own respective ways.
When the offense does play well, a huge reason has been their playmaking ability paired with their speed. We all know how fast Odell Beckham Jr. is. He has proven that time and time again. During Week 2’s win over the Jets in New York, the Pro Bowler showcased his speed after catching a short pass from Baker Mayfield and taking it to the house for an 89-yard touchdown.1 It was his breakaway speed that made it easy to do so. In fact, his 21.70-mile per hour sprint speed was the fastest sprint speed on a touchdown through the first two weeks of the season. It capped off one heckuva game for the first-year Brown, finishing with six catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2019
On Sunday in Baltimore, it was Chubb showing off his wheels. In 2015, the running back suffered a devastating knee injury, one in which he tore the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral) and LCL (lateral collateral) while at Georgia. Four years later, Chubb has not only overcome that injury but proved that he can outrun defenders and still has that breakaway speed that every big-time playmaker needs.
On the first play after the Ravens scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion to make it a six-point game with just under 10 minutes left, the former Georgia standout showed off his wheels. After finding a hole in the defense, Chubb used his speed and made it look quite easy on an 88-yard touchdown, the longest ever run against the Ravens. In fact, that breakaway speed was exactly 21.95 miles per hour, the fastest touchdown by any player so far this season.
With Baltimore’s crowd back in the game and quite loud, those cheers quickly turned into silence. It was all because of Chubb.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 29, 2019
Nick Chubb reached 21.95 MPH on this 88-yard TD run, the fastest speed reached on a touchdown this season.@NickChubb21 sustained 21+ MPH for 44.4 yards, from the Browns 33 yard line to the Ravens 21 yard line.#CLEvsBAL | #Browns pic.twitter.com/AARpBPGS3H
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 29, 2019
It was his third touchdown of the game, capping off one of his most dominant performances since being drafted by the Browns in 2018. On the day, the second-year running back had 20 carries for 165 yards and three touchdowns. When the offense needed him the most, Chubb stepped up, making things much easier for Mayfield as well. That’s all you can ask for.
Chubb and Beckham are now responsible for not only the first- and third-fastest sprint speeds on a touchdown so far this season, but the second- and fifth-fastest sprint speeds overall. That game-changing speed will not only be something that Freddie Kitchens will look to use going forward, but it’s something that will make things much easier for Mayfield as well. He knows that he can just give it to his skill players and they will make plays. Those playmakers have already proven that to be the case.
Both these big-time plays came on the road when the Browns offense needed a big play and a spark. Cleveland might be 0-2 at home, but they are a perfect 2-0 on the road for the first time since 1994. Heading into Week 5, their 2-2 record also puts them tied atop the AFC North for the first time since 2005. The next few weeks will be difficult given the schedule, but if playmakers such as OBJ and Chubb continue to make plays, it will make things much easier for the Browns offense.
The team as a whole proved that they can not only compete with one of the top teams in the NFL but that they can beat them at their place as well. The playmaking ability on both sides of the ball has helped a lot, but the speed is something that can’t be taught. The Browns have made the most of theirs so far. It’s vitally important that they continue to do so going forward. Speed kills, y’all.