Winning a football game in the NFL is always a good thing. Winning a football game against a quality team with Super Bowl aspirations is even better. It’s exactly the type of win the Cleveland Browns needed and the combination of Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb delivered.
The Atlanta Falcons were 4-4 entering FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday and only two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Playing in arguably the toughest division in the NFL, Atlanta was desperate for an “easy” win against a dissolving Browns team.
However, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and the rest of the Cleveland Browns had different plans.
The two rookies had career games as the Browns jumped to an early lead and were able to hold it through the finish line.
Mayfield finished with a 151.2 QB rating and completed 17-of-20 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. He also added six rushes for 20 yards, a few converting first downs. Baker looked like a #1 overall pick in Sunday’s win and was sure to spread the ball around. Nine different players had receptions against the Falcons and it kept the defense on their toes.
This is the kind of game you want from Mayfield and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has made it a priority to do two things:
- Protect Baker Mayfield at all costs.
- Slow the game down and orchestrate a plan to your offense’s (Mayfield’s) strengths.
Chubb on the other hand displayed phenomenal patience and vision, bursting through a gap once the hole presented itself consistently. His top-level speed was on full-display on his 92-yard touchdown. The long run by Chubb was a Cleveland Browns record for longest carry in franchise history.
Nick Chubb. GONE!!
The 35th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft finished the game with 20 carries for 176 yards and a touchdown while adding three receptions for 33 yards and another score. Chubb’s 8.8 yards per carry says it all as he dominated the Falcons throughout Sunday’s beating.
Early on in the season, Chubb’s touches were limited due to a crowded backfield that included veteran Carlos Hyde. Amid Hyde’s departure last month, Chubb has taken the lead in the backfield and has taken full advantage of it.
The other man in the backfield, Duke Johnson Jr., has also seen his role increase recently. Johnson came off one of his best performances last week against the Kansas City Chiefs and had another productive day on Sunday. Duke finished with three carries for 15 yards but also reeled in a team-high four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown.
The offense has found its stride and they didn’t hesitate in taking a large leap against a solid Atlanta Falcons team on Sunday. Interim head coach Gregg Williams seemingly has motivated his team despite the drama created by former employee’s Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. On top of that, first-time offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has the offensive unit playing as if they’ve been together for several seasons. Now they must prove they can do it on a consistent basis.
The Browns seek their first back-to-back victories after their bye week against the Cincinnati Bengals. It just so happens that the Bengals hired Hue Jackson as the Special Assistant to the Head Coach, so Cleveland will have a little extra motivation coming out of the bye.
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