Growth on Offense Still Rooted in Nick Chubb's Impact
The Cleveland Browns had their biggest day on offense against the Miami Dolphins, scoring 41 points, compiling 467 total yards at an average of 7 yards per play. Baker Mayfield threw for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns, connecting 10 times with Jarvis Landry for 148 yards and a pair of scores. All of this was a welcome sight for an offense that has had trouble scoring more than 20 points in most games, but it was all rooted in the impact of Nick Chubb.
Chubb's 164 total yards on 21 carries and 3 receptions are where the offense begins, but it goes deeper. Chubb's threat as a runner and continuous development as a receiver are opening up the rest of the offense.
When the Browns aren't giving him the ball, they are faking it to him through playaction. Fake tosses, RPOs largely featuring slants, naked rollouts and a handful of straight drops, there aren't many ways to fake to Chubb they haven't utilized. It created passing lanes and enabled some explosive plays, including the 37-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham.
Chubb's such an effective runner that is always a threat to break a big one, opposing linebackers have to be honest to any potential handoff. In the first half against the Dolphins, it contributed to a dominant performance from Mayfield, completing 16 of 18 for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Chubb's also making a case that he should be the team's third receiver. The team seemed to hope it would Antonio Callaway, seem to be unwilling to this point for it to be Rashard Higgins and they're about to get David Njoku back who should be, given his talent.
Nevertheless, Chubb was third in receiving yards against the Dolphins and his ability to execute plays like the wheel out of the backfield make him that much more viable. If they can continue to find ways to utilize him in the passing game that go beyond screens, he only becomes that much more dangerous. His 224 yards receiving are third on the team, which shows how little the Browns are getting after Beckham and Landry.
Baker Mayfield is playing better. Both Beckham and Landry are playing better. Against the Dolphins, they resembled the offense so many were expecting this year. While they are making improvements independent of anything else that bode well for the rest of the season, the offense still starts with Nick Chubb. The more effective they are, the more effective Chubb should be.
Quietly on pace for 1,624 yards rushing and 1,950 total yards overall, he's the engine on offense and the MVP of the team. If they are able to fight their way to being over .500 and push for a playoff spot, Chubb is going to be at the center of it.