Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb guides team to winning ways

(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

Relying on Nick Chubb to shoulder the load, the Cleveland Browns rode the second-year running back to a much-needed victory over the Ravens.

Sunday’s Week 4 win over the Ravens was the performance the Cleveland Browns needed after a tough Week 3 loss to the Rams. The Browns, before Sunday afternoon, won only three times in their last 22 tries against Baltimore. And overall, they had only won in Baltimore four times throughout the course of a 41-game rivalry.

Freddie Kitchens, Steve Wilks, Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb figured out the formula to have success with this Browns team. And they did it after a week of harsh criticism from countless media figureheads and league associates, aimed particularly at Mayfield.

The Browns knocked off the Ravens by a large margin of victory (40-25) and moved themselves into first place in the AFC North, not by flashing all the talent they had around the field on offense like Odell Beckham Jr. or Jarvis Landry and pushing the ball downfield, but by planting the football in Chubb’s hands and letting him work his magic.

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Mayfield has been the primary quarterback of the Browns for 18 games dating back to Week 3 of the 2018 season when he came into the Jets game. His record when he throws the ball 32 times or more is 3-9. When he throws fewer than 32 times, his record is 6-0, including this past Sunday’s game.

That should tell us something about where the Browns are in regards to how they should be game-planning. Against the Ravens, Cleveland gave the ball to Chubb 20 times and he rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns.

What worked well with this team was relying more on Chubb than Mayfield. Yes, the hope is that the quarterback can carry the team more in the future but, as the team looks to establish a winning culture, they have to count on what’s effective right now. And right now, that’s letting Chubb shoulder the load.

Mayfield is just a high-end game-manager right now. What Rex Ryan said about him wasn’t entirely untrue, except for when he called Mayfield “overrated.” Baker is a one-read quarterback right now with a bad offensive line and limited athletic ability to bail himself out of jams. The recipe to avoid that being an issue is quick, one-read passes.

What they found success with this week against the Ravens was using that approach in the passing game but also setting it up and giving Chubb a heavier workload. This team is finding its niche on offense. Whether or not they take advantage of that on a more consistent basis will determine if they’ll sink or swim.

Tough games are coming up for Cleveland with trips to San Francisco and Foxborough and a home game against the Seattle Seahawks in the next three weeks. There’s a chance they lose all three. Having said that, they can push forward and build off of what they showed against Baltimore.

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They proved their talent is not just an aberration, that they can beat really good teams (divisional contenders, no less) and that their defense is stout — even when undermanned. The Browns just need to keep a clear head, take their lumps if they come these next three weeks and not unravel in the process.

For now, though, Cleveland is making progress.