The Browns rushing attack, not Baker Mayfield, was the key to their win over the Bengals.
Yes, Mayfield had a bit of a bounceback. After an awful Week 1 performance against the Ravens, the third-year quarterback was improved with 219 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2.
The fact of the matter is, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were the lynchpins in the win and they should be the focal point of the offense going forward.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were the real stars of the Browns’ win over the Bengals.
Nick Chubb’s first touchdown run was like watching an 18-wheeler barrel through a highway full of stalled cars in a zombie movie. He finished with a hard-earned 124 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
He should get that kind of work every week, not the 10 carries he was thrown in the Week 1 loss to Baltimore.
The same goes for Kareem Hunt, who was an excellent change of pace to Chubb on Thursday with 10 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown of his own on the ground and another through the air.
Last week, Chubb and Hunt combined for 28 touches and the Browns were trounced while Mayfield struggled. On Thursday, the two had 35 touches and Cleveland won with a controlled performance by the quarterback. It’s not rocket science to see what works and why.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are great. The former caught four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. The latter had three catches for 46 yards. They did their part. But they’re not a good enough reason to put the two-headed rushing attack of Chubb and Hunt on the backburner in favor of a Mayfield-led passing attack.
The big takeaway from the Browns’ Thursday night win is simple: Emphasize the running game.