ARLINGTON, Texas – The Browns lost Nick Chubb to a knee injury Sunday with 1:08 left in the first quarter. Their replacement – who isn’t much of a replacement and is a former racing champion at Kareem Hunt – was on the injury report during the week with a groin injury and was clearly not 100%, depending on its workload.
So how did the Browns treat? They rushed for 307 yards, the most in the NFL since 2009 and the most ever allowed by the Cowboys.
Even if you want to be a downer and take away Odell Beckham’s 73 rushing yards and Baker Mayfield’s 6, they still got 228 yards from their backs and two touchdowns.
“Thank you to the players,” said Browns coach Kevin Stefanski. “There were different racing programs there. There were different guys holding the rock. I think Coach (Bill) Callahan (offensive line) is doing an amazing job in developing the plan, and all the coaches are really contributing to it. I stuck with the plan and had explosive races, but the players merit.
Chubb was also hurting himself when he injured himself. He carried it six times for 43 yards, breaking 7.2 yards per carry. With Hunt injured, it was Chubb’s day. Hunt only carried the ball once in the first quarter. Then Chubb fell when an offensive lineman curled up on his leg during a passing game and was initially listed as doubtful to come back before being ruled out at halftime.
“We just don’t know (his status),” Stefanski said. “We won’t know until we have this MRI.”
No worries, it turns out. The Browns attacked with the three-headed Hunt monster D’Ernest Johnson and Dontrell Hilliard, the three fullbacks combining to carry the ball 28 times for 177 yards in the final three quarters of the game.
It was Johnson who got most of the workload, going 13 times for 95 yards. Hunt carried 11 times for 71 yards and Hilliard had 19 yards on five carries.
“I call (Johnson) ‘Slow Grind’ because he takes it slow, and he always works hard,” Hunt said. “D’Ernest is a hard worker and he really deserves it. I was just happy for him.
“I’m so proud of these guys who stepped up, but it says a lot about our offensive line, too,” said quarterback Baker Mayfield. “This whole group as a unit, they take great pride in running the ball and establishing this running game as we talk about all the time. Our guys ran extremely hard.
Sunday marked the third time the Browns have rushed over 150 yards on team this season and the second time over 200. It was, again, their bread and butter, and it was the definition of everything. the world. Three players, including Beckham, had over 70 rushing yards.
The Browns have used their first four games to find their identity and this is one rooted in… well… the field.
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