For all of the drama the Browns have had through the years, they at the very least had Nick Chubb. A pillar for the group since he entered the league 5 years in the past, the working again has offered help in additional methods than one, from his management to his rugged working model that’s revered all through Cleveland and throughout the NFL.
Cleveland took a intestine punch after Chubb was carted off the sector with a extreme leg harm early within the second quarter of Monday evening’s recreation in opposition to the Steelers. The Pittsburgh crowd collectively gasped after watching the replay, however they made certain to precise their help for the four-time Professional Bowler by chanting “Chubb” as he left the sector. Head coach Kevin Stefanski introduced after the sport that Chubb would miss the rest of the season.
There won’t be a extra bodily offensive participant within the league apart from Titans working again Derrick Henry, and he too was devastated by Chubb’s harm, posting heart broken emojis on his social media account.
With Chubb sidelined, the Browns misplaced greater than a Monday Evening Soccer recreation in opposition to the Steelers, who prevailed 26–22. They misplaced their nucleus offensively. His absence will drastically impression Cleveland’s season and pressure Deshaun Watson to lastly play as much as the five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract he signed final yr.
Watson stepped up at occasions within the fourth quarter with just a few spectacular throws, however he had one other rocky efficiency, together with a misplaced fumble that T.J. Watt scooped for a 17-yard landing return with 6:58 left within the fourth that proved to be the game-winning rating. Watson additionally had a possibility for a come-from-behind, game-winning landing drive within the last minutes, however the Browns turned the ball over on downs on Pittsburgh’s 49-yard line. There was, nevertheless, a missed defensive move interference on Watson’s last throw.
The 2 AFC North squads are 1–1 with inconsistent quarterbacks—Kenny Pickett would have had an uglier stat line had he not discovered George Pickens for a 71-yard landing within the first half. Pickett completed 15-of-30 for 222 yards, one landing and one interception. Watson accomplished 22-of-40 passes for 235 yards, one landing and one interception.
Each groups even have dominant defenses to lean on and will probably push for wild-card spots, however they won’t have sufficient offensively to compete with the undefeated Ravens and winless Cincinnati within the division. Sure, the Bengals are 0–2, however they’ve Joe Burrow and have confirmed earlier than they’ll overcome sluggish begins, profitable 12 of their last 14 video games final season.
The Steelers, nevertheless, could be in higher form (regardless of their offensive struggles) as a result of they’ve coach Mike Tomlin, who hasn’t had a dropping report since taking on in Pittsburgh in 2007. The Browns, in the meantime, now not have their constant presence with Chubb sidelined—he has a profession common of 5.3 yards per carry.
Watson has struggled since he joined the Browns final season, however he didn’t have to have the kind of performances that made him a star with the Texans as a result of Chubb was round to interrupt tackles and supply prolonged scampers. Watson was requested to make just a few performs to permit Chubb to see extra working lanes with a balanced assault, as if Watson is a second-year quarterback being requested to do the naked minimal to restrict the rising pains.
Pickett is definitely in his second yr within the league, and he dedicated many errors in opposition to Cleveland’s stout protection. Watson missed a handful of throws, and he’s a three-time Professional Bowler who was as soon as considered as a top-five quarterback after he took the league by storm as a rookie first-round choose in 2017.
The Browns made their mattress after they embarrassed themselves by doing no matter it took to signal Watson, regardless of dealing with greater than two dozen lawsuits on the time, detailing graphic accounts of sexual harrassment and sexual assault. Watson was suspended the primary 11 video games of final season for sexual misconduct.
Since returning, Watson hasn’t been the identical quarterback—he solely accomplished 10-of-21 passes (47.6%) for 102 yards, one landing and one interception throughout the first half in opposition to the Steelers.
The Browns had a dreadful begin with a pick-six on the opening drive and a missed subject purpose on the third drive. On the primary play of the sport, Watson’s move went off the fingertips of Harrison Bryant, who managed to forestall security Minkah Fitzpatrick from catching the ball, however the second bounce discovered edge rusher Alex Highsmith, who returned the interception 30 yards for the landing.
The Steelers’ offense solely ran six performs within the first quarter, together with a head-scratching interception from Pickett, who did not see security Grant Delpit on the slant to Pickens.
However Pickett’s finest throw Monday evening was the 71-yard landing move to Pickens to offer the Steelers a 16–11 lead within the second quarter. Pickett stood within the pocket and rifled the move to the center of the sector earlier than taking a large hit from nostril sort out Dalvin Tomlinson.
Pickett has proven flashes at occasions, and flashes are OK for a second-year quarterback, not for a quarterback as established as Watson. The Browns are going to want an entire lot extra from Watson in the event that they plan to maintain tempo within the AFC North with out Chubb this season.