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Holy Chubb! Hey Cleveland Browns fans, wasn’t that fun!!! – Terry Pluto

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 9/18/2020 By Terry Pluto, cleveland.com
a group of football players playing a football game: Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb looks for a hole on a rush pursued by Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Vonn Bell in the first quarter, September 17, 2020, at FirstEnergy Stadium. © John Kuntz, cleveland.com/John Kuntz, cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb looks for a hole on a rush pursued by Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Vonn Bell in the first quarter, September 17, 2020, at FirstEnergy Stadium.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – So this is what the Cleveland Browns fans can expect from their team’s new offense.

Run the ball.

In the name of Nick Chubb, give the ball to the Browns running back. He is a remarkable combination of bullish power with a ballet dancer’s knack of making sharp cuts and changing direction. Put 124 yards in 24 carries next to his name/

In the name of Baker Mayfield, watch the quarterback play with comfort, confidence and a sense of security thanks to his blockers and his play caller. He had one interception. But otherwise, Mayfield looked so much better than in many his games in 2019.

In the name of Odell Beckham, how about that 43-yard catch from Mayfield? How about the receiver fitting into this balanced offense, at least on this fun Thursday night?

In the name of Kareem Hunt, did you see how he took over the running game from Chubb and the Willoughby South product wore down the Bengals. He bolted for 86 yards in 10 carries.

Now, the numbers that really count: Final score, Browns 35, Cincinnati 30.

LOVES THOSE BACKS

That sigh of relief you hear is coming from the Browns front office and new head coach Kevin Stefanski. This was the offense they imagined when assembling the team and putting together a play book.

It helped erase some of the embarrassment from Sunday’s 38-6 loss to Baltimore. In that game, almost nothing went right for the Browns.

Also serving as the play-caller as well as head coach, Stefanski didn’t have the same commitment to the running game as he did Thursday.

The difference was so obvious Thursday.

By the time Hunt scored on a 2-yard TD with 3:55 left, the Browns had a 35-23 lead. At that point, Chubb and Hunt each had a pair of touchdowns. They had combined for 210 yards rushing.

Most Browns fans love the running game and running backs. They now that the best running-back combination the in the NFL.

The dynamic running game helped Mayfield.

The defense had to pay attention to backs, and that helped Mayfield go 4-of-5 passing for 87 yards on play-action passing.

Those stats from ESPN indicate the Browns should use those fakes to the running backs followed by passes to wide open receivers.

AS FOR THE DEFENSE

Like most things with the Browns, there were a lot of good things about this victory...but it wasn’t easy.

The Browns defense has issues and that’s probably going to be the case all season. They have five starters hurt. Other than on the defensive line, there’s not much talent on that side of the ball for the orange helmets.

Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow had an eye-popping performance. The LSU product was 37-of-61 passing for 316 yards. He made life miserable for the Browns defense most of the night.

But there was one key play by the Browns defense that help avoid a Bengals upset.

Early in the third quarter, the Browns had the ball on the Cincinnati 1-yard line.

First & goal.

Four plays later, the Browns failed to score. It looked like the Browns flops near the goal line a year ago.

I thought of Kevin Stefanski’s words after last Sunday’s loss to Baltimore: “We did a lot things losing teams do.”

And they were ready to do it again in this Thursday night nationally televised game against the Bengals.

The Bengals took over.

Then the Browns defense came through, Myles Garrett rushing Burrow. As the QB dropped to pass, Garrett slapped the ball out of Burrow’s hands. The Browns recovered the fumbled on the 1-yard line.

This time, Chubb scored the TD.

He steadied the Browns ship in what was become a very stormy situation.

The Browns defense did hold Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon to 46 yards in 16 carries. The running back had 308 yards against the Browns in two games in 2019.

While the night belonged the Stefanski’s offense, the Browns defense at least did a few things to make sure the team didn’t drop to 0-2 to open the season.

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