CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb enters the final three weeks of the 2019 regular season as the leading rusher in the National Football League, but even his teammates in the locker room have not heard him talk about it being a goal.
Chubb has talked a lot about wanting to have success with the team, not just as an individual, and while those are just words to some, his teammates believe that to be true of the second-year running back.
“He wouldn’t tell you he does if he does,” offensive lineman Joel Bitonio said when asked if Chubb is striving to lead the league in rushing. “I work out with him every Wednesday morning, and just the same quiet guy, hasn’t said a word about it.
“You hear guys say, ‘All I want is the team to win. All I want is team success,’ and I’m willing to bet Nick truly does want just team success and he would trade wins and everything for yards and touchdowns and it’s a credit to him, man. You get a team of 53 Nick Chubbs, you’re going to be doing something right.”
Chubb has turned his 253 rushing attempts into 1,281 yards and seven touchdowns with 53 first downs, nine 20-yard gains and four 40-yard rushes and has committed only two turnovers, both in a loss at New England in late October.
Also, Chubb has proven able to make plays catching the ball out of the backfield, too, as he has 32 catches for 256 yards with 12 first downs and four 20-yard plays.
Chubb rattled off a 57-yard run that set up a touchdown in last Sunday’s 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
“Most of the time, I’m like, ‘Get in the endzone,’ but he does a good job of getting as many yards as are there if not more,” Bitonio said. “He’s just explosive. You see his size, you see his power and you see his breakaway speed, and I don’t think people are ready for that, even if they’ve watched it on tape before.”
Currently, Chubb leads the NFL in rushing yards and carries, as well as average per attempt (5.06 yards) and game (98.5 yards), has the league’s second-longest run of the season (88 yards), the third-most total scrimmage yards and ranks seventh in first down conversions.
Chubb is the first running back in Browns history to record 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two NFL seasons, and that is no small feat, given that several former Cleveland rushers (Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, Bobby Mitchell, Marion Motley) are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“It would be cool, man,” Bitonio said of Chubb leading the league in rushing at season’s end. “Talk about a guy that deserves something like that, get some credit where it’s due. He’s the same guy every day, runs his tail off, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t complain, just does his job, I’d be really excited for him.
“That would be something you could look back on some day and be like, ‘Man, we got Nick Chubb a rushing title.’ It would be cool, but we’re trying to focus on one week at a time and see where we’re at in the end.”