Chubb has been the steady engine of the Browns’ offense since arriving in 2018, making four Pro Bowls and being a perennial contender for the rushing title. Seeing the Browns twice per year in the regular season has made Pittsburgh all too familiar with “Mr. Chubb,” as head coach Mike Tomlin likes to put it.
“If you talk about the Cleveland Browns, man, it starts with Mr. Chubb. What he is capable of doing and the way he controls the game is a little bit different but similar to Christan McCaffrey,” Tomlin said on September 12. “He keeps them on schedule, he controls the climate. If we are doing anything in this football game, we have to work to minimize that guy’s impact.”
It’s easier said than done to slow down Nick Chubb, which Tomlin knows from experience.
“We’ve got enough tape against Nick Chubb,” Tomlin said. “We played him a few years ago up there and we had this mantra that we were going to slow down Mr. Chubb. He reeled off about a 40-yard run on the second play of the game. We got respect for that guy and their ability to run the ball.”
Historically, the Steelers have not done a terrible job against Chubb. He’s gone over 100 yards in just two of nine matchups, collecting an average of 72.6 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry — below his career averages.
Steelers Have More to Worry About Than Nick Chubb
The Steelers were trounced by the San Francisco 49ers in their opener, 30-7. San Fransico was able to notch 188 yards rushing behind Christian McCaffrey. Tomlin wasn’t happy with how his defense performed.
“We had to minimize their run game, and Christian McCaffrey, man, we failed there,” Tomlin said. “But largely, defensively, I thought communication was not up to snuff. Our pre-snap movements and adjustments were not sure enough, not solid enough.”
But the Steelers have worries on defense that extend beyond Chubb. The Cleveland offense is in the hands of quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Browns will be eager to unleash their passing game after being bogged down in the rain during Week 1.
“This guy is really talented, man,” Tomlin said of Watson. “His ability to extend plays, his ability to attack a defense vertically, his ability to see to field as plays get extended, his arm talent in terms of throwing the ball downfield. He’s got a myriad of eligibles that are challenging.”
Browns Road Favorite Against Steelers
The Browns head into their Week 2 matchup against the Steelers as a road favorite, which seems fair considering how the opening weekend played out for both teams. The Browns were able to dominate the Cincinnati Bengals, sending the defending AFC North champs home with their tail between their legs.
The Steelers were one of the more disappointing teams in Week 1, failing to put up a fight against the 49ers. They’ll also be without six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cam Heyward, who is dealing with a groin injury and standout wide receiver Diontae Johnson is questionable.
The Browns are a 2.5-point favorite for the matchup, with the total for the game set at a low 39.5, per BetMGM.