There were some things that stood out in the Cleveland Browns 34-20 win over the Washington Football Team. Here are five observations from Week 3.
1. Offense needs to run more early
Something that has been a recurring theme is that the Browns seem to be a bit pass happy early in the game. Kevin Stefanski called nine pass plays to three run plays in the first two drives of the game, both resulted in punts. It wasn’t until things evened out in the third drive (six runs, six passes) that the Browns finally scored points, a Cody Parkey field goal. While things worked out in this game, if Cleveland was facing a better team they could have found themselves down multiple scores early, something that would result in relying on the pass more.
2. The less Baker Mayfield the better
Speaking of the last point, the less Baker Mayfield the better. This was the second straight week where Baker Mayfield went 16-23, both resulting in wins. What has become clearly evident is that if the outcome of the game falls on the shoulders of Baker Mayfield the Browns will lose. If Cleveland can focus on the run and keep the ball out of Mayfield’s hands they will win more often than not.
3. Nick Chubb is one of, if not the best running back in the NFL
Nick Chubb is an absolute beast, this is an indisputable fact. Chubb ran 19 times for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns. This was the second straight game for Chubb which saw him eclipse 100 yards rushing and score twice. Cleveland needs to keep feeding Chubb in order to put themselves in position to win.
4. Kareem Hunt is the perfect compliment to Nick Chubb
Cleveland’s backfield is the envy of the NFL. Not only do they have an elite running back in Nick Chubb, they have the best backup/secondary back in the league in Kareem Hunt. While Hunt did not have the best day running the ball (16 carries, 46 yards), he did catch 2 passes for 18 yards and a touchdown. Hunt is a great Robin to Chubb’s Batman.
5. Porter Gustin continues to impress
The Browns may have found something with Porter Gustin. Gustin has been very impressive early in the season stepping in and performing when the team really needed him. Gustin has 8 total tackles (4 solo) and has been at worst a competent defender on Cleveland’s defensive line. If Olivier Vernon continues to miss time or if another defensive lineman gets hurt, Porter Gustin seems more than capable of holding down the fort on a temporary basis.