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Like his teammate in the Cleveland Browns backfield, Nick Chubb had a special rookie season.
The Georgia product ascended to the top of the Browns depth chart in Week 7 and proceeded to become one of the most prolific running backs in the league, so much so that he entered Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens needing just 28 rushing yards to reach 1,000 on the season.
Chubb achieved that feat on Sunday. And then he didn’t.
Nick Chubb’s fleeting 1,00-yard season
At one point during the Ravens game, Chubb reached 1,001 yards on the season to join Saquon Barkley and Philip Lindsay as the 1,000-yard rookie this season. Only four times has the NFL seen three such rushers in a single season (1993, 1995, 2001, 2008).
The Browns tweeted out a graphic to celebrate the achievement, but would have to delete the tweet minutes later. Of course, the graphic lived on through the internet.
Chubb’s next rush was a loss of five yards with 6:42 remaining in the game. As Baker Mayfield and the Browns mounted a furious comeback, the running game fell by the wayside and Chubb was left without a chance to recapture the 1,000-yard milestone.
Thanks to that unfortunate ending, Chubb fell short of being the first 1,000-yard rusher in Browns history since Peyton Hillis in 2010 and its first rookie to ever do so.
Such an “achievement” harkens back to the classic story of Dave Hampton, who reached 1,000 rushing yards in 1972 for the first time in Atlanta Falcons history. The game was actually stopped and Hampton was handed a trophy. Then he was stuffed for a six-yard loss on the next play and finished the season with 995 yards on the season.
Nick Chubb still had a really good rookie season
Despite that ignominious history, there’s little reason to believe such a feat will end up defining Chubb’s career like it did for Hampton.
Chubb was selected 35th overall in the 2018 NFL draft and became the Browns’ feature back once Carlos Hyde was traded in an attempt to force Hue Jackson to use the talented rookie.
Chubb responded by averaging 88.8 rushing yards (4.78 yards per rush), 17 receiving yards and nearly a touchdown per game between Week 7 and 16, everything you could hope for if you’re the Browns and a fantasy player.
There was even more to like about Chubb beyond the box score. Entering Week 17, the rookie was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated running back in the league this season. He elevated the offense whenever he was used, with the team averaging 26.3 points when he recorded more than five attempts or 50 rushing yards and 17.2 points when he did not.
Chubb was stopped in his tracks by the Ravens’ top-ranked defense, posting only 20 yards from scrimmage and no touchdowns, but there’s little reason to believe he won’t be one of the hottest commodities at running back next season for a resurgent Browns team.
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