Skip to main content

Browns run game thrives as a 2-man operation with Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt

In the buildup to Sunday's game, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt couldn't hide their excitement. 

Hunt's was understandable, of course, because he hadn't seen the field in nearly a year, but Chubb's came from a genuine place, too. The selfless, second-year running back knew the Browns would be better with both players in the rotation. He didn't give a lick about a potential decline in his carries.

"Whatever we can do to win," Chubb said, "I'm all for it."

That's exactly what the Browns got Sunday, and the Chubb-Hunt tandem served as a big reason why Cleveland was able to snap its four-game losing streak.

Check out photos of the Browns in action against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday

Chubb carried the load like he typically does, racking up 116 yards on 20 carries. Hunt was on the field for more than 50 percent of the plays and touched the ball 11 times, carrying it four times for 30 yards and catching seven passes for 44.

The Browns out-rushed the Bills, 147-84, and won the time of possession battle.

"Kareem has worked tremendously hard as a person and on the football field," Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. "I am just as proud of Kareem off the field as I am on it. He knows that. I am glad he is here with us. He is very unselfish. He and Nick get along great together, and he fits in well here."

Hunt and Chubb were seemingly at their best when they were on the field together. According to NFL's Next Gen Stats, Chubb picked up all but 3 of his 116 yards when Hunt was on the field.

Bills defenders said after the game they knew the Browns would try to get Hunt involved in a variety of ways and weren't surprised by his level of activity. It was just tough to stop.

"Anytime you get two backs in the game, it is tough for defenses play differently," Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said. "You have to bring a guy down and you are worried about the receivers on the outside. You have to give different looks and kind of mix it up. We did a good job of having answers for everything they were doing. 

"Obviously, Kareem is such a dynamic player. He is able to block or run the ball when he needs to."

Hunt's blocking got the Browns started, as he took on a man and helped lead the way for a 21-yard gain by Chubb on the second play of the game. He got the ball in his hands two plays later when he lined up as a wide receiver, taking a quick pass from Mayfield for 7 yards.

Hunt didn't receive his first carry until the 5:49 mark in the second quarter, when he went 9 yards to pick up a first down. His impact was far greater as a pass-catcher, and no play was bigger than his 9-yard reception on third-and-7 on Cleveland's game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

"I think we saw how dynamic our offense was when we get those guys the ball," wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. "Obviously, with Nick's touches and Kareem's effort was amazing. All of his efforts – second, third, fourth efforts were amazing."

Hunt's return was a long time coming for both himself and the Browns offense as a whole. There are still so many things for Cleveland to clean up, but it now enters a pivotal stretch of the season with something else for opposing defenses to account for.

"He just does a lot of things well," Mayfield said. "He wants to win. He is able to sacrifice whatever it takes."