Even though Nick Chubb eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards twice Sunday, he didn’t finish with it. After eclipsing 1,000 with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter, and again late in the third quarter, Chubb lost 5 yards on his final carry to finish 4 yards short at 996.
Part of the reason Chubb fell short of the milestone was the Ravens’ top-ranked run defense. Another part was the Browns’ need to pass the ball from behind. And part of it was bad luck.
Chubb might not be as upset over it as his offensive line was.
“I’m crushed for him,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “I thought we had it. We wish we could’ve got it for him.”
That’s not to say Bitonio and his fellow linemen failed Chubb. Chubb still ran for nearly 1,000 yards while starting just 10 games this season. That’s an average of 82 yards per game, and he’ll only need to average 62.5 over a 16-game season. The linemen might have set the bar a tad higher, however.
“We just told him we have to get him 2,000 next year,” Bitonio joked.
— Myles Garrett has checked all the boxed the Browns hoped he would in 2018.
He played all 16 games and fell a half-sack short of the single-season franchise record, enough to earn him a Pro-Bowl invite. Beyond that, he added 12 tackles for loss and 29 quarterback hits. He earned frequent double teams throughout the second of half the season, a sign of his arrival as an elite pass rusher.
Garrett would’ve liked to check a few more boxes, however. His 2018 self-evaluation?
“B-minus,” Garrett said. “Thirteen-and-a-half (sacks) is all right. I had a couple of TFLs to go along with it. It is a good year. Was not great, was not bad, right there in the middle.”
Right in the middle was good enough for a top-10 sack total, a Pro-Bowl appearance and it was nearly good enough to break a franchise record. It’s obvious that Garrett holds himself to a higher standard. He’s expressed his desire to win the Defensive Player of the Year.
And if this season is borderline average in his mind? He’s on the right track.
— After an impressive eight-game stint, Browns left tackle Greg Robinson enters an offseason with numerous possibilities.
Robinson took over at left tackle at the midpoint of the season, and the teammate who stood next to him on each snap said he proved his worth a starter. He’s set to become a free agent in March if the Browns don’t re-sign him by then.
“I think that eight-game sample was pretty impressive,” Bitonio said. “I think he showed why he was the second overall pick. He’s athletic, he’s strong. He has more tools than any of the other O-linemen we have on this team.”
Bitonio isn’t alone in his support of Robinson. Browns general manager John Dorsey said Monday he would like to bring Robinson back next season. Whether he will depends on several external factors.
Bitonio understands the business world of football that Dorsey operates. But whether it’s for the Browns or someone else, Bitonio believes Robinson can provide value to an NFL franchise as long as Robinson controls the factors that solely depend on him.
“If he can continue to push himself and if he does re-sign here, and he can still have that mentality of trying to prove himself, I think he’ll be fine,” Bitonio said. “Hopefully he takes it serious this offseason. And wherever he ends up — hopefully back here —he’s in a great position to help that team. Hopefully our team.”