To continue our celebration of the franchise's 75th anniversary, we're launching "Browns Countdown: Top 75 Moments" presented by Bridgestone. Over the next month, through videos, articles and more, we'll be highlighting the top 75 moments in Browns history. Our video tributes, which will be available at ClevelandBrowns.com, the Browns' mobile app and the Browns' official YouTube Channel, will dive deep into the top 20 while our articles will put the spotlight on a number of different moments that are sprinkled throughout the top 75.
We're moving down to No. 64, which highlights Nick Chubb's record-breaking run from 2018.
Nick Chubb could see the hole open as soon as he tucked the football between his arms.
No defender had any shot of grabbing Chubb at the line of scrimmage, which was set at the Browns' 8-yard line while the team held a 21-10 lead against the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. He shifted to his right, where every Falcons player was locked against a Browns blocker, and then began his full sprint downfield.
Only two defensive backs were in front of him. The first one failed to bring him down with a diving tackle attempt. The second one couldn't maneuver around receiver Antonio Callaway.
All that was left for Chubb was a historical run to the end zone.
The distance was 92 yards, the longest rushing touchdown in franchise history.
"Just a great job up front," said Chubb, the rookie running back from Georgia drafted 35th overall to Cleveland, in his postgame interview. "Those guys blocked hard the whole game, and it was wide open. I remember running through and seeing the safety left, and then after that, I see Callaway blocking the corner, which he did a tremendous job of.
"After that, I'm just wide open to the house."
Chubb broke the record set by Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, who had a 90-yard run in 1959, and set the second- longest in NFL history by a rookie, falling short only to a 97-yard run by Pittsburgh's Bobby Gage in 1949.
The touchdown was the final score from the Browns in their 28-16 victory and was one of the top moments that foreshadowed Chubb's early dominance in the NFL. He finished the game with 176 rushing yards, which still stands as his single-game career-high, and ended the year with 996 rushing yards, eight touchdowns and a handful of bone-crushing plays that solidified his importance to Cleveland's offense for the foreseeable future.
"He's been waiting for his time. He's a patient guy. I'm very happy for him," quarterback Baker Mayfield said after the game. "He's playing at a very high level and the best part about it is he never expected anything else. He's getting extra yards. He's creating plays and breaking a lot of tackles."
Chubb hasn't slowed down in the two seasons after his historical run. He came close to eclipsing his own record again in Week 4 of 2019 when he zipped through the Baltimore Ravens defense for an 88-yard touchdown run. In 2020, his longest rush of the season was a 59-yard gain that he intentionally stopped short of the end zone to ensure Cleveland could run out the clock for a 10-7 win over the Texans.
Ever since he took his first carry with the Browns in 2018, Chubb has created highlight-reel runs on a near-weekly basis. He's already seventh on the Browns' all-time rushing leaderboard with 3,557 yards and is within striking distance of reaching the top 5 in 2021, which would add him to a list that includes Greg Pruitt (5,496 yards), Mike Pruitt (6,540 yards), Leroy Kelly (7,272 yards) and Jim Brown (12,312 yards).
But no run from Chubb has been longer — or more historical — than his 92-yard sprint his rookie season.
"It definitely is very special just being in this place with so much history and so many great running backs," Chubb said, "and to be a part of it breaking records, it's a great feeling."
Earlier this year, the Browns commissioned a panel of historians, alumni and journalists to rank the top 75 moments in Browns history. The group met multiple times to discuss the moments and each member submitted their own final rankings, which were averaged against each other to create the ultimate list.
Building the Top 75 from the bottom up
62. Paul Brown debuts first radio helmet 1956 with QB George Ratterman
63. Josh Gordon becomes first wide receiver in NFL history with back-to-back 200-yard games on Dec. 1, 2013.
64. Nick Chubb breaks the Browns franchise record for longest run by scoring a 92-yard touchdown Nov. 11, 2018, in a 28-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The previous record was held by Bobby Mitchell.
65. Phil Dawson retires from the NFL as a Cleveland Brown. Dawson signed with the Browns in 1999 and kicked for the Browns for 14 years.
67. Bobby Mitchell rushes for 232 yards on 14 carries for an incredible 16.6-yard average in a Cleveland Browns 31-17 win against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 15, 1959.
68. Browns' fans create numerous music ballads that are played on Cleveland radio to celebrate the teams resurgence in the late 1980s. Songs include "Oh Bernie Bernie," "Super Bowl Browns" and "Born and Raised on the Browns."
69. Browns defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 21-20, on Dec. 8, 2002 with a 50-yard Hail Mary from Tim Couch to Quincy Morgan with no time left. Couch becomes the only quarterback to have two game-winning passes of 50 yards or more with no time left on the clock.
70. Browns defeat the Buffalo Bills 8-0 in a blizzard and clinch a winning record on Dec. 16, 2007. Phil Dawson kicks two field goals and the Browns record a safety.
72. Browns clinch an Eastern Conference title by crushing the New York Giants 52-20 on Dec. 12, 1964.
73. Browns move into first place of the AFC Central Division after defeating the Houston Oilers on Dec. 15, 1985. The Browns would go on to win the AFC Central for the first time since 1980
74. Jeff Garcia and Andre Davis combine to tie the NFL record for the longest pass in NFL history of 99 yards in a Cleveland Browns 34-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 17, 2004.