Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin opened his post-game press conference after Thursday night’s 29-17 loss to Cleveland by tipping his hat to Nick Chubb and running a game at the Browns.
“I’d like to commend Cleveland,” Tomlin said. “They did what was needed to win, and you have to admit that.” “I thought they dominated the streak of scrimmage, especially in the second half. If you can’t slow Chap down, you can’t beat that set. We kind of knew that and didn’t get it. We have to own the result and we’ll take it, so there’s not much to talk about. We’ll throw Look at that tape and we learn, we get better, and we get better very quickly.”
While Jacoby Brissett, Amari Cooper and David Njoku starred in the passing game, the win was about Chubb’s ability to move yards, move chains and keep the clock moving. Chubb produced 113 flush yards on 23 holders and scored to close the game in fourth and one place finishes.
“I thought they controlled the game, man,” Tomlin said. “They had the ball. Nick Chubb dominated the game.” “He was running across his arms and things like that, getting yards after contact. That wasn’t good enough.”
Thursday saw Chubb’s 15th game with over 100 yards dash and at least one touchdown since entering the league in 2018 (the second most this period). 24 out of the 100-plus dash games since 2018 is one more Derek Henry has played on Sunday (the next closest being Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook with 18 each).
“Nick Chubb is one of the best defenses in the league, man,” said Steelers midfielder Alex Highsmith. “You have to bring it up when you’re dealing with it, and we haven’t done that enough tonight. We know we have to do a better job in the field. Not only can we talk about it, there has to be action. We have a long week ahead. We’ll review the movie and come back to A long week on Monday and we’re back at it.”
The Browns have rushed over 170 yards in four consecutive games going back to last season and are averaging 190.7 yards per game this season.
“We felt Nick was going to have another good day today,” Brown coach Kevin Stefanke said. “He feels confident in a lot of his running schemes. It gives you an honest work day. Run hard. He gets stronger as the game goes on. Part of that is, you have to credit (RB) Kareem (Hunt) to come in and take the workload. That blow. 1-2, we talked about. It’s 1a and 1b.”
The Browns’ offensive line opened up holes against the TJ Watt-less Steelers’ defense, but Chubb’s ability to break interferences turned his 3-yard gains into 8-yard gains. RB finished with a +40 rushing yards above expected, according to Next Generation stats, and leads the NFL with +104 RYOE in 2022, entering Sunday’s list.
“They did what they wanted,” Minka Fitzpatrick told the Safety of the Steelers. “What they wanted to do was give Chubb the ball, and he ran over 100 yards. When you let a guy like that do whatever he wanted, he’d win the game.”