While he only carried the football 14 times in the Week 17 Sunday game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb still managed to rush for 108 yards and touchdown in his team’s playoff spot-clinching home win. One of those 14 carries came during the Browns first offensive possession of the game and went for a 47-yard touchdown off right tackle. That long touchdown run included Chubb breaking a few tackle attempts by Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
On Thursday, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler talked about Chubb’s long run this past Sunday in Cleveland and what his defense needs to do this coming Sunday night in Pittsburgh to prevent the Browns running back from having another big game in the Super Wild Card contest between the two teams.
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“We’re preaching that right now,” Butler said. “Wrap tackle. We’ve got to wrap tackle. He [Chubb] is to me, this guy, and if you look at all great running backs and I have had a chance to play against some great running backs and know this as a fact, most great running backs have a great strength in their legs. Great strength in their legs. This guy is no exception to that rule. He has got real strong legs. He is hard to get on the ground. The reason he is hard to get on the ground is he can run through some arm tackles. What are arm tackles? You reach your arm out and try to dadgum get him and he is going to run through that stuff.”
Butler went on to describe in detail what kind of tacking technique the Steelers defense needs to use on Sunday night against the Browns to make sure that Chubb is taken to ground quickly whenever he is given the football.
“You’ve got to wrap him [Chubb] up and drive your feet” Butler said. “You can’t let your feet go dead on contact. It’s got to be one of those teaching daggum episodes of wrapping up and driving your feet. If we do that, we’ll keep them [the Browns offense] out of the third-and-threes and third-and-fours and get them in the third-and-longs. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to stop him. He ran a touchdown on us. We missed tackles on the guy. He ran a touchdown on us. It was a good touchdown. A good play on his part. He’s a good player.”
Not only did Chubb do damage against the Steelers defense this past Sunday with limited carries, he also only played 27 of a possible 62 total offensive snaps in the game. In short, that means that the Georgia product and former second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft should be well-rested and raring to go again Sunday night in the Super Wild Card game against the Steelers. On Thursday, Butler noted during his media session that Chubb didn’t log a lot of snaps on offense in this past Sunday’s game.
“I noticed at the end of the game they kind of took him out thinking we’re going to beat these guys,” Butler said. “And we kind of caught up with them and then didn’t get the two-point conversion [late in the game]. “He is going to be a challenge for us. It’s going to be a challenge to get him on the ground. It’s going to be a challenge for us to make sure the quarterback doesn’t beat us with his scrambling also. They present some problems to us. We were fortunate the first game we played them he wasn’t in there. It’s going to be a different game this game because he is going to be in there.”
Butler is right as the Steelers defense didn’t have to face Chubb in the Week 6 game against the Browns in Pittsburgh because the running back missed that contest with a knee injury. Without Chubb in Week 6, the Browns only managed to rush for 75 yards against the Steelers defense on 22 total attempts.
That same Week 6 game against the Browns, unlike in the Week 17 rematch between the two teams, also included the Steelers having defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and outside linebacker T.J. Watt on the field. Additionally, the Steelers were without inside linebacker Robert Spillane last Sunday in Cleveland as he missed that contest finishing up rehab on his knee injury. Spillane, like Heyward and Watt, will certainly play Sunday night against the Browns and like Chubb, all three will be well-rested and raring to go. Butler made sure to point that out on Thursday as well.
“But we’ve got a few bullets of our own that wasn’t in that last one, too,” Butler said. “It ought to be good. It’s going to be fun.”