No. 4: Browns’ Nick Chubb Goes Off
This is something Niner Noise already discussed at length here, but it bears some repeating.
Browns running back Nick Chubb was a key reason why Cleveland was able to embarrass its AFC North rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, 40-25 last week. Chubb’s 165-yard, three-touchdown effort did more than just pad the Browns’ offensive stat numbers, and his 88-yard touchdown scramble was only another indication of the kind of damage he can do when given the opportunity:
To date, Chubb is averaging 5.1 yards per carry — good enough for ninth best among qualifiers a quarter of the way through the season.
Not surprisingly, Cleveland is expected to feed Chubb early and often throughout the game. His 78 carries on the year is tied for second most in the league, and Baker Mayfield performs much better off play action, not unlike many other signal-callers.
It’s a good thing the 49ers defense is allowing an average of just 3.4 yards per rush on the season, which ranks fourth best entering this week.
But even good run defenses can have an off performance every so often. So far, it hasn’t been an issue for San Francisco. Yet if the Browns manage to pull off a win, there’s a good chance Chubb will be a key reason why.