Nick Chubb is putting his hand up and taking the blame for Cleveland’s late-game collapse against the Jets in Week 2. On Sunday, the Browns back carried the ball from the New York 12-yard line and barreled into the end zone for a touchdown to go up 30-17. Before that score, his team already owned a 24-17 lead and the Jets had just burned their final timeout of the game, meaning there was an opportunity to simply run out the clock to victory instead of hitting paydirt.
“I probably shouldn’t have scored right there, honestly, looking back at it,” Chubb told reporters, via the Associated Press. “It cost us the game.”
After Chubb’s touchdown, things started to fall apart rather rapidly for Cleveland. Cade York missed the extra point attempt to keep it a 13-point lead with just 1:55 to play. Then, the Jets traveled 75 yards on just two plays to score a touchdown and cut the lead to six. New York recovered the onside kick and scored again to take the 31-30 lead with 22 seconds on the clock and eventually hang on, mounting the unprecedented comeback.
“It would have been tough (to stop),” Chubb said. “I think the first-down marker was at the 1 or 2 and the goal line is right there, too. I probably could have got down. It would have been third-and-short, third-and-inches, but it probably could have happened.
“I could have went out of bounds, but people were behind and they would have pushed me in or something like that. I probably should have just dropped down after I made the cut.”
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While Chubb’s decision to go into the end zone rather than burn the clock has garnered the most blame for the loss, it hardly falls on his shoulders alone. For one, York shouldn’t have missed the extra point that allowed New York the opportunity to win the game in regulation. Then, there was a miscommunication in the secondary on the 66-yard touchdown to Corey Davis that gave the Jets even more hope. Also, Amari Cooper was unable to recover the onside kick.
Even before Chubb’s touchdown, fellow Browns back Kareem Hunt was knocked out of bounds at the 2:30 mark of the fourth quarter which saved the Jets from burning its first timeout.
“Put it on me,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said of the collapse. “The players do not hide from it. I do not hide from it.”
The Browns won’t have much time to wallow in this loss as they open up Week 3 by playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, so they’ll have an opportunity to wipe away that sour taste pretty quickly.