Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb Makes All the Right Moves in Return
In his return after a four-game absence, Cleveland running back Nick Chubb made the game-clinching play during Sunday's 10-7 victory over the Houston Texans.
On third-and-3 with just over a minute left, Chubb broke off a terrific 59-yard run down the sideline and had a clear path to the end zone. But instead of scoring, Chubb intentionally ran out of bounds at the 1-yard line to prevent Houston from getting the ball back.
It was a move that drove some of Chubb's fantasy football owners (and sports bettors) crazy, but it was an unselfish play that enabled the Browns to secure the win with two kneel-downs.
"That is the natural instinct to get into the end zone," Chubb said via ClevelandBrowns.com. "Something came into my head and said, 'Let's go out of bounds.' I should have just taken a knee or slid to keep the clock running, but it was a split (second) decision."
While Chubb was the star of the game with 126 yards on 19 carries, Cleveland's defense also played extremely well,[comma] holding the Texans to seven points and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to just 163 passing yards.
Chubb makes a huge difference for the Browns' offense. In their first four games of the season with Chubb, the Browns averaged just over 200 yards rushing. But during the four games that Chubb sat out with a knee injury, Cleveland averaged just 95.5 yards rushing.
The Browns moved to 6-3 with the victory and remained in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Six teams in the conference are 6-3, including Baltimore. Currently, tie-breakers would make the Ravens the No. 7 seed in the conference and they would be the final AFC playoff qualifier ahead of the Browns, who would be out of the playoffs at No. 8.
A lot will happen over the final seven weeks of the season, and a key date is Dec. 14 when the Ravens will visit Cleveland on Monday Night Football. The Ravens defeated the Browns, 38-6, in the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium, but the rematch in Cleveland could be a huge game in determining the playoff fates of both teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger's Throwing Arm Feels Rejuvenated
As the NFL's lone unbeaten team (9-0) and leading the AFC North by three games, the Steelers have plenty of reason for optimism.
Start with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who says his throwing arm feels rejuvenated after he rested it last week when he was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Roethlisberger returned for Saturday's walkthrough, then threw for a season-high 333 yards and four touchdowns to lead Pittsburgh to a 36-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Roethlisberger is putting together one of his best seasons at age 38, and he doesn't look old or feel after missing almost the entire 2019 season following surgery on this throwing elbow.
"Really just felt nice and rested coming into today," Roethlisberger said via ESPN.com. "I tried to talk (Head) Coach (Mike Tomlin) into seeing if I could take next week off, too."
The Steelers visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, and a victory would ensure that the Steelers are still unbeaten when they host the Ravens on Thanksgiving night.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow Struggles in First Game Against Pittsburgh
Before Sunday, Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow believed in the Bengals' chances to upset Pittsburgh. But after Sunday's loss, Burrow said he was the main reason the outcome was so one-sided. In the second half, Burrow was 5-for-15 for 24 yards.
"We're in that game if I don't (stink) in the second half and I don't (stink) a lot," Burrow said via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt said his team wanted to send Burrow a message.
"I think it's very important to welcome quarterbacks in the AFC North in the appropriate way," Watt said. "We know what Joe Burrow is: their franchise quarterback. And we're just trying to let him know what to expect when he comes to Pittsburgh."
Burrow bounced back from a rugged game against the Ravens in Week 5 and was playing well heading into Sunday's loss. His next opportunity to bounce back will come Sunday when the Bengals (2-6-1) visit Washington.