Nick Chubb felt scoring a touchdown with 1:55 was one of many errors the Browns made in their 31-30 loss to the Jets. He said he should have fallen down at the 2 to keep the clock running. (USA Today)
Nobody blames Nick Chubb for scoring in the last 2 minutes against the Jets – except Chubb
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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.
Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …
Everybody has an opinion on whether Nick Chubb should have just fallen down in bounds rather than score a touchdown to go up, 30-17, against the Jets with 1:55 to go on Sunday.
“Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have scored there, honestly, looking back at it. It cost us the game,” Chubb said.
With the Jets out of timeouts, keeping possession of the ball at the 2-yard line would have enabled the Browns to kneel down three times, burn the clock to about 20 seconds, and kick a field goal to seal a 27-17 win.
As it happened, Chubb’s TD – his third of the game – stopped the clock. Cade York missed the PAT. And the Jets had enough life to pull out a dramatic, improbable 31-30 win.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said he did not give the instruction to stay out of the end zone – as he did in a 2020 game against Houston – because he thought even a 30-17 lead should have meant a sure win.
Chubb thought so, too.
Chubb also did not fault the coach for not communicating the instruction.
“We all work together, we all communicate,” Chubb said. “But at the end of the day, I’ve been in that situation before, so I can’t really put it on anybody but myself at this point. I think the biggest thing … I was aware of what was going on.
“I thought the game was over, being honest.”
Nobody takes losses harder than Chubb. He said he second-guessed himself on scoring the touchdown after the loss became official.
“I had to reflect on it see what I could have done things different and that was definitely one of them,” he said.
Amari accountable, too
Receiver Amari Cooper took the blame for mishandling the Jets onside kick with 1:22 left. The Browns had called timeout before the kick to better project where the kick would be targeted.
Punter Braden Mann’s sidewinder kick was aimed at Cooper to the right side of the Browns “hands” team. Cooper waited for the ball to come to him and that hesitation enabled Jets safety Will Parks to deflect the ball toward the middle of the field. Jets cornerback Justin Hardee recovered at the Jets’ 47.
“It was my play to make and I didn’t make it, to sum it up in a few words,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he should have been more aggressive. He said the Jets execution of the kick – keeping it spinning on its side rather than popping it up – made it difficult to locate the ball.
“Usually [teams] pop it up in the air and you go grab it and get hit,” Cooper said.
“This is like kind of a new way of onside kicking it. You don’t really know if it’s going to go 10 yards. It’s moving at an awkward angle. It’s more difficult to locate the ball and make a play on it. On one hand, you want to get to the ball as fast as possible, on the other hand you don’t want to misjudge the ball. It’s just more difficult.”
Cooper said he owned the mistake “’cuz it’s the truth.”
On that note, and with Chubb also in mind, Stefanski said, “We have a very, very accountable group. Having said that, I have addressed those things. Put it on me and those type of things. The players do not hide from it. I do not hide from it. For us, the focus really goes to Thursday night.”
Perrion, the wayward son
On a day of mea culpas, rookie defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey faced the media for the first time since he was sent home Friday and made inactive Sunday for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
Winfrey said he would follow Stefanski’s lead in keeping the club infraction in house. He said he’s out of the doghouse and expects to play Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Myles Garrett said on Friday that Winfrey needed to learn how to be a professional and the defensive captain agreed with Stefanski’s discipline.
“Every rookie coming into an organization learns things that they need to do and they shouldn’t do, and I feel like people of my age or older or in my age bracket, we’re all going through the same struggles of learning where you need to be and how you need to be there,” Winfrey said. “So I would say becoming a pro is something that every rookie learns how to do.
"Every rookie goes through something different. This was something I had to go through along my journey, and other rookies go through their journey. My journey -- I was not allowed to play. Whether I feel I should have played or not doesn’t really matter because that game’s over.”
Winfrey called the incident “a one-time thing” and said he would learn from it.
“It just let me know that this game can be taken away from you at any point in time, so just take it seriously 24/7 and count your blessings and realize you’re in a blessed position and take it seriously,” he said.
Defensive end Myles Garrett (neck) and left guard Joel Bitonio (biceps) did not practice, and Stefanski wouldn’t speculate if they’ll be ready to play Thursday. “We will see. Again, I mentioned it before, these Thursday night games, sometimes it is hard for guys to make it. We will take every hour as they come,” the coach said. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney already was ruled out with an ankle injury …
With Chase Winovich (hamstring) placed on injured reserve on Monday, the next men up at defensive end are rookies Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas, and practice squadder and TikTok sensation Isaac Rochell …
Wright, a third-round draft pick from Alabama-Birmingham, would start in Clowney’s place. If Garrett doesn’t play, Rochell probably would start at the other end spot with Thomas, a seventh-round pick from Oklahoma being the third end. “Similar to what we were talking about earlier, these are young players who we are asking a lot of them right away,” Stefanski said. “Alex in particular really has responded. He has made plays in these games. He has gotten his hands on balls. He is very active. A young player, he is going to make his mistakes like you would expect but really think highly of the young man.”