Nick Chubb saw four or fewer carries in each of his first six games with the Cleveland Browns in his debut NFL season, as the team’s’ previous coaching regime stowed the second-round back behind the (not so) great Carlos Hyde to start the year. Hyde was then traded away, coaches were fired and out of the ashes rose Chubb. And he’s been every bit of the phoenix the analogy implies.
Going from 17 total carries to 136 in just six games, Chubb has taken the league by storm. The former Georgia standout now leads all NFL backs with 250-plus offensive snaps in overall grade (88.2) and ranks second behind Los Angeles Chargers’ Melvin Gordon II (90.7) in rushing grade.
Chubb’s ability to create yards for himself through forced missed tackles and yards after contact, is quite literally, some of the best PFF has ever seen. His 4.59 yards after contact per attempt average is the highest we’ve ever charted for a back with 100-plus attempts in a single season in the PFF era (2006-Present). Forcing 33 missed tackles across 131 attempts, Chubb and his 0.25 forced missed tackles per attempt average also ranks fifth among the same group of backs.
And Chubb has done so with next to no help from his big men up front.
Through Week 13, Chubb has gained just 13.4% of his rushing yards before first contact and averaged 0.71 yards before first contact per attempt, both figures ranking inside the bottom-10 among the 591 instances a back has had 100-plus attempts in a season in the PFF era.
Furthering the narrative, Chubb has been contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage on 67 of his 131 carries in 2018, and on said attempts, he’s averaged an NFL-high 3.7 yards after contact per attempt.
Chubb draws an even deeper line in the sand between himself and other NFL backs when compared to other rookie backs. His 4.59 yards after contact per attempt average is 0.76 yards higher than any other rookie running back in the PFF era, and his 0.25 forced missed tackles per attempt average also leads the same group of rookie runners.