Chubb’s decision was the right call
It was during the Green Bay Packers’ resurgence under Brett Favre and Reggie White that the late defensive guru Fritz Shurmur dropped one of his most enduring maxims.
Growing tired of all the nitpicking over a closer-than-expected victory, Shurmur interrupted the interrogation at Lambeau Field to exclaim, “I’d hate to think we’ve gotten to the point where we’re judging the quality of wins around here now.”
Nick Chubb was a toddler back then, but it’s a point that’s just as pertinent now for a perennially downtrodden franchise as it was then for a resurgent one riding the wave of Super Bowl success.
A win is a win; let Las Vegas worry about the margin of victory.
Especially at a time when the NFL is betting big on the once-taboo gambling industry, and “Did we win?” has pretty much given way to “Did we cover?”
Chubb’s decision to forgo a sure touchdown and veer out of bounds at the 1-yard line with no defender close by so the Cleveland Browns (6-3) could salt away their rain-drenched 10-7 win over the Houston Texans drew much debate because it had such big implications for bettors.
The Browns were a 4¢-point favorite. So, no, they didn’t cover.
Chubb acknowledged it wasn’t easy to pass up a touchdown, saying, “That’s the natural instinct, to get into the end zone.”
But in the moment, he wasn’t worried about personal stats or point spreads or fantasy points. He just heeded the instructions of coach Kevin Stefanski to give himself up if he got the first down so the Browns could run out the clock on the Texans, who had no timeouts left.
Chubb took a pitch from Baker Mayfield on third-and-3 with 1:07 remaining and bounced outside, reeling off a 59-yard run down the left sideline before veering sharply out of bounds just shy of the goal line.
“I should have just slid to keep the clock running or taken a knee, but it was a split-second decision,” Chubb said.
Stefanski said he wouldn’t have been upset had Chubb scored there to put the Browns ahead by two scores with less than a minute left, but he appreciated his running back heeding his instructions.