The 2-2 Cleveland Browns host the 2-2 Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 PM EDT at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The last time these two teams met was at SoFi Stadium on October 10, 2021, and it was an offensive shootout that the Chargers ultimately won by the score of 47-42.
Here are the three keys to a Browns’ victory over the Chargers.
1. Run The Ball
Nick Chubb is the second-leading rusher in the NFL through four weeks.
Nick Chubb this season:
Week 1: 22 runs, 141 yards
Week 2: 17 runs, 87 yards, 3 TDs
Week 3: 23 runs, 113 yards, 1 TD
Week 4: 19 runs, 118 yards, 1 TD pic.twitter.com/tI4rkvPXjm
— PFF (@PFF) October 2, 2022
The game plan does not need to be fancy or different, especially against the Chargers who are not particularly effective at stopping the run.
My matchup to watch this sunday? #Browns Nick Chubb vs this Chargers D
This year LAC has given up 5.4 ypc (2nd worst in the league)
Chubb has been averaging a career high 5.7 ypc this year and 6.21 last Sunday
It’s Nick Chubb time
— Mac🦬 (@tha_buffalo) October 4, 2022
It amounts to the offensive line doing their spectacular work of blocking and creating running lanes for Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Run. The. Ball!
We have a monster with not 1, but 2 heads! Run. The. Ball!!!
— Carolina Browns Backers (@CarolinaBrowns) October 2, 2022
By the way, Chubb and/or Hunt should be on the field most of the time because they should be utilized in short-pass plays as well.
This business of letting Chubb stand on the sidelines does nothing more than cue the opposing team’s defensive coordinator that the Browns are going to pass the ball.
If I am the opposing team. And the Browns are down by three points and there’s two minutes left in the game. I am smiling ear to ear if Nick Chubb is sitting on the sidelines watching the final minutes play out.
— Cleveland Wins (@CLEVELAND_WINS) October 2, 2022
This was an issue last week in the latter stages of the game against the Falcons.
2. Score Red Zone Points
There are pros and cons to going for it on fourth and goal, and they have been discussed a lot since the Week 4 loss to Atlanta.
Those situational decisions should be reevaluated based on injuries and other factors because the bottom line is that the Browns need to score at least 3 points but preferably 7 in red-zone situations.
Coming up empty with some peculiar play calls is not acceptable going forward.
“I think once we get down there, our mindset has to change. We’ve got to get the ball in the end zone. We have to be better down there.”
#Browns RB Nick Chubb on need to improve in red zone: "I think once we get down there, our mindset has to change. We've got to get the ball in the end zone. We have to be better down there."
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) October 5, 2022
3. No Fourth Quarter Letdown
The Browns have not played dominant football for a solid four quarters of any of their games.
There seems to be a strong start and then a fade away, most notably in the fourth quarter.
— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) October 5, 2022
#Browns defense is giving up 7.83 yards per play in the fourth quarter this season. That's the most of any defense. (No other defense in the NFL is giving up more than 6.61).
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 4, 2022
Unfortunately, this is not a problem that only the 2022 team deals with.
It happened last year when the Chargers beat the Browns at the end of the game.
This is another thing that simply cannot happen.
The Browns’ defense, in particular, has to be ready to deal with Justin Herbert for the entire game.
A letdown allows someone as talented as Herbert to put his team back in contention.
Then again, the Chargers may try to get Austin Ekeler going.
He hasn’t gotten off to a great start, but the Browns defense showed that they could not stop the run last week in the fourth quarter with second and third string Falcons running backs.
That means the Chargers will try to do it also.
The Falcons just did what we thought the Browns we’re supposed to do. Run the ball down their throat #Browns
— CleWest (@erjmanlasvegas) October 2, 2022
Just as the Jets and Falcons games were winnable, this is a very winnable game for the Browns.
They need to clean up the miscommunications and mistakes, once and for all, and play up to the level of talent on the team.
If they do those things, they will come out with the victory.