From the moment we saw Nick Chubb go down in agony against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, we knew it wasn't a good sign. Seconds later, the grimacing reaction from the packed crowd at Acrisure Stadium sent chills down our spines. Without so much as an MRI, we already knew that the Browns running back had suffered a devastating injury to his knee.
I don't care which teams you root for or love to hate in the NFL; nobody wants to see something like this happen. The cart was instantly rolled out for Chubb, and we knew it would be just minutes before we heard confirmation that his 2023 season was over.
The injury to Chubb is so severe that we don't yet have an estimated timetable for his return. Even with the injury happening early in the 2023 season, it's possible that could linger into next summer's training camp and possibly even the 2024 season.
Nick Chubb injury will greatly impact the AFC North
This catastrophic injury is not only a devastating loss to the Cleveland Browns, but his absence leaves a ripple effect on the entire AFC North moving forward. The Browns just lost their star offensive player -- the player through which they funnel their entire offense.
Chubb had routinely been one of the best running backs in the league since entering the NFL as a second-round pick back in 2018. Following his rookie season, Chubb earned four straight Pro Bowl honors from 2019 to 2022 as he has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 84.6 rushing yards per game throughout his NFL career, via Pro Football Reference.
Chubb has very much been in the conversation with Christian McCaffrey as the best running back in the NFL over the past several years. His remarkable vision, excellent contact balance, and speed in the open field made him a prototype running back for today's game. Now it's reasonable to believe that Cleveland won't be nearly as effective on the ground.
This could alter the Browns' game plan when going against AFC North rivals. The Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals will no longer have to account for one of the best running backs in the league. Though Cleveland is looking to bring in outside help with Chubb gone for the year, there's no guarantee that they have a great rushing attack at this point, and they may be forced to abandon their offensive game plan.
While Chubb's injury is devastating, this could make things a bit easier for the Steelers moving forward. Chubb has had some notable games and strong performances against Pittsburgh in the past, but they won't be able to call on him for the rest of the season. Most projected that the Steelers and Browns would finish with similar records by the end of the season, but Pittsburgh could now hold the upper hand.
We all wish Nick Chubb a speedy recovery and hope that he can bounce back from the gruesome knee injury he suffered on Monday Night Football against the Steelers. Now Browns fans have a legitimate reason to be worried about their season, and Cleveland's AFC North rivals could get the best of them in head-to-head matchups for the rest of the 2023 season.