The Cleveland Browns’ star running back, Nick Chubb, was carted off the field with what appeared to be a severe knee injury during his team’s 26-22 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick came in low for a tackle at the end of a five-yard run early in the second quarter and delivered a hit to Chubb’s legs. Chubb remained on the ground for several minutes while teammates gathered in prayer nearby. He eventually left on a cart. ESPN chose not to show replays of the incident.
“I’m told the replay of Nick Chubb getting injured is not to be seen,” the play-by-play announcer Joe Buck said.
The Browns head coach, Kevin Stefanski, said after the game that he expects Chubb to miss the rest of the season.
Chubb suffered a serious injury to the same knee in 2015 while in college at Georgia – a dislocation with three torn ligaments. That injury forced Chubb to miss the second half of his sophomore year, but he returned to top 1,000 yards rushing in 2016 and 2017. He was a second-round pick by the Browns in 2018. Over the last six years, he has been one of the few constants for the Browns, averaging over 1,250 yards rushing a season for a team that has slowly emerged as a contender in the AFC North.
NBA star and Ohio native LeBron James and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson were among those who expressed support for Chubb on social media.
James posted he was “praying for the absolute best” with Jackson offering a similar sentiment.
The Steelers defense were vital in Pittsburgh’s victory, scoring on an Alex Highsmith interception return and a TJ Watt fumble recovery. They harried Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson all night, sacking him six times. Watt also became the Steelers’ all-time sack leader, when he recorded No 81.5 of his career.
“He’s the best in the league at what he does,” said Highsmith of Watt after the game. “I’m just thankful to play alongside him.”
The Browns thought they were deprived of a pass interference call on fourth down as they drove to win the game in the final two minutes but it was ruled an incompletion and the Steelers knelt to run the clock down and end the game.
Watson was poor once again for the Browns, a problem that makes the loss of Chubb look even more damaging for Cleveland. He completed 22 of 40 for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was also flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct for grabbing the facemask of a Steeler while running. The penalties cut a pair of promising drives short.
Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ offense also struggled. Pickett went 15 of 30 for 222 yards with a touchdown and interception.
In Monday’s other game, Tony Jones Jr ran for two touchdowns, rookie Blake Grupe kicked two field goals and the New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers 20-17 to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2013.
Jones, who was elevated from the practice squad, replaced the injured Jamaal Williams late in the first half and ran for 34 yards on 12 carries. The Saints defense did the rest, holding the Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young, the No 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, to 153 yards passing in his Monday Night Football debut. The New Orleans defense limited winless Carolina to just 239 yards and sacked Young four times.
The Saints nearly made it two full games without allowing a touchdown before giving up a three-yard scoring toss from Young to Adam Thielen with 1:16 left in the game.