Nick Chubb is arguably the best running back in the NFL after a third of the season, taking over the throne from Derrick Henry after his strong start to the year. Chubb leads the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns as he's off to the best start for a running back this century -- when yards per carry average is factored in.
Chubb has five seasons averaging 5.0 yards per carry (minimum 100 carries), trailing only Joe Perry (six) for the most in NFL history. If Chubb finishes with a 5.0 yards per carry average, he'll become the first player in NFL history to start his career with a 5.0 yards per carry average in each of his first five seasons. Already averaging 5.9 yards per carry, Chubb is on pace to shatter the .50 yards per carry mark.
Chubb is on pace for an historic season, one which would rival Brown for the best in franchise history. Brown has the most rushing yards (1,864 in 1963) in a season in Cleveland Browns history and the most rushing touchdowns in a season (17 twice in 1958 and 1965). With how Chubb's 2022 season is starting, he's on pace to rival Brown for those franchise records.
In this week's edition of "By The Numbers," Chubb gets a detailed look at his historic start to the 2022 season -- along with the historic start to his career -- and how he compares to Brown as he's in the middle of his fifth NFL season.
NFL rushing yards leaders -- 2022 season
- Nick Chubb -- 649
- Saquon Barkley -- 616
- Josh Jacobs -- 490
- Miles Sanders -- 485
- Lamar Jackson -- 451
NFL rushing TD leaders -- 2022 season
- Nick Chubb -- 7
- Jamaal Williams -- 6
- Jalen Hurts -- 6
- Derrick Henry -- 5
- Taysom Hill -- 5
NFL yards per carry leaders -- 2022 season
- Lamar Jackson -- 8.1
- Khalil Herbert -- 6.4
- Rashaad Penny -- 6.1
- Kyler Murray -- 6.1
- Nick Chubb -- 5.9
Chubb is off to one of the best starts for a running back in NFL history, becoming the first running back since Terrell Davis in 1998 to have 600-plus rushing yards, seven-plus rushing touchdowns, and 5.9-plus yards per carry average through six games. Jim Brown accomplished the feat before Davis in 1958 and 1963.
Chubb is the 20th player in NFL history to have at least 640 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns through six games, and the first Brown to reach those numbers since Brown in 1963 (Brown also reached these totals in 1958 and 1959). The 649 rushing yards through six games are the most by a Browns player since Brown had 738 in 1965.
Not only is Chubb leading the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, he's first in rushing first downs (29), first in rushes of 10-plus yards (21), first in rushes of 20-plus yards (seven), and first in rushing yards per game (108.2).
On pace for 1,839 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, Chubb would become just the fourth player in history to reach those totals in a season -- joining Terrell Davis (1998), Shaun Alexander (2005), and LaDainian Tomlinson (2006). If Chubb retains his 5.9 yards per carry average, he'll have a significantly higher yards per carry amongst the players with 1,800 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns (assuming he stays on that) pace than Tomlinson (5.2 yards per carry in 2006).
Chubb is entering Jim Brown territory for best starts by a running back in Browns history. Here's how he stacks up amongst the best Browns running backs through five seasons (Chubb is currently in his fifth season).
Most rushing yards -- first five seasons (Browns history)
- Jim Brown -- 6,463
- Nick Chubb -- 5,465
- Greg Pruitt -- 4,062
- Leroy Kelly -- 3,736
- Mike Pruitt -- 3,231
Most rushing TDs -- first five seasons (Browns history)
- Jim Brown -- 57
- Nick Chubb -- 43
- Leroy Kelly -- 42
- Kevin Mack -- 26
- Earnest Byner -- 23
Highest yards per carry average -- first five seasons (Browns history)
- Nick Chubb -- 5.4
- Jim Brown -- 5.1
- Leroy Kelly -- 5.1
- Greg Pruitt -- 4.8
- Mike Pruitt -- 4.3
Chubb can surpass Brown in most rushing yards by a Browns player through his first five seasons, needing just 999 rushing yards in his final 11 games (90.8 rushing yards per game). Getting 15 rushing touchdowns in his final 11 games will be a tough task, but the yards per carry average is expected to stay above Brown given Chubb's incredible production once he gets the football in his hands.
Of players with a minimum of 1,000 carries, Chubb's official yards per carry average of 5.368 trails only Jamaal Charles for the highest in NFL history (5.375). Chubb has three seasons of 1,000 rushing yards and averaging 5.0 yards per carry, tied for fourth on the all-time list -- trailing only Jamaal Charles, Barry Sanders, and Jim Brown (five). Chubb joined Charles and Leroy Kelly as the only players to have 1,000 rushing yards and 5.0 yards per carry in three of their first five seasons.
If Chubb rushes for 1,000 yards, averages 5.0 yards per carry, and has eight rushing touchdowns this season, he'll join Jim Brown and Barry Sanders as the only players to reach those numbers in four different seasons. Chubb needs one more rushing touchdown this season to give him eight for five consecutive seasons -- just the fifth player in league history to rush for eight-plus touchdowns in each of his first five seasons. The other players to accomplish the feat were LaDainian Tomlinson (nine), Jim Brown (seven), Adrian Peterson (seven), and Emmitt Smith (seven).
Chubb is already in the conversation amongst Hall of Fame running backs with his incredible start to his career. If Chubb is able to play at this high of a level for a few more seasons, he'll be a future Hall of Famer himself.