There have been two Thursday night games this year, and in each of them we saw an elite runner struggling in goal-line situations. Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week 1, and Nick Chubb against the Bengals.

I’m not particularly worried about either guy. I don’t consider them to be poor short-yardage runners. Chubb is a big bruiser who can move people backwards. With KC, they’ll got all of the other weapons to keep defenses off balance. Both teams, I expect, should get things figured out.

But both teams did struggle. Especially CEH in the opener. With Chubb, he had 4 carries from the 1 or 2 against Cincinnati. He lost a yard on one and got stuffed at the line of scrimmage on another. When the ball was at the 2, Chubb gained a yard but was stopped at the goal line. He finally punched in a 1-yard touchdown run late in the game.

It reminded me of last year. Chubb had a big year (with Derrick Henry nipping him for the rushing title in Week 17) but struggled at the goal line. Chubb carried the ball 16 times when Cleveland was inside the 5; those carries resulted in minus-9 yards.

Two weeks in Chubb doesn’t look a lot better so far: 4 carries for 1 yard, with one TD.

The 2019 numbers appear below. On these, I’m including 2-point conversion attempts (not officially NFL plays, but meaningful plays – it’s our website, and we’ll print what we want). So “EZ” includes both touchdowns and 2-point conversions.

RUNNING INSIDE 5-YARD LINE (2019)
RkPlayerAttYdsAvgEZEZ%
1.Malcolm Brown, LAR8172.1562.5%
2.Kenyan Drake, Ariz.8162.0675.0%
3.Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.18311.71055.6%
4.Jordan Howard, Phil.10171.7550.0%
5.Todd Gurley, LAR16261.6956.3%
6.Josh Jacobs, Oak.12191.6541.7%
7.Phillip Lindsay, Den.9141.6555.6%
8.Aaron Jones, G.B.17261.51058.8%
9.Dalvin Cook, Min.21291.4942.9%
10.Sony Michel, N.E.14191.4642.9%
11.Melvin Gordon, LAC15201.3746.7%
12.Mark Ingram, Balt.18211.21055.6%
13.Carlos Hyde, Hou.9101.1444.4%
14.Marlon Mack, Ind.10111.1550.0%
15.David Montgomery, Chi.18191.1527.8%
16.Joe Mixon, Cin.18191.1527.8%
17.Christian McCaffrey, Car.21221.01047.6%
18.Alvin Kamara, N.O.881.0337.5%
19.Kerryon Johnson, Det.109.9330.0%
20.Derrick Henry, Ten.119.8763.6%
21.Tevin Coleman, S.F.96.7333.3%
22.Austin Ekeler, LAC96.7222.2%
23.Peyton Barber, T.B.117.6445.5%
24.Lamar Jackson, Balt.84.5337.5%
25.Gus Edwards, Balt.84.500.0%
26.Chris Carson, Sea.91.1555.6%
27.Frank Gore, Buff.110.0218.2%
28.Saquon Barkley, NYG80.0112.5%
29.Leonard Fournette, Jac.9-2-.2333.3%
30.Nick Chubb, Cle.16-9-.6318.8%

—Ian Allan