Campbell shakes off rib injury to lead Browns
Posted at: 11/04/2013 4:05 AM
By TOM WITHERS
(AP) CLEVELAND - Jason Campbell doesn’t think his ribs are cracked. Suddenly, the Browns’ season isn’t busted, either.
Campbell shook off being hit by Baltimore’s beefy Haloti Ngata in the first quarter and threw three touchdown passes as Cleveland ended an 11-game losing streak to Baltimore by beating the Ravens 24-18 on Sunday.
After leading the Browns (4-5) to a win that pushed them ahead of Baltimore in the AFC North standings and back into relevancy, Campbell underwent X-rays on his ribs, which bothered him throughout the game.
"I don’t really know the severity of it yet," Campbell said of his injury. "But I doubt that they are broken."
The Browns are keeping their fingers crossed and will likely announce results of Campbell’s X-rays on Monday, when they begin their bye week. With no game next Sunday, Campbell will have extra time to heal before the Browns visit the first-place Cincinnati Bengals (6-3), whose loss on Thursday night to Miami has made things interesting again inside the division.
Making his second straight start since replacing Brandon Weeden, Campbell finished 23 of 35 for 262 yards, the three TDs_ two of them to Davone Bess _ and no interceptions.
But perhaps the most impressive number was the 340-plus-pounds of Ngata that Campbell absorbed in a pro wrestling-like pin from the nose tackle. Campbell was forced to leave the field for a handful of snaps after the hit _ Ngata was penalized for unnecessary roughness _ but came back and played through the pain.
"It was extremely hard, I tried to do the best that I could in order to help the guys around me," he said. "They gave me time to make some plays and make some throws. I kept telling them to just give me time because my ribs were really bothering and hurting me. It was bothering me on a couple of throws, but I really wanted to cut it loose and it was kind of `grabbing’ me. I couldn’t really get what I wanted to put on the ball.
"This league is all about pressing on. With the division that we play in, I don’t think anybody at this time in the season is playing with 100 percent. There are a lot of guys that are banged up and beat up."
The Ravens (3-5) are hurting _ big time.
The defending Super Bowl champions have lost three straight, four of five and fell to 1-5 following a bye under Harbaugh.
"We’ve got our work cut out for us," Harbaugh said.
Here’s five other things we learned as the Browns snapped a three-game losing streak and punched their rival in the nose:
BOILED RICE: Has anyone seen Ray Rice?
The Browns held the Ravens’ running back to just 17 yards on 11 carries, a 1.5 average that is a career-low.
Rice hasn’t looked the same since hurting his hip in Week 2 against Cleveland. Rice’s best run Sunday may have been the one he made out of Baltimore’s locker room following the game as he was gone when it was opened to reporters.
BESS IN SHOW: One week after he cost the Browns a chance to upset Kansas City, Bess atoned.
He caught the two TD passes and made a diving catch on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter as the Browns were chewing up some clock and driving for a field goal that put them ahead by six.
Bess came in tied for the lead league in drops, but instead of hanging his head his past week, the sixth-year veteran went back to the basics and was rewarded.
"That’s life, man," he said. "It’s been a journey and I’m still on it. We all are. Just got to keep swinging."
AVERAGE JOE: Ravens QB Joe Flacco didn’t play like a Super Bowl MVP.
He completed 24 of 41 passes for 250 yards, but he started poorly _ 5 of 15_ and his longest completion came on a breakdown by Cleveland’s secondary. Flacco also threw a wobbler that was picked off by Joe Haden.
It wasn’t all Flacco’s fault, but the $120 million QB he didn’t do anything to make his teammates better.
LITTLE COMES UP BIG: Browns wide receiver Greg Little, best known for dropped passes and traffic citations, had his best game as a pro.
Little was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, but he finished with seven catches for 122 yards and battled through a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. In the first half, Little pulled off the helmet of Ravens safety James Ihedigbo and then taunted the defensive back after a hit near the sideline.
"He’s just trying to be a tough guy," Ihedigbo said. "Some guys that aren’t tough try to prove that they are tough."
GAMBLIN’ MAN: Browns coach Rob Chudzinski is a risk taker.
He twice gambled and went for it on fourth down and both times the Browns converted. His decision to eschew a field goal in the first half resulted in a touchdown, and Chudzinski boldly decided to have Campbell throw for a first down with 3:12, helping Cleveland snap its long losing streak against Baltimore.
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