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Campbell displays toughness in win

Posted Nov 4, 2013

Despite playing most of the game with bruised ribs, Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell led the team to a 24-18 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.


If Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell had yet to earn the respect of his teammates and coaches prior to Sunday’s 24-18 win over the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, he certainly did after returning to the field after suffering an injury in the first quarter.

The Browns faced a third-and-eight from their own 22-yard line when Campbell scrambled from the pocket and was tripped up at the line of scrimmage. That was when Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, a 6-foot-4, 340-pound imposing figure on Baltimore’s front, landed on the back of the veteran quarterback and temporarily knocked him out of the game.

However, Campbell was able to return on the next drive, played through the pain, matched a career high with three touchdown passes and engineered four scoring drives in the victory.

“Jason Campbell has bruised ribs,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “His x-rays were negative. He’ll probably practice tomorrow.

“Based on him grimacing and it was bothering him, and just seeing him out there and continuing to push through it, I know he’s tough. Just talking to him and looking at him, there was no way he was going to come out of that game and miss out for his teammates.”

Despite the pain, Campbell completed 23 of 35 attempts for 262 yards and the three touchdowns without throwing an interception. He carried a 116.6 quarterback rating against the Ravens, a team the Browns had not beaten in their last 11 tries before Sunday.

“I’m very happy that he’s okay, and he played really well,” Chudzinski said. “You just look again at what he was able to do, moving around and being able to extend plays, create plays, the fourth downs, he was huge.

“He made some great throws and great plays in critical, critical situations. From a leadership standpoint, you saw the calmness out there, the ability on that final drive to make plays and extend that drive when it was crunch time at a critical point in the game, and his presence with the younger guys and what he’s doing has really given us a lift.”

Campbell came to the Browns after spending the 2012 season backing up Jay Cutler with the Chicago Bears. Prior to last season, Campbell had his two-year run with the Oakland Raiders cut short due to a broken collarbone suffered, ironically, in a win over the Browns in 2011.

In addition to the physical skills that he brings to the team, Campbell uses his veteran experience to help lead, something he demonstrated after falling on the football with a 340-pound Ngata landing on his back.

“Jason has played a lot more than any of our guys here, and so, you see it during the week knowing what to expect in different situations and the questions he asks,” Chudzinski said. “He’s been through it, and then, when you get out on the field, he had been there before. There’s a calmness, a sense of confidence that our guys have and that I have in him and he has in himself that he’s done it before. That really helped us.

“Since April, I’ve seen him get better at a lot of things. I think he’s really sped up his feet and his decision-making, and I think a lot of credit goes to (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) and working with him in that area and him working on that himself when he’s not actually getting a ton of reps. I just can’t say enough about Jason as a professional and as a person and what he’s done here in a number of different areas.”

HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE

During a conference call with the media Monday, Chudzinski was quick to thank the 71,513 fans in attendance Sunday. He credited their passion for supporting the team as a motivating factor for the Browns.

“I want to really thank our fans,” Chudzinski said. “They were awesome yesterday, and they make a real difference for us. They make it tough on the other team, communication for the other team’s offense, being able to play, and our guys feed off the energy that the crowd provides. I really appreciate that.”

IDENTIFYING THE POSITIVES

After breaking down the game film from Sunday’s victory over the Ravens, Chudzinski recognized that the Browns had “a lot of positives,” including the ability to start well and using the total team philosophy to secure a win.

“All three phases really contributed,” Chudzinski said. “The guys made plays when they had to in critical situations, which is something we were able to do in this game that in some of the other games, we haven’t been able to do. Offensively, the early drives were key. Our performance in the red zone and in the four-minute drive at the end of the game were huge.

“Defensively, I thought we did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage, which helped us keep their run game in check. We were also able to get good rush on (Ravens quarterback Joe) Flacco. Our pass coverage was solid for the most part, with a couple of exceptions. We had some big stops on defense, even when Baltimore had some drives going. We were able to prevent them from getting in the end zone or scoring points.”

COMPENSATING FOR LOSSES

The Browns lost several players for part of or the rest of the game against the Ravens because of injuries. And nowhere were those injuries more prevalent than on the special teams, as linebackers Quentin Groves and Eric Martin were two of the many who missed time on the field.

“We had a number of injuries yesterday to some of our special-teams guys that caused them to either come out of the game for portions, or come out of the game for the rest of the game,” Chudzinski said. “We had four phase special-teamers who were hurt at different points of the game. Those guys had to do a lot of shuffling around, and did a great job of managing those injuries during the course of the game.”

INJURY UPDATES

In addition to Campbell’s injured ribs, Chudzinski gave updates on wide receiver Greg Little, tight end Marqueis Gray, linebackers Darius Eubanks, Eric Martin and Groves.

Little suffered a should sprain, but there is a good chance he will practice Tuesday, as will Eubanks (cleared for potential concussion), and Martin (knee). Gray and Groves will be held out of the on-field drills when the team goes back to work.