Sunday, November 3, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cleveland Browns
By Pat McManamon
CLEVELAND -- A few thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 24-18 win over the Baltimore Ravens:
What it means: The Browns can think about competing in the AFC North. Only one team in the division is over .500, and that’s the Bengals. But they lost their best defensive player to a knee injury when Geno Atkins went down in Thursday night’s game. The Browns are 4-5, one-half game ahead of the Ravens and one-and-a-half behind the Bengals, with a game in Cincinnati after the bye. Cleveland is in second place and after everything that’s happened this season can actually think about doing something the final seven games other than playing out the string.
Stock watch: Jason Campbell is here to stay. Or until he gets hurt. Campbell shrugged off an early late hit when 340-pound Haloti Ngata fell on him after a scramble to throw three touchdown passes against a Ravens defense that should have been rested and organized after a bye week. Instead, Campbell played the same kind of calm, composed game he played in Kansas City. In two games, he has zero interceptions and five touchdown passes.
The swarm: The Browns' defense made the Ravens look pretty bad at times with their combination of pressure and blitzes. The Browns were aggressive against the run, and attacking against the pass. It made Joe Flacco look bad, and never let noted Browns-killer Ray Rice get going. If the Browns get consistent effort like that the rest of the season, they will be in a lot of games.
End of the streak: The Browns had lost 11 games in a row to Baltimore heading into the game. Coach Rob Chudzinski said the division had treated the Browns like a kid brother and it was time for the team to step up. They did, and despite trading their starting running back and using three different starting quarterbacks they are in second place in the division nine games into the season.
What's next: The Browns have their bye week and won’t play again until Nov. 17 when they visit Cincinnati to play the Bengals.