Jason Campbell put together a steady performance on Sunday in leading Cleveland to a victory.
In the hunt ... for real: Don’t look now, but the Browns are 4-5. In many cities, this would be a disappointment. In Cleveland it exceeds expectations. Few thought the Browns would enter the bye week in the midst of a wild-card chase. But it’s happened, in part because there aren’t many strong records in the wild-card group. Seven AFC teams have either four or five losses, and the Browns are one of them.
Why it matters: The Browns haven’t had a 4-5 start since 2007, which is also the last year they beat Baltimore. And Sunday’s win gave the Browns four wins over defending Super Bowl champions in the past six seasons. For a team that has won 23 games in five seasons coming into 2013, this is progress.
Where in the world ... : The Jason Campbell who has played quarterback for the Browns the past two games is a bit of a revelation -- not to overstate anything, of course. But his calm, placid personality belies his competitiveness. Campbell played through serious pain and discomfort after 340-pound Haloti Ngata fell on him in the first quarter. He would not be taken out of the game, and he made some outstanding throws. This is the Campbell Oakland saw for six games in 2011, but it’s also a Campbell nobody has seen since, including the Bears, who had no interest in bringing him back after last season.
Running on empty: Talk about a passing league. Neither Baltimore nor the Browns did anything in the run game. Willis McGahee was the leading rusher with 31 yards -- on 21 carries. Joe Flacco led the Ravens as Ray Rice averaged a career-low 1.5 yards on his 11 carries. Both quarterbacks had their team’s longest run. At least the Browns kept running. McGahee’s 21 carries continue an NFL trend -- when a team has a back that carries the ball 20 times, it wins three of four times.