- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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After the game, Campbell had X-rays on his ribs. He judged based on his experience that they were not broken, but results of the X-rays will be announced probably on Monday. The chance he has broken ribs remains.
“I kept telling [the team] to just give me time because my ribs were really bothering and hurting me,” Campbell said. “It was bothering me on a couple of throws. 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 as far as speed and accuracy sometimes.
“But this league is all about pressing on.”
Campbell was hurt in the first quarter when he scrambled for a short gain. At the end of the run, Baltimore's mammoth defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tried to jump over a teammate, but tripped and his momentum put his entire 340 pounds on top of Campbell. To make it worse, the ball was between Campbell and the ground, which exaggerated the blow.
“I felt that one,” Campbell said. “I’m not even gonna tell you what was in my mind. That one was big.”
Though Ngata was penalized, nobody thought the hit was dirty. Campbell said Ngata came to him after the game to apologize. Ngata told the Browns quarterback he jumped so his teammate didn’t hit his legs, which caused the hit.
“Haloti is in the air while Jason Campbell is in the air,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Jason’s running and because he ends up landing on him it’s hard for me to understand why that’s called.”
“He’s not a dirty player,” Campbell said of Ngata. “He’s a really good, standup football player.”
That Campbell had the game he did with the physical problems he had was all the more impressive. He finished 23-for-35 with three touchdowns, no interceptions and 262 yards. He guided the Browns on a 6:30 drive in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory. On the drive, he scrambled for a first down on third down, hit Chris Ogbonnaya for 17 yards on second down and found Ogbonnaya again for 14. He also scrambled from the blitz to find a sliding Davone Bess for a fourth-and-1 conversion at the Baltimore 40 with just more than two minutes remaining.
That pass was the biggest play of the game.
“I’m not even sure I call the play right,” Campbell said with a smile.
But on that play, Campbell was again hit in the ribs as he threw. As he lay on the ground in pain, running back Willis McGahee came over.”
“We’re the old guys on the team,” Campbell said. “All I could hear was him, ‘Get up! Get up! I’m hurting, you got to get up.’ I was like, ‘Give me 10 seconds. I can’t even breathe here.’”
If Campbell has an injury that lingers, he’ll have an extra week to heal because the Browns have a bye. That would be good news to the team, because Campbell has stepped into the quarterback spot and played beyond every expectation.
In two starts, he’s thrown for 554 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
More important, his calm demeanor combined with an inner confidence seems to bring something the team needs, and appreciates.
Which is why he’d be missed if he is hurt worse than he thought. Campbell is basing his diagnosis on his experience.
The Browns will hold their breaths on the results of the X-rays.