It’s going to be a fun bye week Browns fans. Your team beat a division rival. They beat them without a lot of gimmicks or tricks. Your team stood up and played to their capabilities and just flat out beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-18. Yes, this team has lost tons of players since last season, but they’re still the defending Super Bowl champs and your Browns beat them.
It wasn’t all cakes and pies. Browns fans got a peek at Brandon Weeden after Jason Campbell was the recipient of a pancake courtesy of Haloti Ngata. Ngata is the same player that had a lot to do with the gnashing of teeth over the Cleveland Browns trading with Pittsburgh on draft day this year, by the way. The last time the Browns traded in the division, they swapped picks with the Ravens so that they could take Ngata. The Browns took Kamerion Wimbley. But let’s not go down that road. Despite the momentary taste of Weeden, Jason Campbell came back to play and play well.
Campbell was 23 of 35 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. That’s good for a 116.6 rating. More importantly than anything, he didn’t turn the ball over. There were a few dangerous passes, but he got away with them thanks to guys like Greg Little and Davone Bess. Little was beastly with seven catches for 122 yards. His most impressive play was a 46 yard game where he made a very good run after the catch. Davone Bess, followed up a dismal week where some claimed he should be cut with two TD catches and a pivotal fourth down catch to convert a first. That was late in the fourth quarter with the Browns desperate to keep the offense on the field. Thanks to Campbell and Bess, they did.
Joe Flacco wasn’t sharp and the Browns defense had more than a little to do with it. They were a little inconsistent getting to the QB, but it’s difficult to complain about the team amassing five sacks. Chris Owens, T.J. Ward, Armonty Bryant, Jabaal Sheard, and Quentin Groves got the sacks. That’s what I mean by uneven. No Mingo. No Paul Kruger.
The defense could have folded too. They gave up a really bad touchdown to end the first half. Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson botched the coverage handoff as Torrey Smith escaped for 46 yards with a minute to go. He caught the Flacco pass all the way to the Browns 19 and the Ravens ended up punching it in to cut the Browns’ halftime lead to 14-10. The defense could have easily wilted under their failure to end the half, but they didn’t.
And the Cleveland Browns didn’t. Another game featuring a QB not named Weeden was largely a success. I’ll save those questions for another day too about how Weeden ended up with so many opportunities this season as he has been so much worse. No matter. The Browns have a guy at the helm who does enough to keep them in games at minimum. And he proved today that he can even win the Browns a game. One against the hated Baltimore Ravens. A division rival. The team that beat the Browns 11 straight prior to today.
It’s a good day. It’s a fun bye week. You’ve earned it Browns fans. Enjoy it.