Up 21-18, Campbell, under a heavy pass rush from Baltimore, found the much-maligned Davone Bess for a clutch three-yard completion on a fourth-and-one from the Ravens’ 43-yard-line for a big first down, and in essence, clinch Cleveland‘s first win over the Super Bowl champion Ravens in five years, and end their 11-game losing streak to the former Browns in Cleveland.
For the game, Campbell completed 23-of-35 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns—two of them to the fore-mentioned Bess, one to tight end Gary Barndridge, but none of them was more critical than his short three yard completion to Bess.
Heck, even Greg Little was catching everything in sight, in hauling in seven catches for 122 yards. Yet, once again, display his immaturity in being flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct for taunting, negating two big completions by Campbell.
Forgive this writer, and his fellow Browns fans for never getting the chance to see a real and proven veteran quarterback post such—dare I say, real quarterback numbers—after the shameless parade of imposters and pretenders under center in Cleveland ranging from Tim Couch to Weeden, forgive the loyal, yet border-line sado-masochists that call themselves members of Dawg Pound Nation for having a case of NFL Quarterback Stockholm Syndrome.
Other than the horrific—and thankfully—brief cameo of Weeden, due to a rib injury to Campbell, registered a QB rating of 56.2, and look like his usual deer-in-the-headlights and scared self in the process, Cleveland looks like a completely different team.
Looking at their first nine games, and under Weeden, the Browns couldn’t beat Brian Hoyer’s alma mater, Cleveland St. Ignatius in going 0-4, whereas under both Hoyer and Campbell, the team is 4-1.
Do the math, readers.
Going into this game, I felt that the Browns were not only due, but were more than able to beat Baltimore, using the simple logic of the hapless Weeden nearly beating the Ravens in Baltimore, and Campbell being four Bess drops and one fumble away from shocking the league vs. Kansas City, so the Browns—thanks to a underrated and relentless defense were set to give Joe Flacco problems, and they finally did.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the different body language and more composed presence that the nine-year veteran in Campbell brings to the huddle. While he isn’t as mobile or nimble as Hoyer, Campbell has a better arm, in averaging 7.4 yards per attempt, and enough mobility to only get sacked once in 41 drop backs, which is key since the Browns have a suspect offensive line.
While we may never know why Campbell wasn’t given his chance to start earlier is still unknown, but after two solid performances, Campbell has earned the starting job for the rest of the season going forward, and that is a very easy—and obvious—decision, if there ever was one, for Rob Chudzinski to make if there ever was one.
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