CLEVELAND -- Browns cornerback Joe Haden was prophetic when he said last week that the defending Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens are not the Ravens of old. The even better news for the Browns is that they're not the same team, either, and quarterback Jason Campbell has a lot to do with it.
Campbell bounced back from an injury to his ribs suffered late in the first quarter and tied a career high with three touchdown passes to lead the Browns over the Ravens 24-18 on Sunday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. Campbell underwent X-rays after the game but doesn't believe he broke any ribs.
"I wasn't coming out of the game," Campbell said. "They would have to drag me out of the game. I wanted to stay out there with those guys and keep fighting. We talked all week about needing to get this win."
With the win, the Browns snapped their three-game losing streak and their 11-game skid against the Ravens, who prevailed 14-6 in the series Sept. 15 in Baltimore. It's the first time the Browns have defeated the Ravens since Nov. 18, 2007, the first time Ravens coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco have lost to the Browns and the first time the Ravens have fell coming off a bye during Harbaugh's six-year tenure.
"Like Joe (Haden) said, and I said too, they're not the same team as they were last year," nose tackle Phil Taylor said. "I don't know what's going on, but they're not the same team."
Although it's still early, the Browns (4-5) will now enter their Week 10 bye with a legitimate shot to become part of the postseason discussion if they can establish a winning streak after the break. Their next game Nov. 17 at the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) could have significant playoff implications. The Browns defeated the Bengals 17-6 on Sept. 29 in Cleveland. The Bengals and Ravens (3-5) will face each other Sunday.
"We know we're in the hunt," inside linebacker and defensive captain D'Qwell Jackson said. "That's all we can do at this point in time, just win enough games, stay in the hunt and we'll see where this season takes us."
In his second start for the Browns since supplanting benched quarterback Brandon Weeden, Campbell completed 23-of-35 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He posted a passer rating of 116.6, took three sacks and did not throw an interception, helping the Browns capture their first win since Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills.
With the Browns leading by three, coach Rob Chudzinski took a risk by aggressively electing to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Ravens' 43-yard line with 3:12 remaining. After the Browns took a timeout to talk about their play selection, Campbell rolled right under pressure and completed a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Davone Bess, who dived with cornerback Lardarius Webb on his heels to make the catch for a first down. Bess also caught two touchdown passes, redeeming himself after dropping three passes and fumbling a crucial punt last week in a 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
"We had the opportunity to take the game at that point," Chudzinski said. "It was a potential punt situation, but Baltimore was playing so well and was able to drive so well. I felt good about our guys and us being able to convert and get that first down right there. Jason made a whale of a play."
Campbell was shaken up after being hit while making the clutch throw.
"(Running back) Willis McGahee, we're the old guys on the team, I recall hearing, 'Get up. Get up. You've got to get up. I'm hurt. You've got to get up,' " said Campbell, 31. "I was going to get up, anyway. I'm like, 'Gosh, give me at least 10 seconds, I can't breathe right now.' "
Campbell later flipped the ball to fullback Chris Ogbonnaya for a 14-yard gain, and another 5 yards was tacked on because the Ravens were penalized for a horse-collar tackle. The Browns then ran the ball three times, and Billy Cundiff made a 22-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to extend their lead to 24-18. The 15-play, 67-yard drive allowed the Browns to take 6 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock. The Ravens ran two desperation plays at the end, but they never came close to scoring.
The Browns encountered quite a scare when inside linebacker Arthur Brown sacked Campbell, and 6-foot-4, 340-pound nose tackle Haloti Ngata knocked Campbell out of the game by falling on him. Weeden, who's 0-4 as a starter this season, replaced Campbell with 2:02 left in the first quarter and the drive fizzled. But fortunately for the Browns, Campbell missed only four offensive plays.
"He got banged up a bit and just to see him come back out, that gave the entire team a lift," Jackson said. "I can tell you that. I didn't expect him to come back and when I saw him come back, it just juiced everyone. Everyone was excited, and at that point, you got a sense of confidence throughout the entire team that we were going to do whatever it takes to win this game."
Campbell threw touchdown passes of 1 and 20 yards to Bess to lead the Browns to a 14-10 halftime lead. The first touchdown was a result of Chudzinski gambling on fourth-and-goal at the 1 instead of settling for a field goal.
Backup linebacker Eric Martin recovered Tandon Doss' muffed punt at the Ravens' 11 with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Two plays later, tight end Gary Barnidge ran uncovered off the line of scrimmage and caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Campbell, giving the Browns a 21-10 lead with 5:11 left in the third quarter.
Then the Browns held on to make a statement that they can no longer be pushed around in the AFC North. Chudzinski said last week that the Browns had been the little brother of the division for a long time, and that needed to end.
"I really don't feel like we're the little brothers," Haden said. "It's just different now. Our defense is different. Our offense is different. The players are different. The coaches are different. It always changes, but this time, it's changing for the better."
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