CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The streak is dead.
At long last, the Cleveland Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens.
Jason Campbell tied a career-high with 3 touchdown passes – 2 to Davone Bess – and Greg Little recorded a career-high 7 catches for 122 yards to lead the Browns to a 24-18 win Sunday to end a 3-game losing streak and the 11-game domination by Baltimore.
“It’s a big win for us, for our organization and our guys in the locker room,” head coach Rob Chudzinski said. “I think our team and our guys showed the type of toughness and resiliency that they’ve shown all season.”
Cleveland improved to 4-5 to stay in the AFC North race with the win while the defending Super Bowl champs slipped to 3-5 and have lost 4 of 5.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, quarterback Joe Flacco, and running back Ray Rice had never lost to the Browns until Sunday.
It was Campbell, Bess, Little and the defense’s day.
The Browns sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco 5 times and held Ray Rice to 17 yards on 11 carries. The 1.5 yards per carry was a career low for Rice in a game according to STATS LLC.
After slow starts the last 3 games, the Browns came out firing in the first quarter.
Campbell hit Little in double coverage for 32 then threw a 27-yard strike to Josh Gordon to set up first and goal at the 6. After a completion to Chris Ogbonnaya to the 1, Chudzinski went for it on fourth and goal.
Campbell found Bess inside the goal line for the TD to cap the 8-play, 80-yard drive to give the Browns a 7-0 lead on the Ravens – their first lead since a 17-14 fourth quarter lead on Detroit Oct. 13.
“I think it was important in this game for our guys to have the mentality to play to win,” Chudzinski said. “That drive, I think, exemplified that, and we were able to convert on it fortunately and get the score on it.”
With the Ravens driving, Quentin Groves sacked Flacco for a 9-yard loss to force Justin Tucker to kick a 51-yard field goal – a season long – to trim the Browns lead to 7-3 with 3:38 to play in the first.
Campbell departed for 4 plays after Haloti Ngata was flagged for unnecessary roughness after flattening him on a third and 8. Brandon Weeden came on briefly and the Browns punted.
“I wasn’t coming out,” 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. I just thought the guys on both sides of the ball fought extremely hard.”
Campbell, who sustained a rib injury and underwent X-rays after the game, returned on the next series.
“I don’t really know the severity of it yet, but I doubt that they are broken,” Campbell said.
Campbell found Bess, who juked Ladarius Webb out of his shoes at the 10, for a 20-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead with 10:08 to play in the half.
“I didn’t really make it a personal deal,” Bess said. “We knew what kind of game this was gonna be. I was just excited and happy to be there for my teammates. When the plays were called, coaches did a great job putting me in a position to make the play and just execute it.”
The teams exchanged turnovers in the second quarter.
Willis McGahee was stripped by Pernell McPhee and James Ihedigbo recovered the fumble at the Browns 38 on a run up the middle but the Browns defense held and forced a 3 and out. Ihedigbo drew 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Little as well
Tashaun Gipson tipped a Flacco pop up pass deep down the field up in the air and Joe Haden came down with it for his first interception of the season at the 23 with 3:18 to play in the half.
“This is one of the biggest wins for us,” Haden said. “This game right here, just hearing about how they’ve been beating us down for such a long time and it’s finally like we just stepped up and we’re not accepting that anymore.”
Before the half, Haden and Gipson got beat and Flacco found Torrey Smith wide open for 46 yards to give Baltimore life at the Browns 19. Flacco then hit Marlon Brown for a 19-yard TD with :09 on the clock before the half to cut the Browns lead to 14-10.
After exchanging offensive series to open the second half, the Browns caught a big break when Tandon Doss muffed a Spencer Lanning punt and Eric Barton recovered the loose ball at the Ravens 11 for the Browns.
2 plays later, Cambell threw a 4-yard pass to a wide open Gary Barnidge for 4-yard TD and a 21-10 Browns lead with 5:11 to play in the third quarter.
Doss made up for the muffed punt with a 36-yard punt return to set the Ravens up at the Browns’ 32 to open the final quarter. Flacco found Brown for the second time – this time from 7 yards out – to pull within 21-16. Baltimore went for 2 and the duo hooked up on the conversion to make it a 3-point game with 12:09 to play.
After forcing the Browns to punt on the ensuing possession, Flacco kept Baltimore’s drive alive with a run on a fourth and inches at their own 39 with 8:58 left. Jabaal Sheard ended it 3 plays later when he sacked Flacco in third down to force a punt.
Campbell and the Browns put it away from there. Aided by a sliding catch by Bess for a first-down on a 4th and 1 at the Ravens 43, Cleveland was able to chew 6:30 off the clock and kick a 22-yard field goal to close out their first win since 2007 over the Ravens.
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