Bess bounces back in big way for Browns
CLEVELAND — On Thursday, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said that the Browns needed other players to make plays and they were obviously listening.
“We have to find a way to get everyone involved in our offense,” Turner said. “Right now, Jordan (Cameron) and Josh (Gordon) are making most of the plays in the passing game and we need to get everyone involved because at some point, if you only have two guys really making a lot of plays, pretty soon they can dry up.”
And get involved they did.
Davone Bess and Greg Little had big days when the Browns needed them the most. Bess finished with just three receptions for 24 yards, including two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Little caught seven passes for 122 yards (17.4 avg.) and had catches of 46- and 32-yards.
“We have a lot of players, the coaches do a great job getting all of us looks, getting us all the ball and making plays,” Bess said. “The more and more we all can make plays, the more versatile we can be, the harder it is to cover us.”
Bess came into the game leading the NFL with nine dropped passes, including a couple of big ones in the loss last week to Kansas City. However, he atoned for that quickly. The first two passes thrown his way were for touchdowns. His third reception was on fourth-and-one and he made a diving three-yard catch for a first down that effectively allowed the Browns to run out the clock and preserve a 24-18 win.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski was asked why he had confidence in Bess after his drops last week against the Chiefs.
“Because I trust him and because I know the type of person he is that he’s going to bounce back from the week before,” he said. “You get to know people and you get to trust people and feel about them in this way and Davone Bess is one of those people.”
The first score gave the Browns a 7-0 lead as he caught the ball from Jason Campbell as he was hit by two defenders. His second touchdown was a short crossing route on third-and-three. He caught the pass at about the Ravens’ 15 and put a move on Lardarius Webb and scooted into the end zone for the score to give the Browns a 14-3 lead with 10:08 left in the second quarter.
However, Bess’ biggest catch might have been with the game on the line on fourth-and-one as he dove and secured the three-yard pass to allow the Browns to run out the clock.
“It was a huge play, probably the biggest play of the game,” Campbell said. “I was so happy for him to come back in a similar situation from a week ago and step up to make a play to get open. I couldn’t be more proud of a guy. Davone made a great play and played a great game overall.”
Bess was thankful for the opportunity.
“I dropped the one last week and that definitely went through my head, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.”
Little had his second career 100-yard game with seven receptions for 122 yards. He injured his shoulder on a 46-yard completion, but returned. He also had a 32-yard reception on the Browns’ first scoring drive. Chudzinski was asked about Little’s contribution.
“It’s huge,” he said. “That’s the kind of team you want to have is where if it’s a Josh or if it’s Jordan, if people are focusing on them and taking them away, that you have other options and those guys are producing when they have their opportunities. Greg made some great catches today, some big plays for us…Greg really stepped up his game today and it was great to see.”
— Campbell injured his ribs with 1:48 to play in the first quarter when DL Haloti Ngata landed on him, but he only missed four plays. Campbell was replaced by Brandon Weeden, who was 1-of-2 for -2 yards. Campbell returned on the next series and played the remainder of the game.
Campbell was 23-of-35 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed three times for 20 yards. His rating was 116.6. Campbell is 46-of-75 for 561 yards (61.3 pct.) with five touchdowns and no interceptions. His overall rating is 106.6. He had a 146.7 rating at halftime going 13-of-19 for 142 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked three times, all in the first half.
Campbell said he was in pain the remainder of the game but didn’t want to come out.
“I wanted to stay out there and keep fighting,” he said. “We talked all week about needing this win.
“It was extremely hard (to play),” he said. “The guys rallied around me. The ribs really bothered me because I wanted to really cut loose but it bothered me.”
Campbell had X-rays and said he’ll find out later Sunday night or Monday the results. He said he’s been around long enough to know when something is broken and didn’t think his ribs were broken. He was asked if the Browns played next Sunday if he could play.
“I’m pretty sure I would (play),” he said. “I don’t think anyone plays at 100 percent (at this point of the season). Guys are banged up and beat up.”
Ngata drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Campbell, but Campbell said he sought him out after the game.
“He came to me afterwards and apologized to me.”
Chudzinksi was impressed with Campbell’s play.
“I thought that the job Jason Campbell did again this week, and just looking at it, he was hurting out there and he was able to keep fighting through and was able to make some huge plays,” he said. “He made some big-time throws and was able to convert on some fourth downs and really make some key plays for us to get the win.”
— Two of the biggest plays in the game were when Chudzinski went for it on fourth down twice. With 8:24 left in the first quarter and the game scoreless, Chudzinski went for the touchdown from the one-yard line on rather than kick the field goal. Campbell threw a one-yard pass to Bess for the score.
“I felt good about what we had game plan-wise to be able to score,” Chudzinski said. “I think it was important in this game for our guys to have the mentality to play to win.”
In the fourth quarter, with 3:12 to play at the Ravens’ 43, Chudzinski elected to go for it again rather than punt. Campbell threw a three-yard pass to Bess for the first down, which effectively allowed the Browns to run out the clock.
“The one late in the game, fourth down as well, we had an opportunity on fourth-and-one or fourth-and-short,” he said. “We had the opportunity to take the game at that point and it was a potential punt situation, but Baltimore was playing so well and was able to drive so well. I felt good our guys and us being able to convert and get that first down right there.
“Jason made a whale of of a play,” he said. “He scrambled, bought himself time, Davone kept working to get open and it was a huge play.”
Campbell said the Browns like their coaches aggressive mentality.
“We knew we were going to go for it,” Campbell said. “We practice that probably more than anyone in the league. We wanted to finish the game right there and the guys did an outstanding job.”
— The Browns defeated the Ravens for the first time since the 2007 season, stretching 11 games in a row. Campbell said he was happy for OL Joe Thomas and LB D’Qwell Jackson, who had endured the most of the losses.
“For guys like Joe and D’Qwell it was a sigh of relief,” he said.
— The Browns are 4-5 heading to the bye week with the AFC North-leading Bengals next on the schedule. The Bengals are 6-3.
Campbell said this was a big game for the Browns.
“I think it’s a growing situation for us,” he said. “To get back into the race, it was a must win.”
The Ravens dropped to 3-5 and the Steelers are 2-6.
— PR Tandon Doss fumbled a punt with 5:50 to play in the third quarter and LB Eric Martin recovered at the Ravens’ 11. Two plays later, Campbell threw to TE Gary Barnidge for a four-yard touchdown with 5:11 to play. It gave the Browns a 21-10 lead. It was Barnidge’s only reception and his first touchdown of the season for the Browns. He has seven catches on the season.
— The Browns held the Ravens to just 55 yards rushing on 21 carries. RB Ray Rice had just 17 yards on 11 carries for just 1.5 yards per carry. QB Joe Flacco led the Ravens with 25 yards on three carries.
— RB Willis McGahee had a rough day with 21 carries for just 31 yards for a dismal 1.5 average. His longest run was for 7 yards. He also fumbled and the Ravens recovered at the Browns’ 38. As a team, the Browns rushed for just 73 yards on 28 carries (2.6 avg.). However, the Browns still out rushed the Ravens 73-55.
— CB Joe Haden made his first interception of the season after DB Tashaun Gipson tipped a pass intended for WR Jacoby Jones.
“I got a triple move with Torrey Smith,” Haden said. “So, I was just running back there with him when I saw (Flacco) throw the ball, I knew it was high. I didn’t know how far it was going to go so I saw Gipson right under it. I was just waiting behind for Gipson to get the pick and as soon as it got tipped I was like, ‘Oh, thank you, my chance is now,’ so I just went and tried to dive and pick it off.”
— The Browns started the game with a three-and-out. The only score this year on the first drive was a field goal.
— P Spencer Lanning punted six times for 303 yards for an average of 50.5 yards, including a long of 57 yards.
— The Browns sacked Flacco five times. DB Chris Owens, DL Armonty Bryant, LB Quentin Groves, DB T.J. Ward and LB Jabaal Sheard all had sacks. Ward’s was on third-and-15 in the second half which took the Ravens out of field goal range. Sheard’s sack in the fourth quarter with 6:44 to play forced the Ravens to punt.
— Other than Campbell, Chudzinski listed TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring), LB Quentin Groves (ankle), LB Eric Martin (knee) and LB Darius Eubanks (head) with injuries.
— DL Billy Winn lined up as fullback on third-and-one from the Ravens’ 43 with 3:58 left. McGahee ran for no gain. It was Winn’s first game back from a quad injury. He was filling in for Gray, who left with a hamstring injury.
— Winn was active for the first time since he was injured in the third game of the season against the Vikings. LB Quentin Groves was also active after missing last week’s game with the Chiefs. Other inactives: OL Martin Wallace, OL Patrick Lewis, OL Garrett Gilkey, OL Reid Fragel, DL Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, TE Keavon Milton and LB Paul Hazel. Ravens in actives were: WR Brandon Stokley, S Brynden Trawick, RB Bernard Scott, OL Kalechi Osemele, OL Ryan Jensen, DE DeAngelo Tyson and LB John Simon.
— Former Browns OL Tom DeLeone was the honorary alumni captain. DeLeone played for the Browns from 1974-84.