BEREA, Ohio –The bye week comes at a perfect time for Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell because he can use the week away from football to allow his bruised ribs to heal.
Campbell was injured with 2:11 left in the first quarter Sunday when Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata fell on him an instant after Campbell was already on the ground. The football was between the ground and Campbell’s right side and his ribs took the brunt of the impact.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden finished the series, but the next time the Browns got the ball, Campbell was back in the game. He threw two more touchdown passes to go with the one before the injury and threw a critical 3-yard pass to wide receiver Davone Bess on fourth-and-1 with 3:12 left while the Browns were protecting a 21-18 lead. They ended up melting 6:30 off the clock and kicked a field goal with 14 seconds left.
Campbell spent close to an hour with doctors and trainers after the game. X-rays were taken. Now in his ninth year, Campbell said he has been playing long enough to know the ribs are not broken, but he said he had difficulty breathing.
“I kept telling (the team) to just give me time because my ribs were really bothering and hurting me,” Campbell said. “It was bothering me on a couple of throws. I really wanted to cut it loose and it was kind of grabbing me. I couldn’t really get what I wanted to put on the ball as far as speed and accuracy sometimes.”
Coach Rob Chudzinski is relieved the X-rays showed Campbell’s ribs are only bruised.
“I’m very happy he’s OK,” Chudzinski said Monday. “He played really well. You look at what he was able to do moving around and being able to extend plays, create plays. On fourth downs those were great throws and great plays that he made and Davone (Bess) made.
“You saw him from a leadership standpoint, the calmness out there, his presence with our younger guys and what he’s doing has really given us a lift.”
Campbell posted a 116.6 passer rating Sunday. He had a 105.4 passer rating in Kansas City on Oct. 27. He is the first Browns quarterback with back to back 100-plus passer ratings since Derek Anderson in 2007.
The Browns will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before beginning their bye. Chudzinski said he expects Campbell to practice Tuesday.
—Although only 4-5, the Browns have their best record through nine games since they were 5-4 in 2007. They finished 10-6 that year but missed the playoffs because they lost to the Steelers on a tiebreaker.