Browns' Davone Bess redeems himself, makes head coach Rob Chudzinski's aggressive calls pay off
Connor Kiesel, newsnet5.com
1:16 AM, Nov 4, 2013
1:30 AM, Nov 4, 2013
CLEVELAND - Davone Bess was just hoping not to drop the ball this time.
How the critical fourth down in the waning minutes of Sunday's game played out was uncannily similar to one week ago in Kansas City – except for the result.
"The guy got a pretty good jam on me," Bess said. "I turned around on my route and saw Jason scrambling and it looked exactly how it was last week."
Quarterback Jason Campbell joked after the game that he wasn't sure he even called the 4th and 1 play, which he tabbed as the game's biggest, correctly.
"It was a play where we were trying to get something quick and get the ball out of our hands but also make sure we get the first down," Campbell said.
Campbell did not, however, want to just throw it if someone was not open. So he bought himself time.
"He was rolling," Bess said. "He threw it at me and I just came over and caught it."
No pain-staking drop this time for Bess, as was the case on the late-game 4th and 7 against the Chiefs, when Campbell again rolled to his right avoiding pressure, threw across his body and put the ball on target.
"I dropped the one last week and that definitely went through my head - didn't want to make the same mistake," Bess said.
With 3:12 left in the game, Bess' fourth down grab continued the drive that sealed the Browns' 24-18 win over the division-rival Ravens.
It was Bess' second key fourth down grab of the game, making good on his head coach's aggressive decision-making.
Early in the game, Rob Chudzinski kept the offense on the field on a 4th and goal at the 1. Bess came through with a one-yard touchdown catch at 8:24 in the first quarter.
"I think it was important in this game for our guys to have the mentality to play to win and that drive I think exemplified that," Chudzinski said.
The fourth quarter fourth down call marked an opportunity to take the game.
"It was a potential punt situation but Baltimore was playing so well and able to drive so well I felt good about our guys and us being able to convert that first down," Chudzinski said. "Jason made a whale of a play. He scrambled, bought himself time. Davone kept working to get open...and a huge play."
The veteran receiver caught just three passes but all were instrumental to the victory. His second of the game was his second touchdown, a 20-yard catch and run on a crafty juke move that fooled Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb.
Bess never lost the faith of his head coach, even with his struggles in Kansas City.
"I trust him and I know the type of person he is," Chudzinski said."He's gonna bounce back from the week before. You get to know people and you get to trust people and feel about them in that way. Davone Bess is one of those people."
Just as Bess rewrote his own script, the Browns did too against the Ravens, to whom they had lost their previous 11 meetings.
"It's been a long time since we beat Baltimore," offensive lineman Joe Thomas said. "It's kind of a hill that we've had trouble getting to the top of and to be able to finally do that I think is building confidence going into the bye week."
The Browns' last victory against the Ravens came back in 2007, Thomas' rookie season, when Phil Dawson hit a 51-yard game-winner that bounced off the left upright, then the crossbar before going through the goalposts.
Finally, the monkey is off their backs.
"We've been the kid brother in this division for a long time," Chudzinski said. "If you want to change that, you have to do things to change it. I think that the guys' approach this week was outstanding. They believed and it's a matter of actions and getting it done on the field and we were able to get it done today."
It was a belief Chudzinski helped instill in his players.
"Coach Chud just let us know that hey, it's time to end this, end this beating we're taking," former Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger said. "This one means a lot because not only did we do what we know we can do, at the same time it's a conference game and it puts us in a really nice position."
His quarterback agreed.
"They always say you resemble your head coach," Campbell said. "When it gets tough, we fight even harder. I think a lot of that comes because our coach is that way. He doesn't quit."
Despite being under .500 at 4-5, the Browns sit in second place in the AFC North with two division wins and a pivotal matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals looming after the bye week.
So just how big is this win for the Browns' season?
"It's too early to say if this is the biggest," said linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, another guy who was around for that last triumph over Baltimore. "I'll tell you that down the road when we win some more games and we'll see really the significance of this win. Right now, we know we're in the hunt."