CLEVELAND - The 2013 Browns have become a modern-day version of the 1980 "Kardiac Kids."
There haven't been the dramatic wins that characterized the 1980 Browns, but today's team makes things exciting with a go-for-it-all mentality displayed by first-year coach Rob Chudzinski.
Chudzinski has made no secret of his desire to go for it on fourth downs. In the 24-18 win over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, the Browns scored a touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Jason Campbell to Davone Bess on fourth-and-goal. Later in the game when faced with a critical fourth-and-1 call at the Ravens' 43, Chudzinski passed over a long field-goal try by Billy Cundiff for the first down. Campbell converted with a running throw to Bess for 3 yards.
"I expect to go for it on fourth-and-1," offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. "That's his mentality. In the offseason as soon as he got here he told us he was going to go for it on fourth down, and he was going to call fake punts and fake field goals, and he hasn't disappointed.
"I think that's built into his philosophy. That's the way he feels about playing the game. He has confidence in us, and he thinks it's a good risk to take."
The risk-taking has given the Browns a newfound swagger.
"This is a tough division," Chudzinski said. "We've been a kid brother in this division for a long time. You have to go play, and if you want to change that, then you have to do things to change it."
As a quarterback, Jason Campbell thrives on a coach that takes gambles. It's one more down to make something happen instead of giving the other team possession with a punt.
Chudzinski's style obviously plays well to the fans. Before he made the call to go for it on fourth down prior to Bess' touchdown reception, most of the fans in attendance were urging him to take the leap.
"They always say that 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.
"I think a couple of games ago in the Green Bay game, people are like, 'why are you trying to get the ball back late in the game?' As long as there's time on the clock, we're always going to keep fighting. We don't ever have that mindset of giving up or quitting. That builds a resilience in a young team to know that the coach isn't going to quit."
That attitude paid off Sunday.