On Sept. 29, 2019, the Ravens offered little to suggest they would post the NFL's best regular-season record when they allowed 530 yards to the Browns and future NFL MVP Lamar Jackson got picked off twice in a 40-25 loss to Cleveland.
"The Browns came in and dominated the football game in so many ways," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "They played a great football game, and they beat us handily. So, we’re certainly aware of that. You always remember those things."
Harbaugh pointed out the Ravens aren't putting that game in the category of revenge. For the Ravens, it's still "Remember the Titans" and that upset loss in the postseason still stings the most.
But that early season loss to the Browns helped shape this year's Baltimore defense. Browns running back Nick Chubb found creases to run for 165 yards, the second-most allowed by the Ravens in a regular-season game over the past two decades.
The biggest change to the Ravens this offseason was among their front seven. Baltimore traded a fifth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Campbell, signed Broncos free-agent defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and drafted Patrick Queen in the first round.
The Ravens' run defense will get tested by the Browns' new offensive scheme. Before Kevin Stefanski was hired as the new Cleveland coach, he was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, who were one of three teams to run the ball more times than they passed it last season. The others were the Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
"If I’m a coach, I’m going to see how the guys’ tackling is going to be," Campbell said, alluding to a summer of no preseason games or joint practices. "So, we expect to see a lot of runs. They’re a great running team. We have our hands full, but I think we’re ready for the challenge.”
Since that loss to the Browns, the Ravens have won a dozen straight regular-season games, which are four more than the previous longest win streak in franchise history. Over that span, Baltimore scored the most points (an average of 33 per game) and allowed the fewest (15.2).
The Ravens can become the first team to win 13 consecutive games since the Carolina Panthers strung together 18 straight victories in 2014 and 2015.
"I feel [that] we're right on schedule with everyone coming together," Jackson said. "Our offense is flying around, moving around great. Our defense is making plays out there on the field. I just can't wait until the real games come -- show the world."