What it means: The Chiefs, the last of the NFL’s unbeaten teams, raised their record to 8-0 and assured themselves of retaining sole possession of first place in the AFC West regardless of how the Denver Broncos fare in their late-afternoon game against the Washington Redskins.
Stock watch: The Chiefs entered the game leading the NFL in sacks with 35 but were held without one by the Browns until the fourth quarter. Justin Houston got the sack, but even then it was the product of good coverage downfield more than great pressure by the Chiefs. Tamba Hali had been one of the league’s hottest pass-rushers, but matched up mostly against left tackle Joe Thomas, he rarely got close to Cleveland quarterback Jason Campbell. Cornerback Sean Smith had a rough game, first biting on a flea flicker to leave Josh Gordon alone for Cleveland’s first touchdown, and later getting beaten deep by tight end Jordan Cameron. Quarterback Alex Smith had one of his most productive games. He threw a pair of touchdown passes, his first in four weeks. Dexter McCluster had seven receptions, including a 28-yard touchdown.
Unproductive second-half offense: After rolling up 20 points in the first half, the Chiefs were scoreless in the second half until Ryan Succop kicked a field goal with 17 seconds left. The Browns had allowed 31 points in each of their previous two games. The Chiefs even got a break in the fourth quarter when Cleveland’s Davone Bess, who had possession at one point, fumbled a punt return without being hit. The Chiefs recovered near midfield, but couldn’t take advantage of the favorable field position. Smith was sacked five times in the second half.
What’s next: The Chiefs are back on the road for the first time in almost a month when they travel to play the Buffalo Bills next Sunday. The last time the Chiefs were undefeated so late in the season was 2003, when they beat the Browns at Arrowhead Stadium to go 9-0. They went on the road the following week and lost to Cincinnati.