Cleveland (3-5) at Kansas City (8-0)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Nov 9, 2003
  • TV: CBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Chiefs return from their bye week hoping to resume their perfect season as they host the short-handed Cleveland Browns.

Kansas City has rolled to an 8-0 start, the best in franchise history, and is the only undefeated team left in the league. The Chiefs have already set a franchise record for consecutive victories, and matched last season’s win total.

They haven’t been routing opponents as four of the wins have been decided by seven points or fewer, with two coming down to the final play.

“I don’t think anybody on this team really believes anything strange is going on here,” said cornerback Eric Warfield. “But we do believe in coach (Dick) Vermeil.”

After a number of close calls, Kansas City routed Buffalo 38-5 on Oct. 26.

“Chances are, we’re a playoff team, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to be a Super Bowl team,” Vermeil said.

The Chiefs’ defense allowed 89 yards rushing after halftime to Buffalo running back Travis Henry. But Kansas City should have a little less to worry about with Cleveland’s William Green suspended for one game by coach Butch Davis.

Green, arrested last week on charges of driving under the influence and marijuana possession, will sit out the game.

“It’s an unfortunate thing,” Davis said. “He’s embarrassed. He’s disappointed. We’re disappointed, but we’re going to move on. There has to be accountability and there has to be consequences.”

Davis said he has not yet heard from the NFL regarding any further punishment of Green, the Browns’ leading rusher who was twice suspended for marijuana use while at Boston College.

Green’s suspension will put even more pressure on the Browns’ struggling offense, which has been ravaged by injuries and plagued by inconsistency.

“We haven’t been consistent on offense in any particular phase, that’s a fair and accurate assessment,” Davis said. “We haven’t run the ball effectively or efficiently. We haven’t thrown the ball. We haven’t caught the ball. We haven’t protected. At times, we’ve done some things consistently and some of it has been very good and some of it has been poor.”

While Green will be out, Davis did say that quarterback Kelly Holcomb will start for the first time since Sept. 21. Holcomb had missed five starts with a broken leg, but relieved Tim Couch in the last two games.

James Jackson will start in Green’s place as Cleveland will try to make another second-half run to the playoffs. Jackson had 71 yards on 14 carries in a 9-3 loss to New England on Oct. 26.

Through eight games last season, the Browns were 4-4 and averaging 23.1 points per game, compared to 14.4 this year.

“We’re just not making plays,” rookie center Jeff Faine said. “We’re not executing as well as we can and we’re making too many mistakes. It’s been surprising to me.”

Cleveland was able to rebound from its bye week last season and go 5-2 to earn a playoff spot. As a member of the balanced AFC North, there’s still hope this season.

“We’ve rested on what we did last year way too long already,” guard Shaun O’Hara said. “Last year was last year. This is a different team, different chemistry, different season. Hopefully we learned a little bit from last year.”

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