CLEVELAND -- Travis Benjamin provided the spark Cleveland needed by returning a punt 93 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter Sunday. That put the Browns ahead to stay, and they went on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 30-7.
The victory was the third straight for the Browns, and it is their longest winning streak since they won the last four games in 2009. They are 5-8 and have won one more game than all of last season, when they lost nine of their last 10 games.
The Chiefs (2-11) suffered a severe loss in the first quarter when leading receiver Dwayne Bowe was knocked out of the game with a rib injury. The Chiefs led 7-0 at the time, and they did not recover.
"In my mind, the second half was the turning point," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. "We couldn't produce on either side of the ball."
Benjamin's return, the longest in Browns history, involved a bit of trickery. He was near the line of scrimmage as the teams were lining up for the punt, then dropped back to receive the punt as Josh Cribbs ran toward the line of scrimmage. After catching the punt, Benjamin moved to the right, veered to the middle, then cut to the left and outran his pursuers to the end zone.
"Every time my name is called I try to go on the field and make the most of it," Benjamin said. "The first guy ran by me, and when I saw nothing but brown jerseys, I knew it was going to be a touchdown."
The Browns added 20 points in the second half as Trent Richardson had two one-yard touchdown runs - one in the third quarter and one in the fourth.
The Browns and Chiefs started Sunday as the worst red-zone teams in the league statistically, and they played like it early in the game.
Chiefs' running back Jamaal Charles muzzled the Cleveland crowd on the first offensive play of the game when he blasted over right guard and continued running until he got to the end zone 80 yards later.
But the Browns adjusted, and the Chiefs had no counterpunch.
"You just have to stop the nose bleeds," Browns safety T.J. Ward said. "In the past, we might let a nose bleed keep running and affect us the rest of the game."
After forcing a punt, the Chiefs had a chance to take a 14-0 lead. They drove to the Browns 3-yard line where the drive stalled. After a false start, Ryan Succop's field goal try clinked off the left upright and was no good.
"We wanted a touchdown there," Browns quarterback Brady Quinn said. "We didn't execute in the plays prior."
The Browns drove to the Kansas City 2, and their drive stalled too, but Browns kicker Phil Dawson made his 23-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Benjamin's punt return gave the Browns the lead for good.
NOTES: Browns cornerback Dimitri Patterson played for the first time since suffering a partially torn left ankle ligament in the game against the Giants on Oct. 7...Tyson Hartman started at free safety in place of Kendrick Lewis for the Chiefs... Crennel returned to Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday for the first time since being fired as Browns head coach at the end of the 2008 season...Dawson kicked three field goals and now has made 302 in his 14-year career. He is the 25th kicker in NFL history to make 300 field goals.