KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a defense-dominated game on a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium as the Kansas City Chiefs subdued the Cleveland Browns 23-17.
The victory kept the Chiefs as the NFL's only undefeated team at 8-0 for the season. Cleveland (3-5) has lost three games in a row.
It was easily the toughest game of the first eight for the Chiefs. Cleveland's replacement quarterback, Jason Campbell, was making his first start for the Browns and had them in the game to the very end. He finished with two touchdown passes, no interceptions and helped with his legs as well, running out of a collapsing pocket and keeping possessions alive.
But the Kansas City defense turned up the heat in the fourth quarter and did not allow the Browns the tying or winning score. So far this season, the Chiefs have not allowed an opponent more than 17 points in any game.
Kansas City's offense had a strong first half, but then succumbed to the Browns' blitzing defense in the second half, as quarterback Alex Smith had little time to make a play and the Chiefs were unable to sustain any possessions to put points on the board.
The Chiefs' offense dominated possession time in the first half, holding the ball for 22:46. They produced 20 points on a pair of touchdown passes by Smith and two Ryan Succop field goals.
Those 3-pointers came from 42 and 35 yards and it was early in the second quarter when the Chiefs scored the game's first touchdown at the end of a 14-play, 82-yard drive that ate up 7:34 on the clock. The big play on the drive was a 23-yard scramble by Smith on a third-and-5 at the Browns' 35-yard line. Three plays later, he threw a screen pass to fullback Anthony Sherman, who scored on the 12-yard play. The PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 13-0 lead.
The Browns' offense did not have a first down until inside 3:30 to play in the first half, but suddenly Campbell got hot, hitting tight end Jordan Cameron for 19 yards and then wide receiver Josh Gordon for 39 yards and a touchdown. After the PAT, the Browns trailed 13-7.
Smith brought the Chiefs right back on the next possession, going 75 yards on six plays, using just 1:33 of the game clock. Charles had two carries for 31 yards in the drive. K.C.'s second touchdown pass of the game came on a 28-yard throw from Smith to wide receiver Dexter McCluster. The extra point pushed the Chiefs to a 20-7 lead with 1:11 to play in the half.
That was just enough time for Campbell to get the Browns in field-goal range and kicker Billy Cundiff was good from 44 yards, setting the halftime score at 20-10.
Cleveland had the first possession of the second half and Campbell got hot again, leading a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass to running back Fozzy Whittaker. Cundiff's PAT pulled the Browns within a field goal at 20-17.
All was quiet until there was less than 30 minutes remaining in the game, when Succop kicked a 40-yard field goal to set the final at 23-17.
Notes: Sherman's touchdown catch was the first of his three-year NFL career. ... Trade rumors have Gordon for weeks. With Tuesday's trade deadline approaching, he put on a showcase performance, catching five passes for 133 yards, including the touchdown. ... Browns WR/KR Travis Benjamin left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury ... Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles missed a third-quarter possession with a bruised knee, but returned the next time Kansas City had the ball.