Heading into this week's game, some Cleveland Browns fans were projecting a blowout against the worst team in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs. Other fans were nervous that there would be a letdown. After all, it's not very often that the Browns win three consecutive games, or are favored by a touchdown at home. Although things were a little tense after how things started in the first quarter, in the end, the Browns more than delivered with a 30-7 victory.
The part that had Browns fans nervous involved the first eight minutes of the first quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles went 80 yards for a touchdown, giving Kansas City a quick 7-0 lead. The Browns punted shortly thereafter, and quarterback Brady Quinn stunned everyone with a 23- and 47-yard hookup with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, setting the Chiefs up with a 1st-and-goal from the 4 yard line.
The Browns' goal-to-go defense held strong, though, forcing a field goal. Ryan Succop's short attempt was pulled and bounced off the uprights, keeping it a one-touchdown game. I suppose you could call that the turning point of the game, although against a team like the Chiefs, I still think Cleveland could've rallied comfortably.
Cleveland's offense sputtered throughout the first half, but the special teams unit came up with the play of the game. On the first play of the second quarter, the Chiefs were set to punt. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin originally lined up as a gunner, with Joshua Cribbs back to return. Then, Cribbs raced toward the line of scrimmage, and Benjamin ran back for the punt. Cribbs penetrated into the backfield, and after fielding the punt, Benjamin set a new team record with a 93-yard touchdown return. Adding on to a previous field goal, the Browns now led 10-7.
As for the rest of the game? It was all-Browns, as they went on a 20-0 run in the second half, capping off a 30-0 run overall. The Browns used some creativity on their first drive of the second half, including the double reverse to Travis Benjamin and a Wildcat play with Joshua Cribbs. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson, giving the Browns a 17-7 lead.
On the next drive, Browns safety Tashaun Gipson picked off Quinn, setting up another field goal to make it 20-7. To close out the third quarter, the Browns put together a 12-play drive that went 78 yards, capped off with another 1-yard touchdown run by Richardson. The touchdown officially came at the start of the fourth quarter, extending Cleveland's lead to 27-7. For the rest of the fourth quarter, the Browns' defense kept pressuring Quinn and bringing him down to the ground. The Browns tacked on one more field goal before Colt McCoy came in to finish the game with a couple of kneeldowns. Although Brandon Weeden didn't throw for a touchdown, he didn't turn the ball over, and helped lead Cleveland to his third straight game.
Whew, what a game! After the Miami/SF game is over tonight, I will have a post up about the "suddenly possible" scenario in which the Browns could still make the postseason. Stay tuned and enjoy this Sunday for all it was worth!