Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster celebrates with fans his first receiving touchdown of the 2013 season.
Slowing Hali: With five sacks in his previous two games, outside linebacker Tamba Hali had been one of the hottest pass-rushers in the league before he ran into Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas. Hali was held without a sack for the first time in six games. “Joe is a good player," Hali said. "You could say he’s a great player. It’s tough to beat him one-on-one. At times, I felt like I won some of the battles [but] the ball was coming out fast."
Sacking Smith: The Browns sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith six times, setting a season high for a Chiefs opponent. The Chiefs can help Smith by using his mobility and moving him from the pocket. Smith has the ability to throw accurately on the run. “A little bit of that is on me trying to make some plays in the pocket on third down," Smith said. “Of course, protection is important, but I don’t think that was the sole [problem]." Smith has been sacked 24 times in eight games and hasn’t gone one game without being sacked this season.
McCluster’s big day: The Chiefs have been looking for offensive production that comes from someone other than Jamaal Charles, and they got it from slot receiver Dexter McCluster. He led the Chiefs with seven receptions for 67 yards (both season highs for him), and scored his first receiving touchdown on a 28-yard catch from Smith. For the Chiefs, maybe the most encouraging of McCluster’s stats was this: He caught seven of the 10 passes Smith threw his way. Previously, throwing McCluster’s way had been a low percentage move for Smith. Before Sunday, McCluster had caught just 16 of the 31 passes thrown his way.
Looking toward the record book: The Browns scored 17 points, tying a season high for Chiefs opponents. Tennessee also scored 17 against the Chiefs on Oct. 6. In Sunday’s game in Buffalo, the 8-0 Chiefs can tie the NFL record for consecutive games of holding opponents to 17 points or fewer (held by the 1977 Atlanta Falcons). The Chiefs’ streak of eight is tied for second in league history with the 1970 Minnesota Vikings and the 1971 Miami Dolphins. Opponents have scored only 98 points against the Chiefs this season, but that’s just fifth-best through eight games in franchise history.