NFL Nation: 2013 Week 8 CLE at KAN Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Cleveland Browns

October, 27, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday:

What it means: Brandon Weeden is thoroughly and completely cooked in Cleveland. First Brian Hoyer, then Jason Campbell showed that the offense can move the ball with some decent quarterbacking. Campbell shook off a slow start to lead the Browns to two touchdowns. Campbell had the Browns in the game in the fourth quarter, which is all the Browns wanted when they named him the starter. His play combined with Weeden’s poor play certainly means Campbell will start going forward.

Stock watch: The Browns need good quarterbacking to compete. They were 3-0 in games Hoyer started, 0-4 in games Weeden started. The numbers were not a coincidence. Campbell competed and played well in his first start. He avoided the rush, threw the ball well and was able to shrug off a terrible start in which the Browns went three-and-out on their first three possessions. The offense is his now, and coach Rob Chudzinski deserves credit for making the move to Campbell, because he clearly gave the Browns their best chance.

Tale of two halves: The defense struggled terribly in the first half, giving up 20 points and allowing the Chiefs to convert 6-of-8 third downs. But in the third quarter, the defense did not allow a first down. Coordinator Ray Horton and Chudzinski both said halftime adjustments are overrated, but something went right after halftime. The Chiefs had only 22 yards in the third quarter, 28 in the fourth.

Interesting decision: With the game near the four-minute mark and Kansas City in possession, Chudzinski chose to use all three of his timeouts to stop the clock. That helped them get the ball back with 3:55 left, but it also meant that the Browns had to start at their 15-yard line with no timeouts in an attempt to tie the game. It’s hard to say it was the wrong decision because of the time left when the Browns got the ball, but using the timeouts meant the Browns had to go for the first down on fourth down from their 30. It was an interesting decision not a lot of coaches would have made.

What's next: The Browns return home to play a division game against Baltimore. The Ravens beat the Browns the first time the teams played, but by only eight. It was one of the games in which Weeden struggled, and barring injury, Weeden won’t be playing in the second.

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

October, 27, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few thoughts after the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-17 win over the Cleveland Browns:

What it means: The Chiefs, the last of the NFL’s unbeaten teams, raised their record to 8-0 and assured themselves of retaining sole possession of first place in the AFC West regardless of how the Denver Broncos fare in their late-afternoon game against the Washington Redskins.

Stock watch: The Chiefs entered the game leading the NFL in sacks with 35 but were held without one by the Browns until the fourth quarter. Justin Houston got the sack, but even then it was the product of good coverage downfield more than great pressure by the Chiefs. Tamba Hali had been one of the league’s hottest pass-rushers, but matched up mostly against left tackle Joe Thomas, he rarely got close to Cleveland quarterback Jason Campbell. Cornerback Sean Smith had a rough game, first biting on a flea flicker to leave Josh Gordon alone for Cleveland’s first touchdown, and later getting beaten deep by tight end Jordan Cameron. Quarterback Alex Smith had one of his most productive games. He threw a pair of touchdown passes, his first in four weeks. Dexter McCluster had seven receptions, including a 28-yard touchdown.

Unproductive second-half offense: After rolling up 20 points in the first half, the Chiefs were scoreless in the second half until Ryan Succop kicked a field goal with 17 seconds left. The Browns had allowed 31 points in each of their previous two games. The Chiefs even got a break in the fourth quarter when Cleveland’s Davone Bess, who had possession at one point, fumbled a punt return without being hit. The Chiefs recovered near midfield, but couldn’t take advantage of the favorable field position. Smith was sacked five times in the second half.

What’s next: The Chiefs are back on the road for the first time in almost a month when they travel to play the Buffalo Bills next Sunday. The last time the Chiefs were undefeated so late in the season was 2003, when they beat the Browns at Arrowhead Stadium to go 9-0. They went on the road the following week and lost to Cincinnati.