The Chiefs won the kind of game it takes to stay unbeaten.
The Chiefs escaped with a 23-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in front of a quiet crowd of 74,307 that wasn't expecting such a nerve-wracking game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs, now 8-0, hardly moved the ball in the second half against the Browns, 3-5. The NFL sack leaders didn't come up with their first sack until the fourth quarter, and gave up six sacks of their own.
And the NFL takeaway leaders didn't force a turnover until they came up with a muffed punt by the Browns at midfield in the fourth quarter.
Chiefs Top Browns 23-17, Move To 8-0 from The Mothership
The Browns attempted a game-winning drive late, but the Chiefs weren't accommodating as Derrick Johnson stopped Josh Gordon after nine yards on the final play of the game.
"We pride ourselves on playing defense," DJ said. "The best you can be right now is 8-0 and that's where we're at. Everybody is going to give us their best and we know that. If we can take that punch and keep rolling, that's what we did today. It wasn't pretty, but a 'W" sure does feel good today."
The Chiefs are 8-0 after a 23-17 win Sunday over the Browns that followed mostly the same pattern of the first seven wins: inconsistent offense, a glob of luck, and a relentless defense that turns into the 2000 Ravens when needed.
"Fourth quarter," nose tackle Dontari Poe says, "that's money time."
If only preventing fourth-quarter drives was as celebrated as making them, because the Chiefs did it again Sunday.
Alex Smith Talks Chiefs Unity And Being 8-0 from The Mothership
This is the second week in a row with just a field goal in the second half. Are teams making adjustments that you guys aren't keeping up with?
"Yeah, it's tough at this point to say, I guess. Certainly, I think you could say they made some adjustments. There was a lack of execution on our side as well, looking at that. I guess it's tough to point to any one thing at this point. I thought in the first half, we were better at staying ahead of the chains. We were better on first and second downs and our third downs were more manageable. We were converting a lot of them because of that. In the second half, we had a lot more 3rd-and-longs. You're going to make life tough doing that."
Then Cleveland's Davone Bess blessed the Chiefs with a muffed punt. This, from a player acquired for his hands and in the game for the injured Travis Benjamin.
"It changed the game, I believe," safety Eric Berry said.
But not just because he muffed it.
Because the Chiefs recovered it - just as they recovered when their own Dexter McCluster muffed one in the second quarter.
"You never know what's going to happen, so you've got to play hard," McCluster said, referring, really, to both plays. "If a guy was jogging or loafing on that play, the ball might have been in their hands."
Andy Reid's Postgame Presser & Transcript from The Mothership
What about the sack ratio this game?
"You're right. I probably need to move them a little bit more so that they move the pocket a little bit more. There were too many sacks, obviously. He (Jason Campbell) was getting the ball out quick on their side. I thought he did a nice job. It was a combination of things. Sacks, from a defensive standpoint, you have to get up and you have to pressure them with the pressure of the receivers and then you have to be able to rush the passer. They did a nice job countering us on that; that's a tribute to their game plan. Norv Turner is a phenomenal, phenomenal coach. He had a nice game plan there."
Smith, as you might expect from someone who had just become the first quarterback in NFL history to ever start 8-0 with a new team, then proceeded to deflect some of the blame from his offensive line.
He said he took his last sack, which came with three minutes and 57 seconds left, because he wanted the Browns to burn a timeout (they did). He also accepted responsibility for some of the sacks, particularly three that came on third down, saying he held the ball a little longer than normal in hopes of jumpstarting the offense.
"Third down, you're trying to stand in there, you're trying to make plays," Smith said. "Of course protection is important, but I don't think that was the sole thing."
Takeaways From The Chiefs Week 8 Win from The Mothership
With Sunday's win, the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to go 8-0 during their first year with a new head coach and quarterback. The Chiefs are also the first team to start 8-0 after posting two or fewer wins in the previous season and are the first team in NFL history to start 8-0 after posting the league's worst record in the previous year. Kansas City's 8-0 start is the second-best start in franchise history behind the club's 9-0 start in 2003.
The Chiefs win also was personally historic for head coach Andy Reid, who before Sunday had never in his 15-year coaching career started a season 8-0; his previous best start was 7-0 in the 2004 season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Chiefs got a visit from an esteemed neighbor on Sunday: Royals legend George Brett.
Brett had the honor of banging on the Chiefs' large drum before the game.
"George Brett looked like he could still swing, doggone it," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "It was great to see him out there.
Is it time to be concerned about cornerback Sean Smith?
For the second game in a row, Smith was burned on two big plays in single coverage. To be fair, though, he was beat both times Sunday by Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon, who has terrific vertical speed. Smith wasn't always consistent in Miami, which could be why they left him sign with the Chiefs this offseason, but considering his strong performance through the Chiefs' first six games, he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now. Corners are going to get beat in the Chiefs' man-heavy scheme, so it's safe to say Smith is going to, as the kids say, "charge this" performance "to the game."
It's been a while since Anthony Sherman has presented his mother with a football, but the rough-and-tumble fullback who loves doing the dirty work for the Chiefs is quietly looking forward to the next time he'll see her again.
That's because Sherman, who scored his first NFL touchdown in the Chiefs' 23-17 victory over the Browns on Sunday, cannot wait to finally fulfill a promise he made to her.
"I told her if I ever score one, she'll get (the ball)," Sherman said. "So she knows it's coming."
Derrick Johnson Sets The Tone For Chiefs' Defense from KC Star
Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson made the first tackle in the game. And he made the last.
Precious little escaped Johnson in the unbeaten Chiefs' 23-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, whether he was stuffing running back Willis McGahee, knocking the snot out of fullback Chris Ogbonnaya or dropping back and covering receivers.
Johnson was credited with a game-high 12 tackles, including two for losses; had a quarterback hurry; and a pass defended in what he said was "probably my best game."
Chiefs' McCluster Emerges As Smith's Favorite Target from KC Star
McCluster, the Chiefs' diminutive jack of all trades, ran a go-route between two defenders and hauled in Smith's 28-yard laser beam of a pass for a touchdown in Sunday's 23-17 victory.
It highlighted a busy day for McCluster, who matched his career best with a team-leading seven receptions for 67 yards, ran the ball out of the backfield once for 5 yards and returned five punts for 38 yards, including a long of 20 yards.
"As a player, you never know when it's going to be your day," said McCluster, who was targeted by Smith a team-high 10 times. "You just have to be there when it's time. I was able to get started early and get some balls early.
Chiefs Report Card vs. Browns from KC Star
Player of the Game
Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson was unblockable and unstoppable with 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and a pass defensed.
Reason to Hope
The Chiefs get to face yet another backup quarterback next week against either Buffalo's Thad Lewis or possibly Matt Flynn.
Reason to Mope
The offense is going to have to get better to keep up with Denver, San Diego and Washington during the second half of the season.
KCChiefs.com Video: Postgame With Mitch And Reid: Week 8
KCChiefs.com Video: Locker Room Celebration After Week 8 Victory
NFL.com Video: Week 8: Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs Highlights
NFL.com Video: Chiefs Postgame Press Conference
Derrick Johnson Quietly Setting The Tone For 8-0 Chiefs from FS Kansas City
His eyes met those of quarterback Jason Campbell. The Cleveland running back turned, graceful as a deer, to receive the short throw.
Then the semi hit him.
"I was in zone coverage, and just read Campbell's eyes and Chris Ogbonnaya's eyes," Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson would say later as he recalled his little roadkill moment, the slobber-knocking jewel of a slobber-knocking 23-17 victory over Cleveland. "Just had to give him a little taste of what we do over here with the Chiefs."
Chiefs Hold Off Browns, Improve To 8-0 from Chiefs Spin
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's unit bent, but didn't break, limiting the Browns to 3-of-12 conversions (25 percent) on third downs for the game.
"Coach Sutton, he did a great job of switching it up," safety Kendrick Lewis said. "He did a great job of giving them different looks than we gave them in the first half. On third down they were running a lot of crossing routes and catching us in man coverage. Coach Sutton called a great game plan and mixing it up, so it wouldn't be easy for them."
McCluster On TD Catch: 'I Think They Just Forgot About Me' from FS Kansas City
On Sunday, Reid had McCluster in the slot, split wide, out of the I-formation and off-set behind quarterback Alex Smith.
McCluster was a huge part of the offense, getting targeted 10 times while coming up with a team-high seven receptions for a team-high 67 yards. He also carried once for 5 yards.
"I don't know that we had planned all of that," McCluster said. "But it's who I am. I'm someone who can be used a lot of different ways. I love it."
Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs from ESPN
Guard Jeff Allen had to wait for rookie tackle Eric Fisher to finish his postgame Q&A session with the media because it was conducted right in front of Allen's locker. Asked whether Fisher's move was worthy of a fine, Allen said, "It definitely is.''
Recap: Chiefs Hold On To Beat Browns 23-17, Stay Unbeaten from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs know that they're going to get the opposing team's best shot every time they step on the field.
That comes with being the NFL's lone unbeaten team.
They wouldn't want it any other way.
Chiefs' Fans' Indian Dress Is Problematic from KC Star
By the way, I'm well aware that the Chiefs' name comes from the Boy Scouts of America nickname for two-term Kansas City mayor "Chief" H. Roe Bartle. But that title itself was part of the inextricable history of American Indian imagery in Scouting. In fact, the Scouts' own Heart of America Council webpage about Bartle, who was not an American Indian, features a photo of him in a headdress just like those worn by Chiefs fans.
Linebacker Nico Johnson of Andalusia didn't experience much losing in college while playing linebacker for Alabama. Now in his rookie NFL season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Johnson hasn't experienced any losing as a pro. Johnson played on special teams on Sunday as the Chiefs ran their record to 8-0 with a 23-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
What I'm talking about is what feels like almost a muscle memory strings of complaints and pessimism about a team that's finally giving a starved fan base something to chew on...
...But for right now, if you can't enjoy these Chiefs a year removed from those Chiefs, then what's the point of liking sports?
Mark Dipoto created the Fan Van. It is considered the ultimate game day bus with built in bathrooms, speaker system and a beer on tap.
"It's been a fun investment. Financially it'd be hard to call it a good investment but it's been worth every penny," he said.
Dipoto and his friends have spent more than $15,000 for their ride.
Unbeaten Chiefs Struggle For Respect from The Ottawa Citizen
They're good, yes, because you have to be good to win eight straight games in the NFL. Defensively, they're top-notch, and Alex Smith does a commendable job managing an offence that takes few risks but makes even fewer mistakes.
Still, no one outside Missouri and Kansas talks about the Chiefs in the same breath as the Broncos, Seahawks or 49ers, all teams that have lost. They're not Super Bowl favourites in the sports books in Las Vegas, where the wise guys still aren't convinced they belong among the NFL elite.