Final score: Browns 30, Chiefs 7 (game story; thumbs up/thumbs down; notebook; Marla Ridenour's column; Travis Benjamin's 93-yard punt return proved to be turning point)
End 4Q: Browns 30, Chiefs 7—The Browns put this one out of reach early in the fourth quarter. Trent Richardson punched in his second one-yard touchdown of the game to put the Browns up 27-7. Phil Dawson later added a 34-yard field goal to go up 30-7. Richardson finished the game with 42 yards and two touchdowns. Weeden was 17-30 passing for 217 yards. Josh Gordon had eight catches for 86 yards. It’s the Browns’ largest margin of victory since a 44-6 thrashing of the Cardinals in 2003.
End 3Q: Browns 20, Chiefs 7—The Browns marched down the field on their first drive of the second half, led by a couple of Weeden passes and capped with a 1-yard Richarson touchdown in which he launched himself like a missile into the end zone. Tashaun Gipson then picked off Brady Quinn on a pass tipped by Sheldon Brown for his first interception of his career. The Browns had two touchdown plays called back on the penalties, the first an illegal motion call on Watson and Little and the second a pass interference call on Richardson. The Browns settled for a 24-yard field goal by Dawson to go up 20-7. At the end of the quarter. Weeden made a nice play by scrambling and finding Watson and third and long. Greg Little then lined up as a running back and carried the ball 17 yards to the 1-yard line.
End 2Q: Browns 10, Chiefs 7—After the Chiefs scored on the first play of the first quarter, the Browns scored on the first play of the second quarter. Just before a Chiefs punt, Josh Cribbs, who lined up deep, and Travis Benjamin switched places at the last second. Benjamin then took the punt at the 7-yard line, charged up the middle and then down the Browns sideline for a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown to put the Browns up 10-7. It’s the longest punt return in Browns history, eclipsing Eric Metcalf’s 92-yarder against the Bengals in 1994. For the Chiefs, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe each left the game with rib injuries. Charles would return late in the half, but Bowe did not and his return is questionable. On a 3-yard run, Richardson pushed the pile and was then tackled by Shaun Smith, who then got into a scuffle with a few players from each side.
End 1Q: Chiefs 7, Browns 3—The Chiefs were leading 12 seconds into the game. Running back Jamaal Charles ran 80 yards on the first play for a touchdown—T.J. Ward had the best shot at the 37-yard line but fell. The Chiefs later had the ball inside the Browns’ 5-yard line but had to attempt a field goal, which hit off the left upright. Brandon Weeden then hit Josh Gordon and Greg Little for big gains on the next drive, and the Browns brought the score to 7-3 with a Phil Dawson 22-yard field goal.
Inactives: Browns – cornerback Trevin Wade, safety Eric Hagg, running back Brandon Jackson, fullback Owen Marecic, defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, guard Jarrod Shaw and wide receiver Josh Cooper. Notes: Dimitri Patterson, the Browns’ top nickel cornerback, is active for the first time since Oct. 7. Patterson sat out the past seven games with a left high-ankle sprain and a torn ligament. Special-teams ace Ray Ventrone is also active after missing the past three games with an injured calf. Wade and Hagg are inactive because of the return of Patterson and Ventrone. Chiefs – quarterback Ricky Stanzi, wide receivers Steve Breaston and Devon Wylie, free safety Kendrick Lewis, safety Abram Elam, running back Nate Eachus and nose tackle Jerrell Powe.
Lineup changes: Browns – none. Chiefs – Tysyn Hartman will start at free safety in place of Lewis, who will miss his second game in a row with an injured shoulder.
Storylines by Stephanie Storm: 1. Former Browns running back Peyton Hillis likely won’t get a kind of reception from Browns fans. Those same fans that voted him a Madden cover boy after his breakout 2010 season probably won’t side with him after this week’s verbal sparring in the media with left tackle Joe Thomas. On Wednesday, Thomas, a perennial Pro Bowler, said Hillis was “toxic” during his final season in 2011 when he was seeking a new contract. Hillis responded Thursday by saying Thomas “sounded like a crazy ex-girlfriend.” 2. Perhaps outsiders view today’s game as a boring battle of NFL also-rans. But the Browns (4-8) are eager to extend their two-game winning streak. The Browns haven’t won three in a row since 2009, when they won their final four games and saved Eric Mangini’s job. This team is in a similar situation, fighting to save second-year coach Pat Shurmur’s job with a strong finish. 3. Expect Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to pull out all the stops against the Browns, who fired them after an unsuccessful run. It wouldn’t be surprising for Daboll to reach into his bag of tricks. Browns kick returner Josh Cribbs is confident the Browns’ defense will be ready for whatever Daboll has up his sleeves. “He wouldn’t run it against us. I’m sure he knows that we know about those plays. If he does run them, this is a shout out to him that we know about it. He’s gotta play the straight and narrow.” 4. Emotions will still be running high for the Chiefs as they continue to grieve and attempt to recover from the murder-suicide tragedy they endured eight days ago when linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend at their home and then turned the gun on himself at the Chiefs’ headquarters. The Chiefs earned their second win of the season against the Carolina Panthers the day after the killings. 5. There are plenty of connections that go beyond Crennel, Daboll and Hillis. Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn was drafted by the Browns with the 22nd pick in 2007. Defensive tackle Shaun Smith also played for the Browns for two seasons (2007-08) as did Abe Elam (2009-10). … Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli was a Browns scouting assistant (1992) and pro personnel assistant (1993-95). … Chiefs assistant head coach Maurice Carthon served as the Browns offensive coordinator for two years (2005-06) and director of football administration. ... Trip McCracken spent 11 seasons (1999-2009) in the Browns’ front office.
Links to preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. With a chance to extend their winning streak to three games, the Browns are aiming to show owner Jimmy Haslam they’re greedy. 2. Marla Ridenour’s column: The Browns need a strong football man as GM, and it’s not Mike Lombardi. 3. Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn returns to Cleveland fresh off his finest honor. 4. Keys to the game. 5. Numbers to watch. 6. Injury report. 7. Quote of the week. 8. Predictions.