The Browns enter the game at 3-4 after a 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, while the Chiefs look to continue their hot start to the season with their fifth win against AFC teams this year after last week’s 17-16 victory over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.
The Chiefs are rebuilding under the direction of head coach Andy Reid, who replaced Romeo Crennel in the offseason after spending the previous 14 seasons (1999-2012) at the helm of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Chiefs finished the 2012 season with a 2-14 record, placed last in the AFC West Division, scored the least amount of points and passed for the fewest yards. They also allowed the sixth-most rushing yards and eighth-most points in the NFL.
The last time Cleveland traveled to Kansas City and played in Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 20, 2009, former Browns Joshua Cribbs and Jerome Harrison broke records in the team’s 41-34 victory.
Cribbs returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, one for 100 yards, and another, 103. He was the first Browns player and second-ever in the NFL to have two 100-yard kickoff-return touchdowns in the same game. The first touchdown gave him the NFL record for the most career kickoff-return touchdowns, and his 269 kickoff-return yards were a Browns record.
While Cribbs was scoring touchdowns on special teams, Harrison, the team’s starting running back, ran for a team-best 286 yards, 49 more than Jim Brown gained against Philadelphia (Nov. 19, 1961), and the L.A. Rams (Nov. 24, 1957).
The Browns are 11-10-2 overall against the Chiefs, but 3-7-1 in games played at Arrowhead Stadium.
As this year’s game unfolds, there are several players to keep an eye on:
Browns Pro Bowl left tackle
Thomas is tied for the third-longest streak of consecutive starts among active NFL offensive linemen.
His 45 receptions are tied for the most ever by a Browns player through the first seven games of a season, and the six touchdowns are tied for the second-most ever by a Browns tight end. Cameron and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome are the only Browns’ tight ends ever to have at least six receiving touchdowns in a single season. Newsome accomplished the feat three times with a team-record nine touchdowns in 1979, and six each in 1981 and 1983.
Cameron’s 45 catches are the most in the NFL by a tight end, and fifth in the NFL overall. He is second in the NFL in receiving yards among tight ends, and tied for seventh in scoring among non-kickers.
With one touchdown Sunday against the Chiefs, Cameron would take sole possession of second place on the team’s list for single-season touchdown receptions by a tight end.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. The eight-year veteran leads the Browns with 61 total tackles, including team-bests with 36 solo stops and 26 assists. Jackson has registered double-digit tackles in three of the Browns’ last five games.
When Jackson has registered double-digit tackles totals this season, the Browns have won those games. Jackson had 11 tackles in wins at Minnesota and against Buffalo, and registered 10 stops, including a season-best seven solo tackles, against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Browns wide receiver
After catching 10 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown in his season debut against the Vikings five weeks ago, Gordon again reached the 100-yard plateau with 126 yards on seven catches in a loss to the Detroit Lions.
With 100 yards receiving Sunday, Gordon would become the first Browns player to accomplish the feat since wide receiver Braylon Edwards reached the plateau in 2008.
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston. Houston ranks fourth on the Chiefs with 28 total tackles and 26 solo stops, but leads the team with 10 quarterback sacks. He is second to Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis in both the AFC and NFL for the sacks lead.
Houston has registered at least a 1/2 sack in five of the Chiefs’ seven games this season. After setting the tone with three sacks in Kansas City’s season-opening 28-2 win at the Jacksonville Jaguars, he registered 4.5 at the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks later.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. Despite being sacked 18 times for 95 lost yards, Smith has completed 145 of 250 attempts (58 percent) for 1,570 yards and seven touchdowns against four interceptions.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Now healthy after battling injuries in two of the last three seasons, Charles has returned to his 1,509-yard, five-touchdown form from the 2012 season.
Charles leads the Chiefs in carries (135), rushing yards (561), rushing touchdowns (six) and receptions (36), is tied for the team-lead with two touchdown catches, and has gained the second-most receiving yards (337) this season.
The Browns end the first half of their 2013 regular season against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium next Sunday. The Chiefs travel to play the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium next week. Both the Browns and Chiefs go on their respective bye weeks following their next game.
Ray Farmer, the Browns’ assistant general manager, spent the last seven years (2006-12) working as the Chiefs’ director of pro personnel, where he was responsible for scouting all players with professional experience, as well as evaluating current players in the NFL, Canadian Football League and other professional leagues.
Browns tight ends coach Jon Embree held the same position with the Chiefs from 2006-08. Under his direction, tight end Tony Gonzalez was a Pro Bowler all three years and led all NFL tight ends with 268 receptions, which he turned into 3,130 yards.
Defensive quality control coach Daron Roberts held a similar position with the Chiefs in 2008. He also served as a volunteer coach in 2007.
Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor earned his Master’s degree from Columbia (Mo.) College, and later coached at the University of Missouri (1997-2000), first, as the offensive graduate assistant and then, the running backs and special-teams coach.
Tabor was the head coach of Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., in 2001.
Cleveland’s inside linebackers coach, Ken Flajole, coached the defensive backs and outside linebackers at Missouri from 1989-93.
Steve Gera, the Browns’ assistant to head coach Rob Chudzinski, is a native of St. Louis, and graduate of Missouri.
Special-teams assistant Shawn Mennenga played defensive back for Missouri in 1992. He later coached at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., first, as a graduate assistant in 1994, and later, the secondary coach from 1995-96.
Mennenga also served as the defensive coordinator (2001) and head coach (2002-04) at Culver-Stockton College, as well as the defensive coordinator at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Ks. (1998-2000) and Fort Hays State University (2005-08) in Fort Hays, Kan.
Offensive line coach George Warhop was on the University of Kansas’ offensive staff from 1984-86.
Strength-and-conditioning coach Brad Roll held a similar post with the Jayhawks from 1987-88.
Kansas City linebacker James-Michael Johnson was selected by the Browns in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He started eight of 10 games for the Browns last year, and registered 32 total tackles on defense and three more stops on special teams as a rookie.
Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is the older brother of Browns right tackle
Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce (Cleveland Heights/Cleveland Heights High School) and free safety Bradley McDougald (Dublin) are Ohio natives.
Kelce played football at The University of Cincinnati, while McDougald accepted an offer to play at The Ohio State University before going to Kansas.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson played for the Browns in 2000.
Kansas City quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy spent two years with the Columbus Destroyers (2007-08) in the Arena Football League.
Former Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress (2012) works on spread game analysis and special projects for the Chiefs.
Chiefs statistical analysis coordinator Mike Frazier is a graduate of The College of Wooster in Northeastern Ohio.
Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local CBS affiliate, WOIO-TV 19 as Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and former NFL quarterback Dan Fouts (color analyst) call the action.
The game is also available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.
Compass Media Networks is carrying the game with Chris Carrino (play-by-play) and former NFL player Brian Baldinger (color analyst) calling the action on SiriusXM Channel 807.
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