KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 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.
“We love it,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “You want the stages to get bigger. That’s why you put all the work in. You want this opportunity. You want that honor.”
The Chiefs got another stiff test from the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, racing out to a big first-half lead and then holding on through a harrowing second half.
The result was a tenuous 23-17 victory and just the second 8-0 start in franchise history. Kansas City is the first team in NFL history to win its first eight games after having the league’s worst record the previous season.
“I mean, not that anybody sneaks up on anybody in this league, but yeah, we’re the only undefeated team,” said Smith, who threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think that teams have recognized how we’re playing and no question, they’re coming prepared.”
Jason Campbell, starting in place of the ineffective Brandon Weeden, threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns.
His second scoring pass, a 17-yarder to Fozzy Whittaker out of the backfield, got Cleveland within a field goal early in the third quarter.
The Chiefs kept making stops down the stretch, though. They punted with 3:55 left, but forced Campbell out of the pocket on fourth down, and his pass bounced off wide receiver Davone Bess for an incompletion. It was one of several drops for Bess, who also fumbled on a punt return.
Ryan Succop tacked on his third field goal of the game with 17 seconds left, and the Browns were unable to do anything with their final possession before time expired.