CLEVELAND – Two wins in one week have the Kansas City Chiefs off to a shocking start.
Brandon Flowers returned an interception for a touchdown, Ryan Soccup kicked three field goals and Kansas City converted a late fourth-down gamble by coach Todd Haley for a 16-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
The Chiefs, who also knocked off AFC West champion San Diego on Monday night, are 2-0 for the first time since 2005.
Kansas City learned its lessons from a 41-34 loss to Cleveland last season, when Browns running back Jerome Harrison ran wild for 286 yards — third most in NFL history — and Browns return specialist Joshua Cribbs returned two kickoffs for TDs.
Harrison was held to 33 yards on 16 carries, and the Chiefs angled kicks away from Cribbs, who did burn them for a 65-yard TD reception from Seneca Wallace.
Wallace started in place of Jake Delhomme, who injured his right ankle last week in his debut for the Browns (0-2), a 17-14 loss at Tampa Bay. Wallace finished 16 of 31 for 229 yards.
The Chiefs were clinging to their 2-point lead and faced with a 4th-and-inches at the Cleveland 36 with two minutes left. Instead of punting and pinning the Browns deep, Haley went for it and running back Thomas Jones took the hand off from quarterback Matt Cassel and leaped over the pile for a game-clinching first down.
Haley's decision is another sign that these Chiefs may not be the same pushovers who won just four games last season and two in 2008.
Jones picked up the first down by the nose of the football, and the play stood up after a lengthy review. When referee Carl Cheffers announced the ruling was official, Kansas City's sidelined erupted in celebration and the Chiefs ran out the final two minutes.
The Browns were hoping to build off the momentum of a four-game winning streak — that saved Mangini's job — to end last season, but two close losses in two weeks and too many penalties have Cleveland already in trouble with a tough schedule ahead.
Browns kicker Phil Dawson also missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt.
Flowers read Wallace perfectly on his interception return in the first half, which put the Chiefs up 10-7.
A career backup quarterback, Wallace telegraphed his throw toward wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, allowing Flowers time to cut in front, pick off the pass on Kansas City's sideline and go in untouched.
Wallace, though, atoned for his mistake moments later by hooking up with Cribbs on the 65-yard strike.
He patiently waited for Cribbs to streak behind cornerback Brandon Carr before hitting him in stride. Cribbs, who is getting more playing time at wide receiver this season, stepped out of a shoestring tackle by Carr to make it 14-10 with 8:43 left before halftime.
Succop's 26-yard field goal brought the Chiefs within 14-13 in the third, and his 26-yarder with 7:48 left proved to be the game-winner.
A costly penalty against Kansas City linebacker Mike Vrabel helped the Browns take a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.
On 3rd-and-goal at the 5, Wallace couldn't find anyone open. He scrambled around for several seconds before being stopped for no gain. Cleveland's field-goal unit was headed onto the field, but turned back when Vrabel was called for illegal contact, giving the Browns a new set of downs at the 2.
Peyton Hillis smashed into the line for 1 yard, and then spun out of a collision at the goal line on second down for the TD, capping a 10-play, 98-yard drive.