Campbell’s chore: Beat the unbeaten
Now Jason Campbell, who hasn’t started an NFL game in almost a year, gets his chance with the Cleveland Browns. His first mission: Trying to beat the undefeated Chiefs. In Kansas City.
Hardly an enviable task for the 2005 first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins who has bounced around the NFL. The Browns are his fourth team, and he is their third starter this season, after the ineffective Brandon Weeden and injured Brian Hoyer.
“We understand we’re a growing football team and our goal and mission every week is to go out and win games,” Campbell said. “The one thing we can’t forget is just to get back to having fun.”
The Chiefs haven’t made it fun for any opponents. They’re the only remaining perfect team because their defense is opportunistic and sack-crazy.
Cleveland’s defense is pretty staunch as well, and has sacks from 13 players, tied for the most in the league.
But the Chiefs have two of the NFL’s leading sackmasters in linebackers Justin Houston (10) and Tamba Hali (nine).
“You go in every week respecting every opponent,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said, “but at the same time, we don’t really care who plays as long as we execute our defensive scheme.”
The last time Campbell started, he led the Chicago Bears in a 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last season. That doesn’t bode well for Cleveland.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan returns to Denver, where he led the Broncos to 146 wins and two Super Bowl titles in his 14 seasons in charge. The Broncos are planning a short video tribute for Shanahan, who said he expects a warm reception: “I don’t think I did anything wrong to get booed. I didn’t leave. They fired me.”
Denver comes off its first defeat in Peyton Manning’s emotional return to Indianapolis, and he missed some practice time this week with a sore ankle.
Neither defense has done much this season, so a shootout seems likely.
Two more pretty good offenses face each other when Dallas visits Detroit, but the Cowboys showed plenty of defense in shutting down Philadelphia last week. Whether that lasts could decide the winner at Ford Field.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is a Dallas guy and would like nothing more than a second straight win over his hometown team. Stafford says his family members have become Lions fans, but not all of his friends have done so.
“They want me to have a really good game and lose it in the end,” he said.
The clashing New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals have used special teams for some special wins. Three of New York’s victories have come off the foot of Nick Folk, who’s hit all 16 field goal attempts thus far. The last two Bengals wins were clinched by former Jets kicker Mike Nugent, including a 54-yarder to win at Detroit last Sunday.
The Jets have won four in a row and nine of the past 10 against Cincinnati. The last matchup at Paul Brown Stadium was a Jets playoff win in 2009.
On Thursday, Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Carolina over winless Tampa Bay 31-13.
The Panthers won for the fourth time in five games following an 0-2 start. The Buccaneers, one of two NFL teams yet to win, have dropped the first seven games in a season for the seventh time in franchise history. Fans showed up at Raymond James Stadium carrying signs and wearing paper bags over their heads urging second-year coach Greg Schiano to be fired.
Elsewhere on Sunday, it’s Miami at New England, Buffalo at New Orleans, Pittsburgh at Oakland, Green Bay at Minnesota, Atlanta at Arizona, the New York Giants at Philadelphia and San Francisco against Jacksonville at London in the second international game of the season.
On Monday, it’s Seattle at St. Louis.