Now Jason Campbell, No. 20 in the starting quarterbacks parade in Cleveland, gets his chance. His first mission: trying to beat the undefeated Chiefs. In Kansas City.
Hardly an enviable task for the nine-year veteran and 2005 first-round pick of the Redskins who has bounced around the NFL. The Browns are his fourth team, and he is their third starter this season, after Brandon Weeden and now-injured Brian Hoyer.
"It's an opportunity to go out there and just get back to the game and just having fun," Campbell said. "Obviously, we want to go win games and do the best we can.
"But at the same time we understand we're a growing football team and our goal and mission every week is to go out and win games. The one thing we can't forget is just to get back to having fun."
The Chiefs (7-0) haven't made it fun for any opponents this season. They're the only remaining perfect team because their defense is opportunistic, sack-crazy and, well, so darn good.
Cleveland's defense is pretty staunch as well, and has sacks from 13 players, tied for the most in the league.
But it's nine takeaways are 10 fewer than Kansas City's, and 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 was with the Bears and they lost 32-7 to the 49ers last season. That doesn't bode well for Cleveland (3-4).
Washington (2-4) at Denver (6-1)
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.
Dallas (4-3) at Detroit (4-3)
Two more pretty good offenses, and the Cowboys showed plenty of defense in shutting down Philadelphia last week. Whether that lasts could decide the winner at Ford Field.
Lions QB 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.
New York Jets (4-3)at Cincinnati (5-2)
Two teams that 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.
Miami (3-3) at New England (5-2)
Miami won its first three games, but has slumped badly since, with the biggest problem an inability to protect QB Ryan Tannehill. He's been sacked an absurd 26 times, and the Patriots have the Jones Gang — defensive linemen Chandler and Chris Jones — who can get after the quarterback.
So can Miami's Cameron Wake, and New England's inconsistency on offense has been a season-long story. Still, the Patriots have won six straight against the Dolphins.
Buffalo (3-4)at New Orleans (5-1)
Well rested after a bye, the Saints look to put behind them their only loss — a painful, last-second defeat at Foxborough — and secure the NFC South they pretty much are running away with. And here's something scary: Three Saints players had their first career TDs at New England, RBs Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet, and WR Kenny Stills. So New Orleans is finding more offensive threats?
One of Buffalo's main offensive threats, running back C.J. Spiller, is hobbled.
Pittsburgh (2-4) at Oakland (2-4)
"Just Win, Baby" vs. "The Steel Curtain."
Oh, for those days.
As their records show, neither team has a vintage Raiders or Steelers squad. Indeed, Oakland hasn't been a playoff factor since it lost in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.
But there are signs of life on both sides. The Raiders have a decent running game, play the run well defensively, and have a promising if raw quarterback in Terrelle Pryor.
They have lost the past 10 games coming out of the bye, however, getting outscored 271-139.
The Steelers have won their past two games and their defense has come alive, forcing their first two turnovers. But their offense is next-to-last in red zone TDs with six in 16 trips.
Green Bay (4-2)at Minnesota (1-5)
The QB carousel spins in Minnesota — Christian Ponder, who seemed to have one foot out the door, now will have both feet behind center with Josh Freeman showing concussion symptoms.
No such worries at the position for the Packers as Aaron Rodgers makes do with a shrinking cast of wideouts, and turns them into stars. Jarrett Boykin could be next as he comes off a career-high eight-catch, 103-yard, one-TD game.
Adrian Peterson is struggling because Minnesota's line can't open holes and there is little passing attack. But he tends to dominate the Packers and had 409 yards rushing in two meetings in 2012.
Atlanta (2-4) at Arizona (3-4)
The Falcons snapped a three-game slide last week, but they are banged-up, especially on offense. Yet Matt Ryan was the NFC's top performer in the win over Tampa Bay, and WR Harry Douglas emerged with seven catches for a career-best 149 yards with Julio Jones and Roddy White absent.
If Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald catches four passes Sunday, he will be the youngest player with 800 career receptions at 30 years, 57 days. Fitzgerald has caught a TD pass against every NFC team except Atlanta.
New York Giants (1-6)at Philadelphia (3-4)
The Giants got off the schneid on Monday night against the woeful Vikings, but don't mistake that for a turnaround. They remain injury-depleted, especially in the backfield, and lost center David Baas for the season from an underachieving line.
If that line can give Eli Manning some time, he can clean up his act — he was not intercepted in the victory, the first time he didn't throw a pick all season.
As Nick Foles recovers from a concussion, the Eagles were faced with using either Michael Vick, coming off a hamstring injury sustained in a win over New York, or rookie Matt Barkley at quarterback. Regardless, look for running back LeSean McCoy to get the ball often.
San Francisco (5-2) vs. Jacksonville (0-7) at London
Another game with little intrigue for the Londoners to ponder. At least there's a team with a victory on hand, unlike last month when Minnesota and Pittsburgh played at Wembley.
The 49ers won in Nashville, then flew to England rather than head back to California. Staying on the road has worked well for them before, and they weren't facing anyone as weak as the Jaguars back then.
Seattle (6-1) at St. Louis (3-4), Monday night
With Sam Bradford gone for the season with a wrecked knee, journeyman Kellen Clemens gets the call at quarterback for the Rams. Sounds similar to Cleveland's situation this week.
Seattle's rugged defense is primed, having not played since Oct. 17, and its 19 takeaways are tied for the league lead with KC.
Marshawn Lynch keys an aggressive running game and is second in the NFL in rushing with 578 yards.