Just 48 hours ago, not many people were giving the Kansas City Chiefs much of a chance to beat the visiting Carolina Panthers. Just 24 hours ago, nobody expected the Chiefs and Panthers to be playing football on Sunday afternoon, not after the team and the city were stunned by the news that linebacker Javon Belcher murdered his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then shot himself at the team facility on Saturday. But Chiefs players and coaches decided to play Sunday's game as scheduled, and it resulted in an emotional 27-21 win.
Kansas City opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run from Peyton Hillis, his first touchdown of the season. Cam Newton connected with Greg Olsen for a 47-yard touchdown that made it a tie game later in the first quarter. Five minutes after that, Ryan Succop sent one through the uprights to put the Chiefs on top, 10-7. It gave Kansas City a lead it would not relinquish.
Running the ball was the strategy for the Chiefs offense in this one. Kansas City ran the ball 43 times, passing it on just 23 plays. Jamaal Charles led the way, carrying the ball 27 times for 127 yards. It was the fifth time this season that Charles topped the 100-yard mark, and the second game in a row.
Brady Quinn played a nearly flawless game. He finished with 19-for-23 passing for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including his first of the season. Tight end Tony Moeaki and receiver Jonathan Baldwin caught Quinn's scoring passes. Dwayne Bowe led the receivers with four catches for 64 yards. An emotional crowd at Arrowhead erupted in cheers when Quinn and Moeaki connected for a touchdown on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter.
Newton passed for three touchdowns and 232 yards. The Panthers quarterback added another 78 rushing yards to lead the team. Running back Jonathan Stewart was inactive with a bad ankle. Steve Smith caught one of those touchdown passes, just his second of the season, and led the team with five catches and 120 yards.
A crowd of more 64,000 fans turned up to see the game. The sights and sounds of football again proved to be a welcome release in dealing with a horrific tragedy, and all four quarters were populated with emotional moments.
After the game, head coach Romeo Crennel and his players headed into the locker room for a closed-door meeting. The team announced Saturday, after releasing a statement that the game would go on as planned, that it would not be making any additional statements on the situation until after the game.
Next week, Kansas City travels to Cleveland for a 1 p.m. ET game with the Browns. It's the first of a short, two-game road trip that will continue in Oakland the week after that. This was only the second win of the season for Kansas City, and the team is now 2-10 for the season.
Carolina, now 4-8, is at home in Week 14 for game against the red-hot Atlanta Falcons.
For more on the Chiefs and the scene at Arrowhead Stadium this week, visit Arrowhead Pride.