KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Against the backdrop of an unthinkable tragedy, the Kansas City Chiefs gave themselves a reason to be proud Sunday - and perhaps the impetus to let the healing begin.
Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards in the Chiefs' 27-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak during one of the most difficult seasons the franchise has ever experienced.
The game was played one day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times at a residence near Arrowhead Stadium, then drove to the team's practice facility and turned the gun on himself as general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel looked on.
"As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do, because that's what we do," Crennel said, tears forming in the corner of his eyes. "We're football players and football coaches, and that's what we do - we play on Sunday."
Cam Newton threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns - to Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, and Louis Murphy - for the Panthers (3-9), and DeAngelo Williams added 67 yards rushing, carrying the load with Jonathan Stewart out with an injury.
"You definitely feel for them. What they are going through is tragic," Olsen said. "But we have a job to do. Our job is to come here and prepare to win. They wouldn't expect any less."
Peyton Hillis had a touchdown run for Kansas City (2-10), while Tony Moeaki and Jon Baldwin had touchdown catches. Ryan Succop hit a pair of field goals, including a 52-yarder with 4 minutes, 54 seconds left that forced the Panthers to try for a touchdown to steal the win.
Instead, the Panthers went three-and-out, and the Chiefs were able to run the clock down to 31 seconds before giving back the ball. Newton completed two quick passes to reach the Carolina 38, but his final heave as time expired was caught by Smith short of the end zone.
Chiefs 27, Panthers 21
Carolina 7 7 0 7 – 21
Kansas City 10 7 7 3 – 27
KC–Hillis 2 run (Succop kick), 11:49.
Car–Olsen 47 pass from Newton (Gano kick), 8:46.
KC–FG Succop 42, 3:20.
Car–Smith 23 pass from Newton (Gano kick), 13:27.
KC–Moeaki 1 pass from Quinn (Succop kick), :00.
KC–Baldwin 3 pass from Quinn (Succop kick), 2:52.
Car–Murphy 8 pass from Newton (Gano kick), 13:21.
KC–FG Succop 52, 4:54.
First downs 19 23
Total Net Yards 385 355
Rushes-yards 22-165 43-158
Passing 220 197
Punt Returns 1-12 1-6
Kickoff Returns 2-41 1-31
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 15-27-0 19-23-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-12 1-4
Punts 4-46.0 3-42.7
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-45 1-5
Time of Possession 22:47 37:13
Rushing: Carolina, Newton 7-78, D.Williams 12-67, Tolbert 2-15, Adams 1-5. Kansas City, Charles 27-127, Hillis 12-19, Quinn 3-12, McCluster 1-0.
Passing: Carolina, Newton 15-27-0-232. Kansas City, Quinn 19-23-0-201.
Receiving: Carolina, Smith 5-120, Tolbert 3-24, LaFell 2-14, Olsen 1-47, A.Edwards 1-11, Murphy 1-8, Adams 1-7, D.Williams 1-1. Kansas City, Bowe 4-64, Moeaki 4-54, Charles 4-11, Baldwin 2-37, McCluster 2-16, Hillis 1-9, Gray 1-6, Newsome 1-4.