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Chiefs Overcome Heavy Hearts, Panthers

Posted Dec 2, 2012

Inspired play nets 27-21 Victory at Home

The Kansas City Chiefs family awoke Sunday with heavy hearts, disbelief and sadness over Saturday morning ‘s tragedy. However, after meeting with the Carolina Panthers and the NFL collectively, the Chiefs decided to play the game, and play it well they did, defeating the Panthers 27-21.

The game began with the Chiefs winning the coin toss, electing to receive and then six plays later, finding the end zone. Three runs by RB Jamaal Charles, a 21-yard pass to WR Dwayne Bowe and a 34-yard toss to WR Jon Baldwin set up a RB Peyton Hillis two-yard TD run.

Following the score, which was Kansas City’s first opening-drive TD of the season, Hillis delivered the ball to his head coach Romeo Crennel. It was a truly-touching moment that followed the most inspired drive of the season.

The Panthers then turned to QB Cam Newton to answer. Carolina needed six plays to cover 75 yards before Newton found TE Greg Olsen for a 47-yard TD. Game tied 7-7.

However, Chiefs QB Brady Quinn and the offense responded on the very next drive. Quinn led an 11-play, 56-yard drive, taking the ball to Carolina's 24-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-two, the Chiefs called on K Ryan Succop, who booted a 42-yard field goal to give Kansas City a 10-7 lead.

Trailing by three, the Panthers dug deep as well. Newton, doing just what Crennel said the QB prefers to do, stayed in the pocket and put the ball perfectly in WR Steve Smith’s hands for a 23-yard score. Panthers lead 14-10.

Both teams exchanged punts on their next drives before Kansas City regained possession of the ball with 7:25 to play in the second quarter. Thanks to a 13-play drive by the Chiefs that covered 80 yards, the Panthers wouldn’t see the ball again before halftime.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line and :02 seconds remaining in the half, Crennel decided to go for it. With the crowd in complete approval, the risk paid off as Quinn found TE Tony Moeaki in the back of the end zone for the score as time expired. 17-14 Chiefs at half.

The Panthers were forced to punt on their first drive of the third quarter and the Chiefs were back in control.

Kansas City’s first drive of the second half was highlighted by Moeaki’s two receptions (25 and nine yards) and two fourth-and-one conversions by Hillis. Charles then took over with a nine-yard scamper and later Quinn connected with Baldwin for a two-yard TD. The scoring drive was 17-plays, 87 yards and lasted 9:56.

Trailing by 10 points, Newton showcased why he not only took home the Heisman but also was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He converted a third-and-one with a 28-yard run to keep the eventual 11-play, 80-yard drive alive, ending in an eight-yard TD pass to WR Louis Murphy. KC 24-21.

The Chiefs were forced to punt on their next drive, giving possession back to the Panthers with 11:03 to play in the game. Facing a third-and-two from his own 25-yard line, Newton found FB Mike Tolbert for a 15-yard reception to move the sticks.

Chiefs LB Justin Houston stopped Newton on the very next play with his 10th sack of the season, a nine-yard loss. Two plays later, the Panthers faced a third-and-20 when DE Tyson Jackson knocked down Newton’s pass attempt, forcing a Carolina punt.

The Chiefs began their next drive from their own 27-yard line and 7:30 on the clock. Kansas City used 2:36 of the clock, gaining 39 yards before Succop made good on a 52-yard FG. KC 27-21.

Carolina’s next drive began from its 19-yard line with 4:49 to play in the game. Facing a third-and-four from his 25-yard line, Newton was hit by DT Dontari Poe, forcing an incompletion and a Carolina punt.

Kansas City began the next drive from its own 30-yard line, hoping to keep the ball for the remainder of the game. Facing a third down, Quinn ran for the first down to extend the drive, milking the clock to the two-minute warning. The Panthers held though and forced a Dustin Colquitt punt, giving Carolina the ball with :18 seconds remaining in the game.

Rallying the Chiefs, the Kingdom noise erupted as Newton heaved a 53-yard pass that was caught by WR Steve Smith on the eight-yard line as time expired. With that pass, the Panthers' hopes for a comeback also hit double zeroes.

What began as a very tragic weekend, ended with a Kansas City Chiefs team rallying around its city, its fans and each other to leave Arrowhead Stadium with its first victory of 2012.

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