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Kansas City Chiefs edge Carolina Panthers on last-second FG

By
The Sports Xchange
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5). Photo by Erik Williams/UPI
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5). Photo by Erik Williams/UPI | License Photo

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cairo Santos kicked a 37-yard field goal on the last play of the game as the Kansas City Chiefs completed a comeback from 17 points down to defeat the Carolina Panthers 20-17 on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium

It was an unlikely conclusion as the Chiefs converted off two late turnovers to win their fifth game in a row.

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Santos kicked four field goals and Kansas City (7-2) won despite going without a touchdown from its offense.

The Panthers (3-6) were denied stretching their winning streak to three games.

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It looked like the Panthers would have the last solid chance until Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters stripped receiver Kelvin Benjamin for a fumble and that gave the Chiefs the ball at the Carolina 29 (after a 5-yard delay penalty for Peters kicking the ball into the crowd) with 20 seconds to play.

Running back Spencer Ware picked up 11 yards and after another play to set up Santos the third-year pro's kick won it for Kansas City.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was 23 for 38 for 261 yards with a touchdown and interception.

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Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, after missing the previous week's game because of head and ear injuries, completed 25 of 38 passes for 178 yards with an interception.

Safety Eric Berry's 42-yard interception return for a touchdown and Smith's two-point conversion pass to tight end Travis Kelce drew the Chiefs within 17-14 with 10:32 to play.

Santos' third field goal, a 33-yarder, tied the game with 4:25 to play.

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That came after the Panthers had 20-play possession in the third quarter that ended with back-to-back sacks and no points.

Newton ran and threw for first-half touchdowns as the Panthers built a 17-point, first-half lead.

The Panthers scored the game's first touchdown when Newton bulled his way through defenders from 4 yards out with 9:05 to play in the second quarter as rain fell.

That gave Newton 44 rushing yards in the opening 21 minutes of the game because his scrambling led the Panthers to Graham Gano's 42-yard field goal for the only scoring in the first quarter.

Newton's 38-yard toss to receiver Devin Funchess with 1:52 left in the second quarter produced a 17-0 edge.

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Santos' 47-yard field goal with 10 seconds to play in the first half put the Chiefs on the board on a drive that included a fourth-and-1 conversion.

After a scoreless third quarter, Santos was good from 36 yards out at the 12:02 mark.

The Panthers lost punter Andy Lee to a first-quarter hamstring injury, so they turned to Gano to punt.

NOTES: Kansas City LB Justin Houston was activated from the PUP list, but then placed inactive for the game as he continues to recover from knee surgery. ... Panthers LB A.J. Klein was pegged as a starter for the second week in a row for injured LB Shaq Thompson. ... Carolina S Colin Jones, who's a key special teams player, missed the game because of a concussion suffered a week earlier at Los Angeles. ... In his last visit to Bank of America Stadium, Kansas City TE Travis Kelce caught a tie-breaking 83-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the 2012 Belk Bowl as Cincinnati defeated Duke. ... The Panthers have a quick turnaround with Thursday night's home game against New Orleans. ... The Chiefs face Tampa Bay next week in their only home outing in a four-game stretch.

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