The Kansas City Chiefs put away the visiting Carolina Panthers for their eighth win in nine games.
The Carolina Panthers came to Kansas City ready to compete with the Chiefs, and Christian McCaffrey played well in his return from an ankle sprain, but it wasn’t enough to upend the defending Super Bowl champ on their home turf. The Chiefs had to come from behind, but ultimately they ruined McCaffrey’s return in a closer-than-expected 33-31 win in Week 9.
The Chiefs fell behind early as the Panthers came out aggressive on offense. The Panthers were the first to score on an eight minute drive that featured McCaffrey early and often. In fact, the back scored the game’s first touchdown on a short 9-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater.
The Chiefs came back with a stuttering drive that ended in a 39-yard field goal for Harrison Butker, his first of two in the first half. The Panthers then responded with another touchdown which was capped by a short pass to Curtis Samuel, who then took it in 14 yards for an impressive touchdown. At this point, it felt as if the Chiefs defense wasn’t going to be able to slow the Panthers nice array of weapons. Once again, the Chiefs responded with a long field goal to bring the margin back to 14-6.
From there, the Chiefs stopped the Panthers next drive, helped along by a couple penalties for the Panthers, and a poor punt gave the Chiefs great field position. From there, Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs on their first touchdown drive of the day, one that relied heavily on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. It ended with one of the more memorable plays of the season, one in which Mahomes goes in pre-snap motion. Yes, you read that correctly.
From there, the Panthers got the ball back before halftime and put together a long enough drive aided by a roughing the passer call on Chris Jones that put them in field goal range for Joey Slye. He nailed a 47-yard effort to put them up by four, 17-13.
Coming out of halftime, both teams stalled on their first drives before the Chiefs offense finally went to work. Kelce caught two big gains, including an incredible 44-yard effort, to set up a smart touchdown pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the Chiefs’ first lead of the game.
From the Chiefs not only stopped the Panthers fairly quickly on offense, but came back to march the field for another touchdown in response. Mahomes put up career touchdown No. 100 with a deep strike to Hill, his first of two fourth quarter scores.
The Panthers were determined to keep things close down the stretch. Heroics by Bridgewater, Samuel and McCaffrey all contributed to a long scoring drive in response to the Chiefs, and Matt Rhule’s aggression pushed for a successful two-point conversion to bring the Panthers close for a 26-24 Chiefs lead. Carolina then tried an onside kick that caught the Chiefs off guard, but the ball didn’t travel far enough to count and Mahomes had excellent field position to drive the short length for another touchdown toss to Hill.
From there, the Panthers put together another touchdown drive led by McCaffrey’s second score of the day and held the Chiefs on a three-and-out despite giving them a short field on the ensuing kickoff. The Panthers attempts to drive and win the game at the end, however, failed as they struggled with zero timeouts and clock management. A missed 67-yard field goal by Joey Slye made it official. The final score: Chiefs 33, Panthers 31.
With the win, the Chiefs move to 8-1 on the season and now head into their bye week. The Chiefs will then travel to Las Vegas to face the Raiders to begin their stretch run.