Kansas City Chiefs keep emotions in check to score rare victory
Battling their grief as much as their opponents, the Kansas City Chiefs scored a rare win on Sunday, just 24 hours after one of the darkest days in American sport.
With the country still in shock after Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend then committed suicide, the struggling Chiefs kept their emotions in check to beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21 at Arrowhead Stadium.
The New England Patriots, the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos all won on Sunday to book their spots in the play-offs with four weeks to spare. The Atlanta Falcons also advanced to the post-season, leaving eight places up for grabs, when they clinched the NFC South Division after they won on Thursday and Tampa Bay lost on Sunday. The Baltimore Ravens missed their first chance to qualify when they were beaten 23-20 by their AFC North division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears both lost in overtime, but the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts were celebrating victories that left them on the verge of making the post-season.
The Patriots, last season’s beaten Super Bowl finalists, clinched the AFC East division with a 23-16 win over the Miami Dolphins in Florida.
The Texans also chalked up their sixth straight victory, beating the Tennessee Titans 24-10 to secure their spot in the play-offs, although they have still not clinched the AFC South division.
The Colts stayed in touch with an extraordinary 35-33 comeback win over the Detroit Lions, while the Broncos wrapped up the AFC West title for the second year in a row after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23.
The Packers joined Chicago at the top of the NFC North with a 23-14 win over Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, with Aaron Rodgers completing 27 of 35 passes.
Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein converted a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime to hand the St Louis Rams a 16-13 victory over the 49ers, while rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice to give the Seattle Seahawks a 23-17 overtime victory over the Bears.