It's certainly a somber and different scene from most Sundays at Arrowhead Stadium. The Panthers and Chiefs are playing just one day after the horrific murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher. The Chiefs made the decision Saturday afternoon to play the game as originally scheduled, and after a pregame moment of silence to honor victims of domestic abuse, both teams took the field and went back to work.
The Chiefs struck early, marching down the field on their opening possession for a quick 7-0 lead. The drive took just over three minutes and lasted only six plays, with Peyton Hillis punching it in from two yards out. Quarterback Brady Quinn was sharp on the opening drive, hitting Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin for two big gains. The pass to Baldwin covered 34 yards as the wideout stretched for the goal line but came up just short. One play later, Hillis would carry it in for six.
It didn't take long for the Panthers to answer, as they went on their own quick three-minute drive to even it up. Cam Newton rifled one to Greg Olsen, and the veteran tight end rumbled 47 yards for the touchdown. Newton put the Panthers ahead on their next possession when he found Steve Smith for a 23-yard score early in the second quarter.
After points on the first four drives of the game, things would settle down a bit until the Chiefs got their final possession before the half. Kansas City went on a sustained drive that covered the final 7:25 of the half, and at 1-10 and not much to lose, Romeo Crennel opted to go for it on fourth down inside the five-yard line with just two seconds remaining. The conventional play would have been to kick the field goal and cut the lead to one on the final play of the half, but the Chiefs opted to go for it after spending much of the quarter driving the ball to the doorstep of the end zone.
Brian Daboll called for a play-action rollout of Quinn, and the Chiefs quarterback hit Tony Moeaki going the other way across the back of the end zone. Crennel's gamble paid off, and the Chiefs took a 17-14 lead into the locker room.