Grant Green – 23 Sports

he Carolina Panthers are probably the best 3-6 team in the NFL this season, the Panthers have lost by more than one possession in only one game so far this season. Not to mention they return arguably the best running back in the league in Christian McCaffrey from injury. 

Sitting at 7-1 and with three straight wins, it was important for the Kansas City Chiefs to avoid getting caught by surprise. 

At the end of a long 15 play drive for the Panthers, McCaffrey slipped up the middle and was wide open for a nine-yard pass for the opening touchdown, McCaffrey’s first touchdown reception since week one.

Kansas City responded with a 39-yard field goal by Harrison Butker, but on the next possession, Carolina found the endzone once again. The drive was extended thanks to a fake punt from punter Joseph Charlton to wide receiver Brandon Zylstra that moved the Panthers up from their own 45 to the opposing 26-yard line.

Three plays later, Curtis Samuel scored from fourteen yards out on a swing route, and the Panthers were up 14-3.

After another field goal and forcing the Panthers to punt for the first time, Kansas City got their offense going, taking them only seven plays to find the endzone. Chiefs trying to be a little clever, as Patrick Mahomes pretended not to be ready for the snap, ran back behind the center, and then found Demarcus Robinson for the touchdown and closing that lead to one, 14-13 Panthers with 3:45 remaining in the first half.

Coming out of the break, Carolina led 17-13, a perfect chance for Kansas City to bring the momentum over to their side, but a rarely missed field goal from Butker from 48 yards out delayed that. Fortunately, enough Panthers kicker Justin Slye missed one of his own from 51 yards out, and it took Kansas City only five plays for Mahomes to find star rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the touchdown from just four yards out. And now, after nearly three quarters, the Chiefs finally led the ball game.

And now Kansas City started to show why they are defending super bowl champions, back to back 25+ yard passes from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, Chiefs scored in just six plays, now up 26-17 after a missed extra point.

However, this Panthers team showed some incredible fight, on a 4th and 14 early in the fourth quarter, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater converted after diving for the first down surrounded by Chiefs defenders, just one of many great plays from Bridgewater this game. And he followed that up by finding the gaping hole and running up the middle for the touchdown bringing the Panthers to within two, 26-24.

These two teams traded touchdowns first with Mahomes finding Hill in the front corner of the endzone from two yards out, and then McCaffrey got his second touchdown of the game off a one-yard rush making it 33-31 Chiefs.

The game ultimately came down to the final Panthers drive after Bridgewater’s pass was knocked down by safety Armani Watts, Carolina now had the choice of either a hail mary or a 67-yard field goal. And Head Coach Matt Rhule showed faith in his kicker. The kick went up, had the strength, had the distance, and… missed by about ten yards to the right. Kansas City moved up to 8-1 on the season, Carolina continues to lose close games, they fall to 3-6 on the season.

Looking ahead:

For the Panthers, they looked great. Teddy Bridgewater finished 36/49 with two passing touchdowns and one running the ball. Christian McCaffrey in his first game back with 151 total yards, two touchdowns for him, one running and one receiving. Curtis Samuel with 102 yards receiving with a touchdown. They looked great. You are not going to stop this Kansas City offense, you can only hope to contain it. Next week they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not an ideal game, it’s hard to imagine how focused this Tampa Bay team will be after being smacked on prime time. But it is a divisional rival, a big upset win can be the start of a late playoff push.

For the Chiefs, it’s been as close to a perfect season as they could hope for, even in their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders back in week five, they looked solid for most of the game. Knock on wood, but no major injuries so far, and looking at the remaining schedule, it would be surprising if this team finished any worse than 13-3. However, it starts with the revenge tour in two weeks against Vegas.

About Smith, Kayler (MU-Student)

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