KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For all the games they had won in their first three seasons with coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith, the Kansas City Chiefs rarely showed the ability to rally from any kind of significant deficit. Once they were behind by a sizable margin, they were as good as done.
But on Sunday, they again announced that 2016 is a new day in this regard. They rallied from deficits of 17 points late in the first half and 14 points early in the fourth quarter to take a 20-17 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Suddenly, it’s time to consider the Chiefs a threat even if they are trailing significantly.
Safety Eric Berry returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown in the final period to ignite the rally. Marcus Peters caused and recovered a fumble in the game’s final minute to set up Cairo Santos' 37-yard game-winning field goal on the game's final play.
This kind of versatility will come in handy for the Chiefs. They’re the most complete of the AFC West teams because of their ability to win a game when one side of the ball if the other side isn’t carrying its fair share of the load.
For most of the game on Sunday, the side that wasn't doing its part was the offense. Looking ahead, it will be difficult for the Chiefs to win many games dragging their offense along for the ride, as they had to against the Panthers. The Chiefs’ longest play of the day until the fourth quarter was 12 yards.
The Chiefs trailed the San Diego Chargers by as much as 21 points in the third quarter of the season opener before rallying for an overtime win. As opposed to that win over the Chargers, when the Chiefs scored 30 points in the final 23 minutes, this win was paved by their defense.
The Chiefs extended their winning streak to five games. At 7-2, they are tied for first place in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders.