It was only their second win of the season but definitely the most meaningful. Days after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend then drove to the Chiefs’ practice facility where he took his own life in front of the team general manager and head coach Romeo Crennel, the NFL’s worst team pulled out a hard fought victory against the Carolina Panthers 27-21.
After a moment of silence the Chiefs played arguably their best game of the year. Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak during one of the most difficult seasons the franchise has ever experienced. Hillis powered in to score the first touchdown for Kansas City on the opening possession of a game since Dec. 26, 2010. It was also the first touchdown drive engineered by Quinn since December 2009, when he helped the Browns beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
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In a poignant gesture to his emotional coach after scoring his first touchdown of the season, Hillis ran to the sideline and handed the ball to Crennel, then gave the affable head coach a big bear hug. The game was played in a half-empty stadium before a sparse crowd that could only muster some subdued cheering most of the afternoon given the tragedy that had occurred.