Each week we hand out team-by-team grades for every game in the NFL. This page will update throughout the week, so mark it here. You'll probably agree with every single grade, but if not, leave your thoughts in the comments below or harass me on Twitter @WillBrinson.
The Chiefs overcame the tragic events of Saturday, when linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then took his own life at the Chiefs facility, to win their second game of the season Sunday.
It was impressive that Kansas City performed at a high level against the Panthers in a game that began a little more than 24 hours later. The Chiefs managed to show a bit of why people picked them as a possible AFC West champs.
Brady Quinn was an unlikely stud, going 19 of 23 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Jamaal Charles ran the ball 27 times for 127 yards. The Chiefs converted fourth downs and only punted once. The defense couldn't do much to stop Cam Newton, who threw a number of long passes, but it did pressure him frequently and managed to bottle up DeAngelo Williams and the Panthers rushing attack.
Using the word "inspiration" in the context of a murder-suicide is something I'm not prepared to do, but it was particularly impressive to see the Chiefs galvanize following an unfathomably difficult situation.
It's obviously not over; as Romeo Crennel noted after the game, the healing and all the things that go along with a tragedy like this don't end right away.
"It might not be over for some time for a lot of the guys," Crennel said.
The season is short for KC, but the road's still long. On Sunday, though, the Chiefs did the impossible. And while it's not worth a whole lot of anything in the big scheme of things, they get high marks from me.
|Chiefs 27, Panthers 21|
|B-||Not an ideal game for the Panthers, but not an ideal situation either. The defense couldn't stop Kansas City from running the ball, but you've gotta feel good about the way Cam Newton looked again on Sunday. He's had two very impressive outings a row that reminds a lot of his rookie season. Better days might just be ahead for the Panthers after all.|
|A||This win won't change the Chiefs' season, but it's a reminder about a few things. One, the fans in Kansas City are a passionate group who deeply care about this team. Two, even if a football team isn't performing perfectly it shouldn't be a full-blown indictment of the people on that team's abilities. Sunday showed that. And three, for as bad as things can look on the field at times, there are much worse circumstances in life.|
|Falcons 23, Saints 13|
|D-||Drew Brees' consecutive games-with-a-TD streak ended at 54. Upside: his streak of five-interception games stands at one. Other than the first drive, the defense played well, but the 1985 Bears couldn't have overcome the worst game of Brees' career. It's been one of those years in New Orleans. Before the game, Brees could be heard telling his teammates, "This is our division. We know it and they know it." Somebody forgot to tell the Falcons. - Ryan Wilson|
|B-||The offense was inconsistent but the defense played out of its mind. Brees suddenly forgetting how to throw a football certainly helped, but much of the credit should go to Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and his players. Maybe this is the game that will get people believing that Atlanta's legit. - Ryan Wilson|
|Bills 34, Jaguars 18|
|D||The Jaguars defense got carved up by Buffalo and Jason Babin wasn't exactly an instant-impact addition on Sunday. Chad Henne went 18-for-41, which is just ... ugh. Jacksonville attempted 15 rushes and came away with 49 yards against a Bills team that wasn't exactly stuffing opponents prior to this.|
|B+||So that's what the Bills would look like if the defense showed up every week and they didn't need to rely on Ryan Fitzpatrick all the time? OK then. Buffalo sacked Chad Henne four times, picked him once and forced a trio of fumbles in this surprising route. Also, Fitzpatrick only had to throw 17 times as Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller were both effective. Can't wait til this formula doesn't work next week!|
|Seahawks 23, Bears 17|
|B+||Remember when Russell Wilson was a "game manager" dependent on his defense to win games? LOL. Wilson led two game-winning, fourth-quarter or overtime drives in this game and bailed his secondary, which gave up 165 yards to Brandon Marshall, out on the road. This is the type of win that could change the Seahawks season in a big, big way.|
|C+||This game should be a major red flag for Chicago: their offense got going with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall hooking up for big numbers, but they let a rookie quarterback win just his second road game against a really tough defense. Russell Wilson didn't commit a turnover and Marshawn Lynch ran well against a Bears team that's quietly lost three of its last four and a hold on the NFC North.|
|Colts 35, Lions 33|
|B||I really want to just paste a picture of Andrew Luck's face/neckbeard here, after the rookie quarterback threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns, including a walk-off, check-down to Donnie Avery to complete his fifth fourth-quarter or overtime comeback of the season. Indianapolis didn't really play well and Luck wasn't that good most of the day, but the dude just gets it done when it counts.|
|B-||Calvin Johnson's kicking the Madden Curse to the curb and is on pace to break Jerry Rice's receiving yards record for a single season. He had 13 catches and 171 yards on Sunday, but he can't do it himself, and the Lions lack of secondary showed up big time in the fourth quarter, which isn't good in a game you need to win. Mostly though, this was a pretty nice day for Detroit, until the Colts pulled a Lions on them.|
|Packers 23, Vikings 14|
|C-||The Vikings could've stolen this game if they'd done the obvious: ridden Adrian Peterson, who ran for 210 yards on 21 carries. Instead, they let Christian Ponder throw in the red zone and he ended up tossing a pair of picks.|
|C+||Green Bay's defense came up with some big turnovers when it mattered and Aaron Rodgers made some big-time throws to seal this game. James Starks and Alex Green both ran well, which is a good sign for the Packers future, even if Jordy Nelson going back down with an injury isn't exactly great news. The defense still has major issues, and could've given up a lot more points.|
|Patriots 23, Dolphins 16|
|B-||Aaron Hernandez (eight catches, 97 yards) is very good, but he is no Rob Gronkowski. Fortunately, Wes Welker was his catch-heavy self again, tying Jerry Rice's record for most 10-plus reception games at 17. Solid division-clinching win for the Patriots against a team that's given them lots of trouble in the past.|
|C-||The Dolphins couldn't hold onto the ball (four fumbles, just one lost) and they couldn't get rolling against the Patriots rush defense. More troubling is the loss of Jake Long, which moves Jonathan Martin to left tackle and turns Ryan Tannehill into a tackling dummy. Tannehill also missed some throws he's got to make.|
|Jets 7, Cardinals 6|
|F-||I'm failing both teams because it's not fair for anyone to suffer through this game. The Cardinals lost so they get the "normal" F. Also, why is Ryan Lindley still out there? What point is Ken Whisenhunt trying to prove? The Cardinals have lost eight straight.|
|F+||I'm failing both teams because it's not fair for anyone to suffer through this game. The Jets get a plus because they won, and would've been higher but it took them too long to realize that Mark Sanchez -- 10/21, 97 yards, 3 picks -- isn't the answer.|
|Rams 16, 49ers 13|
|D||It'll be fun to see what "hot hand" means to Jim Harbaugh: Colin Kaepernick only turned the ball over once, but he didn't exactly put any points up on the board for the 49ers, who nearly fell to a very weird 8-2-2. The defense had a nice day but the offense couldn't get a whole lot going when it counted against St. Louis. Kaepernick's throw away from his own end zone was something Alex Smith wouldn't do under any circumstances.|
|C-||Chris Givens is starting to develop as a nice little weapon for the Rams and their cornerback tandem of Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins keeps impressing. This wasn't the prettiest win by any stretch of the imagination, but St. Louis held serve against a strong 49ers team and made life tough for Kaepernick.|
|Texans 24, Titans 10|
|B+||The Texans did what the Texans do: run the ball well, play good defense and let Matt Schaub take a few shots down the field. A 21-3 halftime lead against a team like Tennessee basically ended this game before it really got going.|
|D||Jake Locker threw three interceptions and fumbled twice, Chris Johnson never got going (and also fumbled once), and the Titans defense didn't have much of a chance against the Houston offense.|