(Sunday, September 23rd)
Final Score: Kansas City 27, New Orleans 24 (OT)
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Ryan Succop kicked the last of his six field goals with 6:27 remaining in overtime to lift the Kansas City Chiefs to a 27-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Jamaal Charles finished with 233 yards, including a franchise-record 91-yard touchdown run, on 33 carries for the Chiefs (1-2), who scored the game's final 21 points. Matt Cassel threw for 248 yards and one interception while completing 26-of-44 passes.
Drew Brees had 240 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-36 passing for New Orleans, which is off to its first 0-3 start since dropping four straight games to begin the 2007 season.
"We are going to rally and it's going to bring us together but guys need to take a hard look at themselves and see how they can improve," Brees said.
New Orleans benefited from a controversial ruling early in the third quarter. Cassel opened the second half by completing a 3-yard pass to Dexter McCluster, who fumbled the ball after injuring his left elbow while falling to the ground. It wasn't clear if McCluster was declaring himself down, but the Chiefs retained possession at first.
After a challenge from the Saints, the call on the field was overturned, giving New Orleans possession at the spot of the recovery -- the Kansas City 19-yard line.
Referee Don King ruled that an inadvertent whistle had been blown, stopping the play.
The questionable turnover led to a 1-yard TD grab by Jimmy Graham, and things only got worse for the Chiefs when Cassel was picked off by Jabari Greer, whose 28-yard return set up a 1st-and-goal from the seven. After a 1-yard run by Mark Ingram, Brees found Jed Collins for a touchdown.
The pendulum of momentum quickly swung in favor of the Chiefs as Charles raced nearly the length of the field to the end zone on the first play of the ensuing drive.
Brees was then intercepted by Stanford Routt, and Succop kicked a 34-yard field goal, drawing Kansas City to within 24-16 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Succop added a 38-yarder before Brees was sacked in the end zone for a safety with 5:33 remaining.
After the free kick, the Chiefs faced a 3rd-and-10 from their own 38-yard line. Cassel was under duress, scrambling away from defenders, when he found Jonathan Baldwin, who made a leaping grab past the first-down marker.
Kansas City's offense then faced a 4th-and-5 from the New Orleans 46 and Cassel moved the chains with a 7-yard pass to Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs eventually marched to the 25 and Succop nailed a 43-yarder with three seconds remaining to force overtime.
In the extra session, the Chiefs sealed the win on their second possession. Charles converted a 4th-and-1 from the New Orleans 44 with a 3-yard run and Bowe made a 9-yard reception on third down to place the ball at the 27.
Four combined runs by Shaun Draughn and Charles set up Succop's game-ending 31-yard field goal.
"They showed a lot of character and fortitude by being down by 18 and then coming back and going into overtime, then being able to win the game," said Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel. "Certain guys stepped up and made plays that helped us win."
The Saints started fast on Sunday when Darren Sproles broke free for a 47-yard gain on his first rushing attempt of the season. The long third-down run was followed by a slant pass to Marques Colston that picked up 19 yards. After a Colston drop, Brees hit Lance Moore for a 9-yard touchdown.
Kansas City produced points on its first drive of the game, but had to settle for a 25-yard Succop field goal after Baldwin nearly made a stylish one-handed grab in the back of the end zone on 3rd-and-5 from the New Orleans 6-yard line.
On New Orleans' next drive, Brees moved the chains with third-down completions of 36 and 17 yards to Devery Henderson and Moore, respectively. Facing a 3rd- and-4 from the Kansas City 24, Brees tossed a short pass to Graham. The tight end appeared to be wrapped up shy of the first down, but lunged forward to get the necessary yards. However, the Chiefs challenged the play and the video showed Graham's knee had touched the ground at the 22.
Garrett Hartley opened the second quarter by kicking a 40-yard field goal, extending the Saints' lead to 10-3.
A 24-yard punt return by Javier Arenas enabled the Chiefs to start from the New Orleans 45 later in the frame. Cassel hit Bowe over the middle for 15 yards on first down, but the drive stalled and Succop connected on a 45- yard field goal.
New Orleans looked to pad its lead before halftime, marching to the Kansas City 9-yard line. On second down, Pierre Thomas made a juggling catch while falling down at the five and, with no defenders around, had the awareness to get back to his feet and run into the end zone. But the officials reversed the call, ruling it an incomplete pass.
Brees wound up being sacked on third down and the Saints came away empty- handed when Hartley missed a 38-yard field goal.
Brees has now thrown a touchdown pass in 46 consecutive games, one shy of Johnny Unitas' NFL record ... Graham has now caught a touchdown pass in six straight regular season games, the longest streak in team history.
09/23 19:03:35 ET
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