An already challenging season for the Kansas City Chiefs only got tougher following Saturday's tragic events.
But the show went on.
And somehow the Chiefs avoided tying their longest losing streak in franchise history.
A day after linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend before taking his own life at the team's facility, the Chiefs resiliently took the field and downed the Carolina Panthers, 27-21, snapping their eight-game slide.
"As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do, because that's what we do," Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said. "That's what we do, we play on Sunday."
On Saturday, Belcher shot his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, multiple times after the two had argued at home. Minutes after the first shooting, Belcher drove to the Chiefs' training facility at Arrowhead Stadium and spoke with team personnel, including Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, before taking his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot.
The couple leaves behind their three-month-old daughter, an orphan.
Despite witnessing the suicide of Belcher, Crennel was on the sideline.
The Chiefs conducted a moment of silence prior to the game for all victims of domestic violence.
Belcher was in his fourth year with the Chiefs after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Maine. He started 10 of the 11 games he had played this season and registered 38 tackles.
Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-23 efficiency for the Chiefs (2-10), who avoided joining the 1987 and 2007 Chiefs as the only teams to lose nine straight games in franchise history.
Jamaal Charles carried the ball 27 times for 127 yards in the win.
Cam Newton completed 15-of-27 passes for 232 yards and three scores, while adding 78 yards on the ground for the Panthers (3-9), who downed the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.
"They played an inspired football game," Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said. "They did some really good things, and we have to give them credit, because they suffered through a very difficult time."
Kansas City took its opening possession of the contest 74 yards in just six plays before Peyton Hillis rumbled in for a 2-yard score and the Chiefs' first score on their first drive of a game since Dec. 26, 2010.
Following the touchdown, Hillis ran to the sideline and gave Crennel the football before giving the hefty coach a bear hug.
The Panthers quickly answered when Greg Olsen capped a 6-play, 75-yard march with a 47-yard TD catch.
Ryan Succop booted through a 42-yard field goal, but Carolina countered again when Newton converted three third downs, the last being a 23-yard TD pass to Steve Smith in the back left corner of the end zone on 3rd-and-3 for a 14-10 Panthers advantage early in the second.
The Chiefs finished the half with one of their most impressive treks all season. They took the remaining 7:25 off the clock and went 80 yards in 13 plays.
The elongated march was capped when Crennel went for it on 4th-and-1 from the 1-yard line with two ticks left and Quinn found Tony Moeaki in the back of the end zone, which made it 17-14 in favor of the hosts at the break.
Kansas City had another prolonged march in the third quarter, this one going 87 yards in 17 plays, while taking 9:56 off the clock.
Quinn concluded the march when he flipped a 3-yard score to Jon Baldwin and extend the margin to 24-14.
Carolina answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive, which concluded when Newton found Louis Murphy for an 8-yard score, which cut the deficit to 24-21.
Succop increased the Chiefs' cushion when he drilled a 52-yard field goal with 4:54 to play.
Carolina then went three-and-out, the first time either team had done that all game, and didn't regain possession until 18 ticks showed on the clock.
Newton completed a Hail Mary pass to Smith for a 53-yard gain on the last play of the contest, but Smith was brought down at the 8-yard line.
Carolina was seeking its third straight win in the series ... Dwayne Bowe had 64 yards on four catches for the Chiefs ... Carolina outgained Kansas City, 385-355 ... Smith had five catches for 120 yards.