KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On a day when the Kansas City Chiefs offense didn’t find its rhythm and the defensed found itself gashed for more than 200 yards rushing, the Chiefs kicking game provided the winning margin in 19-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.
Kicker Cairo Santos finished a perfect four-for-four on field goals, including a 51-yarder. He kept himself ready to kick a fifth field goal if he his team needed it for the win.
“I didn’t really celebrate until Charcandrick (West) got that first down,” Santos said of the run that iced the game with just more than a minute to play. “You have to stay in it.”
Sunday proved a nearly perfect day for the Chiefs specialist of Santos, punter Dustin Colquitt and long snapper James Winchester. Colquitt finished with a dazzling 45.6-yard net average on seven punts. His 59-yard punt with just more than three minutes to play flipped the field on the Jaguars at a critical juncture.
Quarterback Nick Foles took a sack on third down for an 11-yard loss. That left Colquitt to punt from the Chiefs’ 18-yard line with 3 minutes, 15 seconds to go in the game.
The veteran punter tried to kick the ball over the head of Jaguars punt returner Bryan Walters and rely on his coverage team to make a play.
“It’s one of those where we just try to flip the field and let our defense do the rest,” Colquitt said.
The punt drove Walters back to his own 23-yard line. He managed a return of 12 yards, but the net 47 yards on the punt gave the Chiefs defense a chance to slow the Jacksonville momentum.
The Chiefs punter credits gunners Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson for allowing him to let loose long kicks and know he can’t outback his coverage.
“They’re beating doubles, when they’re singled up they are winning those,” Colquitt said. “It’s amazing watching them catch on as quickly as they have.”
The Chiefs owned a five-point lead at the end of the game thanks to an exchange of field goal attempts by both teams earlier in the second half.
Midway through the third quarter, Santos nailed a 51-yard field goal try. Jaguars kicker Jason Myers tried to counter with a 54-yard kick of his own at then end of the third quarter. But the kick sailed wide right, leaving the Chiefs ahead 16-7.
Kansas City used the field position after the miss to setup Santos for a 36-yard field goal. That put the Chiefs up 19-7, a margin that proved critical coming down the stretch, particularly after the Jaguars added a touchdown to make it 19-14.
“If they would have scored a touchdown, now we need a field to either tie the game or win the game,” Santos said.
The perfect day helped the third-year kicker erase the the bitter taste from hitting a 28-yard field goal off the upright last week at Indianapolis.
“I’m very glad I had a chance to kick a lot of field goals today,” Santos said. “Field goals that mattered in an important game for us. I feel good to bounce back and be a part of the win.”
Coach Andy Reid said the perfect day from Santos helped deliver the win for the Chiefs.
“We have a lot of trust in him,” Reid said. “I know he’s missed a couple, but it doesn’t alter our trust in him. He’s a good kicker.”
Santos said that trust means much to him.
“It’s huge,” Santos said. “I want to be a part of a win. I want to mean something to him. My job is to give him that trust.”