KANSAS CITY, MO -- Against the backdrop of an unthinkable tragedy, the Kansas City Chiefs gave themselves a reason to be proud Sunday -- and perhaps the impetus to let the healing begin.
Before the game fans grilled, played catch and enjoyed beverages on an unseasonably warm and sunny day outside Arrowhead Stadium, a little more than 24 hours after a Chiefs player killed himself nearby after shooting his girlfriend.
The festive atmosphere masked some of the pain Chiefs fans felt after hearing that linebacker Jovan Belcher had killed 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins then driven to the team practice facility and turned the gun on himself, orphaning the couple's infant daughter.
Coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli tried to stop Belcher, but instead watched as he shot himself in the head.
Before kickoff, the crowd was asked to observe a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence and their families. There was no mention of Belcher.
Once the game began, Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards in the Chiefs' 27-21 victory over their Carolina Panthers. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak during one of the most difficult seasons the franchise has ever experienced.
The win came just one day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times at a residence near Arrowhead Stadium, then drove to the team's practice facility and turned the gun on himself as general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel looked on.
Pioli walked through the press box before the game and said he was doing "OK," though he didn't stop to talk. Crennel was on the sideline coaching his team to an uplifting victory.