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NFL notebook: Chiefs are 4-0 for a reason


Kansas City has dominated fourth quarters this season to become the league’s last undefeated team.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The biggest reason the Kansas City Chiefs are the last remaining unbeaten team through the first four weeks of the NFL season is someone long ago decided games should be 60 minutes.
The Chiefs showed second-half chops again Monday night, rallying from an early 10-point deficit against Washington.
Harrison Butker kicked the go-ahead 43-yard field goal with eight seconds left, and Justin Houston returned a fumble for a punctuating score on the final play to cap another remarkable fourth quarter and keep the Chiefs perfect.
“Especially a fourth-quarter game like that, it feels like we’ve had just about every game that we’ve started off here be pretty close,” tight end Travis Kelce said. “I mean, it’s just to see this team finish, man, it’s unbelievable.”
The Chiefs trailed New England 17-14 at halftime of their opener before a 21-0 fourth-quarter binge resulted in a 42-27 victory. They led Philadelphia 6-3 at the break in their home opener before a big second half resulted in a 27-20 win. And they led just 17-10 last week against the Chargers before a second-half shutout for a 24-10 victory.
The Chiefs are outscoring opponents 54-13 in fourth quarters.
“We knew we were better than that,” running back Kareem Hunt said of the rough start against Washington, which included a series of missed blocks and penalties. “We just had to keep coming out and fighting. Those guys knew we had a lot of football left in the game. We came back from 10 against the Patriots. We just had to keep fighting.”
Washington took a 17-14 lead on a touchdown pass midway through the third quarter, then tied the game with 47 seconds left on Dustin Hopkins’ 40-yard field goal.
But quarterback Alex Smith hit Albert Wilson for a 37-yard gain on a broken play, and that put Butker in position to drill the go-ahead field goal.
Oh, and about the kicker: He was claimed off the Carolina practice squad earlier in the week to replace the injured Cairo Santos, and missed his first career field-goal attempt in the first half.
He bounced back to hit three in the second. But that’s the way the Chiefs’ season has gone.
Lose running back Spencer Ware to a season-ending knee injury in preseason? Hunt emerges as a star.
Lose safety Eric Berry to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in Week 1? Daniel Sorensen turns into a reliable playmaker.
Lose starting center Mitch Morse to a foot sprain? Zach Fulton is there.
“We have a tremendous amount of leaders on this team,” wide receiver Tyreek Hill said, “and they do a good job of being vocal in both huddles.”
PACKERS: Running back Ty Montgomery will prepare this week as if he will play Sunday against Dallas, but his broken ribs might keep him out.
On the first play of a 35-14 victory Thursday night against Chicago, Montgomery gained 5 yards before being tackled by Danny Trevathan. As Montgomery and Trevathan hit the turf, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks fell on Trevathan’s knee.
“His knee was kind of lodged into my ribs, and then the defensive tackle landed full body weight on him,” Montgomery said.
“It was like a hammer-and-nail-type situation. His knee was hammered into my ribcage.”
Montgomery stayed in the game and carried the ball four times in the next five plays before leaving.
SAINTS: New Orleans placed right tackle Zach Strief on injured reserve, possibly ending his season.
Strief left Sunday’s victory against Miami in London with a knee injury. It was his second knee injury this season. He also was hurt in the opener Sept. 11 at Minnesota and missed two games before returning last week.
BEARS: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky thinks he can handle the pressure of his first NFL start Monday night against Minnesota.
“You only get nervous or feel pressure when you’re not prepared for the situation or where you don’t know what you’re doing,” Trubisky said.
WASHINGTON: Cornerback Josh Norman is week-to-week after fracturing a rib Monday night in a loss to Kansas City.
Norman said after the 29-20 loss that he fell awkwardly on the heel of someone’s shoe and it hurt to breathe.
TITANS: Tennessee added Brandon Weeden to the roster as a third quarterback with Marcus Mariota recovering from a strained hamstring.
Mariota is day to day after hurting his hamstring in a 57-14 loss to Houston.
FALCONS: Atlanta placed backup defensive tackle Jack Crawford on injured reserve with a biceps injury.
Crawford, a native of London, has five tackles in four games. He left Sunday’s 23-17 loss to Buffalo with the injury.
PANTHERS: Carolina signed safety Jairus Byrd to help fill in for veteran Kurt Coleman, who’ll miss at least a month with a knee injury.
Carolina also placed wide receiver Damiere Byrd on injured reserve.
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