The setup: Panthers faced a third-and-11 from their 35, 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
What happened: Cam Newton threw deep toward the right sideline for Steve Smith, who worked free between two defensive backs for a 19-yard catch to the Chiefs' 46.
Why it mattered: Five plays after picking up the first down, Newton hit Smith in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown that gave the Panthers a 14-10 lead.
The setup: Chiefs' ball, third-and-2 from their 28, 6:08 remaining in second quarter.
What happened: Running back Cyrus Gray was stopped short of the first down by defensive end Charles Johnson. But defensive end Greg Hardy was called for illegal use of hands, keeping the drive alive.
Why it mattered: Hardy's penalty was the first of three on the Panthers on the 80-yard drive, which allowed the Chiefs to take a 17-14 lead on the final play of the first half.
The setup: Panthers with a third-and-6 from their 48, 13:02 remaining in the third quarter.
What happened: Newton hung in against a blitz and delivered a perfectly thrown deep pass to Brandon LaFell, who dropped it. LaFell had a couple of steps on Javier Arenas and would have coasted into the end zone.
Why it mattered: Had LaFell caught the pass, the Panthers would have taken a 21-17 lead on their first possession of the second half.
Thomas' personal foul
The setup: Chiefs' ball, first-and-10 from their 46, 6:51 remaining in fourth quarter.
What happened: After the Panthers threw Jamaal Charles for a loss of 1, cornerback Josh Thomas picked up a 15-yard personal foul penalty for pushing a Chiefs' player. The penalty moved the Chiefs into Panthers' territory.
Why it mattered: The play helped set up Ryan Succop's 52-yard field goal, which increased the Chiefs' lead to 27-21.
The setup: Chiefs faced a third-and-6 from their 34, 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.
What happened: Quarterback Brady Quinn scrambled to his right for 6 yards, diving at the end of it to pick up the first down.
Why it mattered: Had the Panthers forced a punt, they would have had about three minutes to try to win the game. Instead, they didn't get the ball back until 18 seconds remained – at their 14 and out of timeouts.