Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos has had his share of struggles this season, but his performance in a 41-14 victory over the Patriots on Monday night should quiet his critics for a while.
Santos, a rookie, made two field goals, from 31 and 22 yards, and had four touchbacks on his first four kickoffs against the Patriots.
“I definitely felt like I contributed to the team with my kickoffs and the two field goals I had,” Santos said. “It’s great to bounce back from the (first) two games of my career, but I think I learned a lot. It’s definitely a learning process but I’m very pleased with the way it went tonight.”
Entering the game, Santos had made only two of four field-goal attempts and only five of his 14 kickoffs went for touchbacks, which tied for 27th in the league.
The Chiefs released their longtime kicker, Ryan Succop, during final cuts in favor of Santos, a much cheaper option. By cutting Succop, the Chiefs gained roughly $2 million in cap space this year, $2.5 million next year and $3 million in 2016.
Through four games, Succop has made six of eight field goals and kicked 10 touchbacks.