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.
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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.