Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs Recap: Score, Stats, Highlights | AFC Championship

Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs Recap: Score, Stats, Highlights | AFC Championship

The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to their third Super Bowl in the last four years after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship on Sunday night. Harrison Butker’s 45-yard field goal clinched a game-winning 23-20 win at Arrowhead Stadium.

Mahomes shakes off ankle injury

All the talk leading up to the Championship Round surrounded the status of Patrick Mahomes’ high ankle sprain he suffered last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. From the first series, the Kansas City quarterback looked mobile, but maybe not as fluid as we’re used to seeing every week. There were moments of discomfort for the KC QB throughout the game, but when it counted most, Mahomes took care of business with his legs.

It was supposed to be a matchup between two teams that have been quite familiar with each other in recent years. The Bengals have had the Chiefs’ numbers in recent history, but that wasn’t the case in the AFC Title game at Arrowhead.

The high-octane shootout we all expected got off to a slow start as the KC defense pressured Cincy QB Joe Burrow on the first possession. They had four sacks in the first half, making it difficult for the Bengals’ gun to feel comfortable in the pocket.

Slow start for high-powered offenses

Despite the defensive dominance, Mahomes and the offense struggled to drill the ball into the end zone, settling for two field goals on their first two possessions. Cincinnati scored a field goal, and it wasn’t until late in the first half that the Chiefs found the end zone for the first time. On 4th and 1, the Chiefs decided to let Mahomes make a play on a kick and hit Travis Kelce for a 14-yard TD to take a 13-3 lead with four minutes left in the second quarter.

Evan McPherson’s late field goal to close the half cut the lead short, and coming out of halftime the Bengals offense finally got going. Burrow drove the Bengals down the field and hit Tee Higgins for a 27-yard TD to tie the game at 13-13.

It wouldn’t take long for Kansas City to respond. Punted on the next possession, Mahomes led an 11-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard dart up the middle to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the go-ahead touchdown. After a Cincy three-and-out, the Chiefs were driving down the field again, but Mahomes made a rare mistake when the ball slipped out of his hands on a four-and-out pass and Sam Hubbard recovered the fumble.

Six plays later the Bengals would tie the game on a Samaje Perine TD run from two yards out early in the fourth quarter.

Butker with the game winner

The Chiefs’ punts and Burrow’s second interception of the night set the stage for Mahomes to steal the show late in the fourth quarter. With 30 seconds left on the clock, KC took over at their own 47-yard line after a spectacular punt return by Skyy Moore. Joseph Ossai helped Kansas City when Mahomes scrambled from midfield on a 3rd-and-4, picked up a first down and then was hit late by the Bengals quarterback. The penalty put the Chiefs in goalie position and Butker drilled the game winner from 45 yards out with three seconds on the clock.

Mahomes didn’t look perfect, but on a night where he couldn’t rely on mobility in the pocket he still went 29/43 for 326 yards and three TDs, while Burrow went 26/41 for 270 yards, one TD. and threw two interceptions.

The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl for the third time in four years and are ready to face off in the desert against the Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona in two weeks.

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