KANSAS CITY, Missouri (WCMH) — The Cincinnati Bengals fell short of making a second straight Super Bowl as the Kansas City Chiefs beat Cincy 23-20 in the AFC Championship game to advance to Super Bowl LVII.
The Bengals were tied with the Chiefs 20-20 in the final seconds. With 17 seconds left, Patrick Mahomes scrambled for a first down that was still outside of field goal range. As he ran out of bounds, Bengals defender Joseph Ossai pushed Mahomes out and was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty.
The extra 15 yards set up a 45-yard game-winning field goal that Harrison Butker made with three seconds remaining to take the Chiefs to its third Super Bowl in the last five seasons.
Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Eagles rolled to the big game after a 31-7 win over a 49ers team that lost two quarterbacks to injuries during the NFC championship.
The matchup’s storylines include a battle of the NFL’s No. 1 seeds, a meeting between the two teams coached by Andy Reid, who currently coaches the Chiefs, and for the first time ever, brothers who are players on opposite ends of the Super Bowl (Travis Kelce for Kansas City and Jason Kelce for Philadelphia).
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12:11: Bengals punt to start
Cincinnati started out of the gates fast with two quick catches by Ja’Marr Chase to move the chains. After an incomplete pass to Chase, Samaje Perine ran for 6 yards as Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed went down with an injury. Burrow was then sacked by Frank Clark to end the drive and force an early punt.
8:50: Chiefs take 3-0 lead on first drive
The first drive for the Chiefs mirrored the Bengals with two quick plays to one playmaker. Running back Isiah Pacheco gained 18 yards on the first two plays to earn Kansas City its maiden first down of the night. Immediately after, Patrick Mahomes threw his first pass to Travis Kelce for a 16-yard gain.
On third down, Mahomes threw a rainbow pass to Kadarius Toney who snagged the ball with one hand and brought it down. It was initially called an incomplete pass and held with Toney bobbling the ball on his way down. Kicker Harrison Butler nailed a 43-yard field goal to give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead.
6:16: Burrow gets sacked twice
It was a quick three-and-out by the Bengals offense on its second drive. Burrow was sacked twice on second and third down, raising the total sacks allowed by Cincinnati to three in the game. They allowed just one in the divisional round win against the Bills.
0:00: Chiefs penalty negates touchdown
Pacheco picked up where he left off as he got an 18-yard gain on a screen pass for a first down. A diverse offensive attack from Kansas City got them to the red zone and what they thought was the first TD by Pacheco. The TD came back due to an offensive holding penalty and the Chiefs were forced to line up for a kick, which they would attempt to start the second quarter.
14:58: Chiefs go up 6 points with second field goal
Kansas City concluded a 12-play, 61-yard drive with a 24-yard kick from Butker to make it 6-0.
8:36: Bengals get on the board with field goal
The Bengals finally developed momentum on offense as Burrow was able to complete two first down throws after getting sacked for a fourth time. Cincinnati then could not get another first down from the KC 15 and settled for a 30-yard field goal from Evan McPherson, cutting the deficit to three points.
3:53: Mahomes finds Kelce for TD on 4th down
Mahomes stayed hot as he threw three straight big completions early in the drive, including a 29 yarder to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Bengals were then able to stop the Chiefs offense again near the end zone with Cam Sample sacking Mahomes on a 3rd and 1 play.
But instead of opting for a third field goal, the Chiefs went for it on 4th and 1 where Mahomes threw a 14 yard touchdown to Kelce to make it a 13-3 game. The touchdown was Kelce’s 15th of his career in the postseason.
2:22: Burrow throws interception
On a 3rd and 2 play, Burrow had time to throw and lobbed it towards Tee Higgins. The pass was easily intercepted by Jaylen Watson to give the Chiefs a short field on its next drive. It was Watson’s second INT in the playoffs.
2:03: Three incompletions lead to Chiefs punt
Despite a short field after the interception, the Chiefs could not gain a yard on the ensuing drive. Mahomes threw three incompletions and pinned the Bengals inside their own five before the two-minute warning.
0:00: Bengals end the half with a second field goal
Cincinnati started its final first half drive from its own five and though it ended with another interception on the third play. Instead, the interception was negated by a defensive pass interference penalty, allowing Burrow to get the Bengals past midfield on a slew of completions.
Burrow’s throws kept moving the ball downfield but they could not get the first touchdown. McPherson ended the half with a 23 yard field goal, giving the Chiefs a 13-6 lead at halftime.
PASSING: (CIN) Joe Burrow – 15/22, 147 yds, INT : (KC) Patrick Mahomes – 13/19, 165 yds, TD
RUSHING: (CIN) Samaje Perine – 2 carries, 11 yds : (KC) Isiah Pacheco – 3 carries, 9 yds
RECEIVING: (CIN) Tyler Boyd – 2 catches, 40 yds : (KC) Travis Kelce – 4 catches, 55 yards, TD
SACKS: Bengals – 1 : Chiefs – 4
THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY: Bengals – 3/7 : Chiefs – 1/5
TOTAL YARDS: Bengals – 141 : Chiefs – 184
13:29: Bengals defense forces Chiefs punt
Cincinnati’s defense began the second half with a massive drive against the Chiefs offense. Kansas City could not gain more than two yards on its first third quarter drive and punted to Trent Taylor, giving the Bengals the ball on its own 38.
9:54: Higgins TD for Cincy ties the game
After a key defensive stop, the Bengals offense began the third quarter hot in the run game. Cincinnati got the ball inside the KC 35 after a gutsy 3rd and 6 call for a quarterback draw, which resulted in an 11-yard gain from Burrow.
Burrow then threw a 3rd down touchdown to Tee Higgins from 27 yards away with McPherson’s extra point tying the game at 13. Higgins jumped high for the catch and toe tapped to the endzone.
4:15: Valdes-Scantling catches TD, gives Chiefs lead
On 3rd and 4 for the Chiefs, Mecole Hardman made his second catch to get a first down but was injured on the play. Mahomes also limped on the field after making the 11 yard throw, potentially reaggravating his right ankle injury.
Kansas City then got the ball near the red zone and challenged a 3rd and 7 catch by Valdes-Scantling that was ruled a 4th down as he reached his arm to get the first down. The call was reversed and it was ruled a 1st down. Mahomes then thread the needle on the 11th play and found Valdes-Scantling for a 19-yard TD, making it 20-13 Kansas City.
2:53: Holding call prevents long Bengals drive
Cincinnati thought they had another first down when Chase had a 19-yard catch and run, but it was quickly brought back after a holding call. The Bengals punted the ball back to Kansas City.
0:55: Sam Hubbard recovers Mahomes fumble
With the Chiefs moving the ball down the field, Mahomes uncharacteristically fumbled the ball as he was trying to throw a screen pass. Sam Hubbard pounced on the ball to recover to give the Bengals the ball back.
13:30: Huge 4th down pass leads to Bengals game-tying TD
The first play of the fourth quarter was a huge 4th and 6 conversion for the Bengals as Burrow threw a 35-yard pass to Chase. Perine then punched it through the line for a two-yard touchdown, tying the game at 20.
9:18: Odd drive ends with Chiefs punt
A strange two-play sequence started with a Chiefs 3rd and 9 play that was not converted and was allowed to be re-played after refs ruled the whistle was blown before the snap because the play clocked stopped. On the replay, Mahomes was sacked but the Chiefs got a free first down after Eli Apple was called for holding.
Kansas City ended up punting on the drive, giving Cincinnati a chance to take its first lead of the game.
6:53: Deep Burrow throw intercepted
After Burrow scrambled for 14 yards, he threw a deep pass on 3rd and 3 that was tipped and intercepted by Joshua Williams. The second interception from Burrow was returned to the Chiefs 14 yard line.
2:30: Chiefs punt again on late drive
Kansas City could not take the lead on a late drive, giving Burrow a chance for a potential game-winning drive with 2:30 left in the game.
Bengals can’t get go-ahead score
Cincinnati converted a massive 3rd and 16 with a Burrow throw to Hayden Hurst to move the ball to the Bengals 35 with less than one minute to go. On the next third down, Burrow was sacked by Chris Jones to force a 4th down with 41 seconds to go.
Kanas City’s Skyy Moore returned the punt 29 yards to the KC 47 with 30 seconds left.
Butker kicks go-ahead field goal with 3 seconds left
On 3rd and 4 with 21 seconds left, Mahomes ran the ball 9 yards for a first down. An additional 15 yards was added after the play following a unnecessary roughness call on the Bengals.