This budding rivalry produced yet another classic playoff game, but this time, the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes were finally able to take down Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC Championship, 23-20.
Super Bowl LVII will be between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and can be seen on FOX.
After forcing the Bengals to punt the ball with less than a minute to play in the game, rookie returner Skyy Moore got just the right blocks to take it back 29 yards to the Kansas City 47-yard line to set up Mahomes to get yards enough for Harrison Butker to kick it through for the win.
Mahomes scrambled out to try to pick up those yards and the Bengals’ Joseph Ossai hit him late out of bounds, a critical penalty to gave the Chiefs more than enough for Butker to finish the game.
From 45 yards, Butker was perfect and sent his team to the Super Bowl.
Playing on that high-ankle sprain, Mahomes’ mobility was certainly diminished, but he did whatever it took to move the ball and it worked. He finished the game with 326 yards on 29 of 43 with two passing touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Burrow was 26 of 41 for 270 yards with one passing touchdown and two interceptions, as he finally took a loss to the Chiefs in his early career.
It wasn’t the best of starts for the Bengals, but they started the second half how they wanted, forcing a three-and-out on the Chiefs and immediately tying the game with an eight-play drive that saw Tee Higgins rise above his defender to catch the ball at its high point in the end zone for a 27-yard, highlight-reel snag.
Mahomes was quick to respond to Burrow, as his 11-play drive had some magic that resulted in Marquez Valdes-Scantling falling into the end zone with a touchdown to put the Chiefs back ahead.
A crucial fumble, though, turned the game around toward the end of the third quarter. Mahomes was sacked and the ball came out, and though he scrambled to recover it, the Bengals came away with the ball and Burrow wasn’t going to make it all for naught.
On an aggressive 4th-and-6 call by head coach Zac Taylor, Ja’Marr Chase tried to one-up Higgins, leaping and hauling in a pass from Burrow over two defenders to set up a Samaje Perine rushing touchdown to tie the game.
In the first half, the Chiefs got on the board first after Harrison Butker knocked through a 43-yard field goal after referees determined Kadarius Toney bobbled what would’ve been the first touchdown of the game on a deep pass down the left sideline from Mahomes.
The Bengals had issues with the Chiefs’ defense to start this one, as Burrow was sacked three times in the first two drives of the game. Kansas City collected one more before the half ended as well.
However, Burrow battled and found his way with a 13-play drive that went 63 yards to tie the game at three apiece.
Mahomes responded with the first touchdown drive of the game, and he used Marquez Valdes-Scantling to get down the field. He found No. 11 on back-to-back plays, one going for 11 yards and the other for 29 yards to get into Bengals’ territory.
Then, after buying some time, the Mahomes-Kelce connection resulted in six points yet again on a 14-yard pass.
Kelce finished the game with 78 yards on seven catches, though he was a game-time decision with a back injury that occurred at practice on Friday. It didn’t seem to bother him.
Valdes-Scantling was the leading receiver with 116 yards on six receptions, while rookie Isiah Pacheco added 59 receiving yards on five catches.
For the Bengals, Higgins had 83 yards on six receptions, while Chase finished with 75 yards on six as well. Burrow led the rushing attack for Cincinnati with 30 yards on four carries.