January 2: Bengals 34 Chiefs 31
The Bengals clinched the AFC North by rallying to beat Kansas City on a walkoff 20-yard field goal by Evan McPherson, 34-31. The Bengals trailed by 14 points on three different occasions: 14-0, 21-7 and 28-14. But they scored 17 unanswered to take the lead 31-28. KC tied the game on a FG with 6:01 left. The Bengals then marched 15 plays/74 yards and used all 6:01 on the clock as Pherson delivered the winner after a wild goal line sequence.
The Chiefs entered winners of eight consecutive games and the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Their defense had allowed 13 points per game during the streak. The Bengals had been 0-24 when trailing after three quarters under Zac Taylor.
Goal line drama: Tied at 31, the Bengals had the ball 1st and goal at the 1-yard line with 2:00 left and then ran 8 plays without gaining a yard. 1st D: Burrow 0 gain. 2nd D: Burrow 0 gain. 3rd D: Mixon 0 gain. 4th D: Pass to Mixon 0 gain.....but offsetting penalties. 4th D: Burrow incomplete, but pass interference, KC. Burrow tweaked his right knee and left the game. 1st D: Brandon Allen took a knee on 1st down. 2nd D: Allen spiked the ball to stop the clock. 3rd D: McPherson kicked on the FG. The Bengals ran 15 plays on the final drive, 18 including the penalties. The Chiefs ran 22 plays in the second half.
You serious, Chase? Ja'Marr Chase was incredible.. 11 catches on 12 target for a franchise record 266 yards and 3 TDs. But not just catches, they were spectacular/contested/no way catches, including a hellacious 3rd and 27 grab to keep the game-winning drive alive. He had TDs of 72, 18 and 69. The 72 yarder looked like he was shot from a cannon....a 12 yard pass with 60 yards of YAC. Next Gen clocked him at 22 mph on the video game like catch/run. Somehow, the Chiefs lost track of him on the 69-yard TD. He gained more yards than Mahomes passed for (266-259).
Franchise: Burrow 30 of 39, 446 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, QB rating 148.0. He took some shots, sacked 4 times, including twice in the first 5 snaps. He had five throws of 30+ yards. Facing 3rd and 27 at the KC 41 with 3:19 left he beat an all-out blitz and found Chase for spectacular first down catch. He did not turn the ball over for the fourth consecutive game.
Rolling: After punting on their first two drives, the Bengals went TD, TD, FG, TD, Punt, TD, FG to end the game.
Catch machines: Tee Higgins (3-63) made some big time/touch catches, showing off his strength, including a 39-yarder in the 4th quarter....Tyler Boyd (4-36) showed sweet feet in the back corner of the end zone on beauty of a touch pass from Burrow.
Adjustments: Lou Anarumo's defense took body blows in the first half, allowing 28 points and 292 yards. After going three and out on the opening drive of the game, KC scored on their next four consecutive possessions (72 yards/2:38, 63 yards/3:50, 75 yards/4:05, 73 yards/5:25. But the Bengals allowed just 122 yards and a FG in the second half.....including 3 points over the final 32:22 of the game. The defense got stops on each of KC's first two drives of the second half to settle things down. They got a huuuuuuge red zone FG hold with 6:04 left that left the game tied at 31. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill combined for 11 catches/65 yards. They entered averaging a combined 12.8 catches for 155.9 yards. Kelce: 5 catches, 25 yards (2nd fewest for season) with a long of 8 yards....Hill: 6 catches, 40 yards with a long of 17 yards. Chidobe Awuzie led the way with 10 solo tackles. It was a D playing without Germaine Pratt who was inactive after failing to produced a negative Covid-19 test. Logan Wilson returned and played all 61 snaps.
2nd half momentum: The Bengals kicked a FG to make it 28-17 at the half. They then scored on their first possession of the 2nd half to cut to 28-24. The Chiefs had just three second half possessions: Punt, punt, FG.
OL shuffle: The Bengals lost Quinton Spain to an ankle injury (31 snaps). He was replaced by Jackson Carmen (41 snaps). The Chiefs lost both starting tackles, one before the game and one during the game.
Contrast: KC, without their top RB, rushed 23 times for 155 yards (6.7). Despite KC allowing 4.7 yards per carry on the season, the Bengals gained just 60 yards on 19 carries (3.2).
Discipline: The Bengals (5-62) won the penalty game....and it killed KC (10-83).
No baking: There were 121 plays (Bengals 63/Chiefs 58) but neither team turned the ball over.
PBS rocked: 64,505.