Chiefs 23 Bengals 20
How it ended: Joseph Ossia's late hit out of bounds on Patrick Mahomes with :08 left put the Chiefs in position to kick a game-winning 45-yard FG and sent them to the Super Bowl 23-20 in a heartbreaker for the Bengals in Kansas City. The hit, clearly out of bounds, came at the end of a five-yard scramble on 3rd and 4 from the Bengals 47-yard line with :17 left. The penalty added 15 yards to put the ball at the Bengals 27 and Harrison Butker booted the winner on the next play. It capped a gutty performance by the KC QB who was forced to do it all, and he did, throwing for 326 yards and 2 TD's.
Final stretch: 20-20 and facing 4th and 12 at the Bengals 37 with 2:36 left in the game, Andy Reid opted to punt after Zac Taylor declined a 3rd and 12 holding call on the Chiefs. The Bengals got the ball at their own 6-yard line. Burrow was called for intentional grounding on 2nd and 7 with 1:22 left. He found Hayden Hurst for a 23-yard strike on 3rd and 16 with :56 left at the Bengals 33 yard line. At that point, I thought they were going to win the game. But Burrow was sacked by Chris Jones, who blew past Hakeem Adeniji on 3rd and 8. Drue Chrisman's line drive punt (52 yards) was returned 29 yards to the KC 47 with :30 left. At that point I figured we were headed for overtime. If only.
Game wrecker, Part II: Like Aaron Donald in the Super Bowl, the Bengals had no answer for Chiefs DL Chris Jones. He recorded his first two career postseason sacks, added 5 QB hits and 3 tackles for loss. KC had four sacks in the first quarter and a half, but only one the rest of the game. But that was the drive ending sack of Burrow by Jones on 3rd and 8 with :30.
Clutch!: Trailing 20-13 to start the 4th quarter, Zac Taylor opted to go for it on 4th and 6 at the KC 41 and Burrow hit a leaping Chase for 35 yards. Two plays later, Perine carried it in from two yards out to tie the game 20-20 with 14:00 left in the game.
Wait, what? The Bengals sacked Mahomes on 3rd and 9 with 10:30 left in the game, but Eli Apple was called for holding. Somehow, a 3rd down stop one play prior was wiped out by officials (back official had blown the play dead) and then KC extended the drive with the 2nd chance at 3rd down. Ultimately, the Chiefs ran three more plays, taking about 60 seconds off the clock, and punted with 9:26 left.
Slow to get going: Early on the Chiefs looked fast, amped and loosey-goosey enough to get cute with Travis Kelce attempting a lateral after a catch and Patrick Mahomes tossing an underhand pass. The Bengals looked disjointed from jump, with a false start, delay of game and three sacks in 1st quarter in which they were outgained 109-0. Samaje Perine and Tee Higgins didn't even appear to be looking on Burrow 1st half passes. Kansas City scored on their first three possessions, holding the Bengals without a yard of offense in the first quarter and sacking Joe Burrow four times in the first half. But KC led just 13-6 at the half and they had to be wondering how they hell they were only up seven points after all that.
Missed chances: Two red zone drives stalled resulted in 23 and 30 yard first half FGs. Tied with 9:18 left, they got the ball back twice and got nothing....Burrow threw a pick and they punted.
Big injury: Tyler Boyd left with a left thigh injury in the 1st quarter and did not return. He play 15 of 66 snaps. He'd had catches of 16, 24 on the first two drives. Trenton Irwin picked up his snaps, 1-6.
About that OL: 5 sacks. This wasn't the Buffalo defensive line. The OL allowed four sacks on Burrow's first nine dropbacks. Burrow didn't help, holding onto the ball too long on two sacks. Burrow was hit 12 times. Too many penalties to count. A hold on Cordell Volson wiped out a 3rd down catch and run of 20 yards by Chase with the Bengals trailing 20-13. Ted Karras was called for a hold at the Bengals 18 with 9:00 left....forcing 1st and 18.
Burrow: 26 of 41, 270 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 5 sacks, QB rating 70.2. It was his worst rating since Week 1 vs Pittsburgh (61.7). After 0 yards in the 1st quarter, he threw for 135 in the 2nd quarter. He used his legs to convert a 3rd and 8 with an 11 yard scamper. He dashed 14 yards to convert a 2nd and 13 and get them out of a 1st and 19 hole with 8:00 minutes left. He threw a 2nd quarter INT, his first of the postseason....and then another with 6:53 left in the game. Both picks were by KC rookie defensive backs.
Held without a TD in the first half.
Best drive: On their first drive of the 3rd quarter, the Bengals marched 8 plays/62 yards for a 27-yard high-pointed TD by Higgins to tie the game 13-13.
Catches: Higgins 6-83-TD, Chase 6-75.
Run game: Burrow led them in rushing, 30 yards on four carries. 1st H: 8 carries/19 yards....2nd H: 9-52. Total: 17-71 (4.2). Mixon 8-19 (2.2), Perine 5-22 (4.4).
KC scored on its first three possessions: FG-FG-TD.....then the Bengals forced back to back three and outs...and forced a three and out to begin the 2nd half.
TO to points! Mahomes fumbled when the ball pop straight up in the air on his drop back and Sam Hubbard recovered at the KC 43 yard line with 1:30 left in 3rd. The Bengals drove six plays to tie the game 20-20 with 14:00 remaining.
The ankle: Mahomes was 29 of 43, 326 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks, QB rating 105.1. He was moving free and easy early on and the Bengals could do nothing to disrupt him. He tweaked his ankle trying to avoid 3rd quarter pressure from Ossai. He had to do it all. KC rushed for just 42 yards on 20 carries.
The back: Kelce 7 catches for 78 yards on 9 targets, TD. And a verbal body slam of Mayor Aftab Pureval from the top rope in the postgame.
Stats: Vonn Bell/Germaine Pratt 7 tackles, sack Sam Hubbard and Cam Sample. Ossai 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended, 2 QB hits.
Big game: Valdes-Scantling 6-116-TD.
Big hold: The D forced a KC three-and-out following the Burrow INT at the Bengals 39 with 2:22 left in the half. It was 13-3, with KC getting the ball to begin the 3rd quarter.
Evan McPherson: FGs of 23 and 30 yards.
Drue Chrisman: Rough day.
Trayveon Williams had a 29-yard KR.
Allowed the 29 yard punt return at the end....and KC averaged 13.7 yards on three returns.
Dax Hill had an illegal touch on a punt. He did have a nice open field tackle of Isiah Pacheco on a KR.
Penalties: 9 for 71 yards for Bengals....after 2 for 9 yards vs Bills.
You could hear Bengals fans chant "Teeeeeeeeeee" on a 3rd quarter catch.
Ossai injured his knee on the late penalty.