The Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals are in a battle to reach Super Bowl 57.
Playing in their fifth straight AFC Championship game, the Chiefs converted field goals on their first two drives to take a quick 6–0 lead.
On Kansas City’s third possession, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to find tight end Travis Kelce for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Bengals tied the game at 13-13 on Joe Burrow’s touchdown pass to Dee Higgins, but the Chiefs answered with a score of their own.
The story of the first half was the performances of the two defenses. The Bengals’ defense held Kansas City to 1 of 5 on third downs. Kansas City’s defense sacked quarterback Joe Burrow four times in the first half.
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The Kansas City Chiefs had a decision.
A referee ran onto the field to stop the third-down play for a replay that did not go in Kansas City’s favor. But it seemed that the referee’s whistle was not heard during the series.
On two-over, Patrick Mahomes was sacked, but Bengals cornerback Eli Apple was called for pass interference.
Even with additional opportunities, the Chief Ministers could not convert.
Mahomes missed passes to Travis Kelce and Marquez Valdez-Scandling, and the Chiefs punted to Cincinnati.
The Bengals capitalized on the return of Patrick Mahomes, and their offense paid off.
Cincinnati went fourth-and-6 at the 41-yard line, and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow found receiver Ja’Mar Chase for a 35-yard completion to the 5-yard line.
Two plays later, the Bengals scored on Samaje Perine’s touchdown run with 13:30 left in the game.
Patrick Mahomes lost possession of the football late in the third quarter while attempting a pass to the right side around midfield. The fumble was recovered by Bengals best defender Sam Hubbard.
It was a crucial turn for the Chiefs who lead the game 20-13.
The Bengals took the following possession at the 45 yard line.
The Chiefs are thin at wide receiver in the second half. Kansas City announced that JuJu Smith-Schuster is questionable to return with a knee injury. The team already waived receiver Kadarius Toney because of an ankle injury.
Playing with a tender ankle, Patrick Mahomes maneuvered in the pocket to create time and threw a strike to wide receiver Marquez Valdez-Scandling for a 19-yard touchdown.
The touchdown put the Chiefs back in front 20-13.
Kansas City, Mo. – Temperature at kickoff 22 degrees, wind chill factor 10 degrees. The wind-chill factor was forecast to drop to 0 degrees by the end of the game. Presumably, it’s regulation time. If the game goes to OT, of course the wind-chill will go into negative territory. In other words, brrrr.
— Jared Bell
On the Bengals’ first possession of the second half, Joe Burrow threw a deep pass to Dee Higgins, and the wide receiver carried the football into the end zone for a successful 27-yard touchdown catch to tie the game at 13.
Kansas City, Mo. – Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has a left hamstring injury. His return is questionable.
Boyd had two catches for 40 yards during the injury.
— Jared Bell
With less than three minutes left in the first half, Joe Burrow was intercepted by Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson. Burrow’s pass was intended for wide receiver Dee Higgins, but Watson got a good jump on the football and picked it off.
On fourth-and-1 less than four minutes into the second quarter, Patrick Mahomes had to scramble to create time and threw a 14-yard touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce.
Kansas City’s touchdown increased its lead to 13-3.
The Bengals are on board and cut their deficit in half.
Joe Burrow threw a beautiful pass to Hayden Hurst in the end zone, but Chiefs safety Justin Reid broke up what would have been a touchdown.
Instead, Bengals kicker Evan McPherson kicked a 30-yard field goal with 8:36 left in the second quarter to cut Kansas City’s lead to 6–3.
Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd, who extended the drive with two catches, was injured following his second catch. He was checked out on the sideline before the field goal.
Chiefs receiver Katarious Toney suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and the team announced that he is questionable to return.
Dhoni was injured after taking the 9th catch in the first quarter.
Toney slipped after the catch as he attempted to pass the first-down marker.
Toney, a former first-round pick of the Giants who was acquired by the Chiefs this offseason, is playing in his first career playoff game. He has two goals so far.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicked a 24-yard field goal to give Kansas City a 6-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
It was the second field goal of the game for the Chiefs, who were unable to score on offense.
Kansas City, Mo. – Well, Bengali leaders are lucky not to invest as much as they could.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked three times and the offense had zero net yards in the first quarter. Kansas City had 109.
The Chiefs nearly took a 10–0 lead as Isiah Pacheco ran into the end zone, but a holding call by Chiefs offensive lineman Andrew Wiley negated a touchdown.
Mahomes couldn’t convert on third-and-goal from 19 yards out, and the Chiefs were lining up for a field goal.
In another sense, Bengal still has one more win. After forcing the Chiefs to settle for two field goals on their first two drives, the Bengals were only one drive away from taking the lead.
Contributed by: Jared Bell
Head coach Andy Reid may regret throwing the challenge flag.
Kansas City challenged a ruling on the ground of an incomplete catch and was denied.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a nice pass to receiver Kadarius Toney, who was unable to secure the football as he hit the deck following the play.
The football was clearly down the field, and the Chiefs lost a timeout after losing the challenge.
Harrison Butker took the lead with 8:54 left in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead with a 43-yard field goal.
One of Kansas City’s top defenders left with an injury on the first drive of the first quarter.
Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Snead was hit in the head after trying to tackle Bengals backup running back Samaje Perine.
Snead went to the sideline for evaluation with a head injury. He was ruled out for the rest of the game shortly before halftime.
Fortunately for the Chiefs, the Bengals’ first drive ended with quarterback Joe Burrow being sacked by Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark.
The Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game. Philadelphia outplayed San Francisco in all phases of the game.
The game quickly got out of hand for the 49ers when quarterback Brock Birdie fumbled Elbow injury In the first quarter. Purdy later returned to the game, but was unable to throw due to his injury.
Chiefs QB Shane Buechele, DE Joshua Kaindoh, T Darian Kinnard, TE Blake Bell, WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR Justin Watson and DE Malik Herring were inactive Sunday. The team announced.
Bengalis declared QB Jake Browning, RB Chris Evans, CB Jalen Davis, G Alex Cappa, OT Jonah Williams, DE Jeff Gunter and DT Jay Tufele are inactive.
The Chiefs quarterback revealed to reporters this week that he spoke with Brady following Kansas City’s win over Jacksonville.
“I talked to Tom (Brady) a little bit. I have a good relationship with him now,” Mahomes said. “He’s giving me some advice to help me out. Why wouldn’t you want to learn from the GOAT? If someone wants to advise me like that, I will accept it.
Brady outperformed Mahomes as the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback in the 2018 AFC Championship Game, and Brady bested Mahomes in Super Bowl 55 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In addition to beating the Chiefs three straight, the Bengals are a perfect 3-0 in AFC Championship games. Cincinnati is the only team undefeated in AFC title games.
Mahomes (ankle) was a full participant in practice all week and is scheduled to start Sunday. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (back) is listed as questionable but is expected to play, as is wide receiver Mecole Hartman (groin).
Bengals guard Alex Gabba (ankle) and left tackle Jonah Williams (knee) will both miss Sunday’s game.