Evan McPherson threw a 31-yard field goal to give the Cincinnati Bengals a 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
The Chiefs’ offense looked unstoppable in the first half, as they scored touchdowns on their first three drives to take a 21-3 lead with just over five minutes into the first half. Cincinnati’s offense finally sped up after that with a seven-play, 70-yard drive to make it 21-10 with just over a minute left in the second quarter.
Kansas City made the most of their limited time, rushing for 80 yards in five plays to reach the Bengals 1-yard line with nine seconds left in the first half. An incomplete pass left only five seconds on the clock, but rather than score a basket, Andy Reid decided to go for it. That move ultimately resulted in zero points, as Eli Apple made a solid open-field tackle against Tyreek Hill to end that scoring threat.
It was the turning point of the contest, as the Cincinnati defense turned the tide in the second half by holding the Chiefs scoreless on five straight drives. The Bengals’ offense held up their end of the bargain by scoring two field goals and a touchdown to give Cincinnati a 24-21 lead. Kansas City’s offense ended its drought by leading to a first and a goal on the Bengals 5-yard line very late in the fourth quarter, but two sacks from Cincinnati forced the Chiefs to settle for a Harrison Butker’s tied basket.
Kansas City won the overtime toss and tried to put the game away with a long pass to Hill, but Jessie Bates tipped the ball to Vonn Bell, who returned the interception to the Bengals 45-yard line . A mixture of short passes to Tee Higgins and runs from Joe Mixon finally put the ball on the Chiefs 13-yard line, after which McPherson hit his basket.
The Bengals’ 18-point comeback was the biggest comeback in conference championship history.
Cincinnati advances to Super Bowl LVI. The Chiefs end their season with a 14-6 record.
(Photo: Denny Medley/USA Today)