The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game 23-20 on Sunday and this matchup certainly lived up to the hype. Patrick Mahomes got his first win over Joe Burrow, Marquez Valdes-Scantling exploded for 116 yards and a touchdown, and Harrison Butker converted a game-winning 45-yard field goal. The fourth quarter was nothing short of a fever dream, which ended with an unfortunate penalty if you're a Bengals fan.
On the first play in the final stanza, Burrow found Ja'Marr Chase in double coverage on fourth-and-6, resulting in a 35-yard pickup that set up a Samaje Perine touchdown that tied the game at 20 apiece.
When the Chiefs took over moments later, they were gifted another chance at a third-and-9 after the officials identified a clock issue -- although they did so very late. When the Bengals defense stood tall for the second straight third down with a sack on Mahomes, the Chiefs were bailed out by a holding penalty in the secondary. The first down that came from the penalty was the final first down Kansas City picked up on the possession, however, as the Chiefs punted four plays later.
With 9:18 remaining in the game, Burrow and Co. had an opportunity to take the lead. Instead, Chiefs rookie Bryan Cook made a great play in the secondary, tipping a pass up to teammate and fellow rookie Joshua Williams, who picked it off.
The Chiefs did not make the most of this opportunity though, as they punted after picking up 49 yards on seven plays, electing to boot the ball away from the Bengals' 37-yard line.
Chiefs punt on 4th-and-8 on CIN 37— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) January 30, 2023
WP Go: 54.4%
WP Kick: 56.6%
WP Punt: 50.1%
Andy Reid chose by far the worst option.
The Bengals then took over with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, and their drive got off to a rough start. Burrow was called for intentional grounding, but overcame the ensuing third-and-16 with a 23-yard completion to Hayden Hurst.
Chris Jones then single-handedly put a stop to the Bengals' drive with a sack on third-and-8, setting the Chiefs up with an opportunity to orchestrate a game-winning drive. Here is where things got really crazy.
Chiefs rookie wideout Skyy Moore took the Bengals punt 29 yards to the Kansas City 47-yard line with 30 seconds remaining, giving Mahomes a shot to win the game.
Three plays into the drive, on third-and-4, Mahomes scrambled to the right on his bad ankle and reached for the sticks. He also picked up an extra 15 yards after Joseph Ossai made the critical mistake of pushing him late out of bounds, resulting in an unnecessary roughness penalty.
That turned what would have been about a 60-yard field goal into a 45-yard field goal, which Butker hit with just three seconds remaining.
It was a classic ending to a budding rivalry between Mahomes and Burrow. All four of their matchups have been decided by exactly three points! One year after the Bengals dashed the Chiefs' Super Bowl dreams in Arrowhead in the AFC Championship Game, Andy Reid got his revenge. It came down to a wild fourth quarter filled with flags, big plays and critical mistakes that combined to deliver one whale of a championship game.