PATRICK Mahomes scrambled for a first down on his badly sprained right ankle, then was shoved late out of bounds by Joseph Ossai, giving Harrison Butker a chance to kick a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining and give the Kansas City Chiefs a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC title game Sunday night.
The Chiefs (16-3) finally beat the Bengals (14-5) after three straight losses, including a three-point overtime defeat in last year’s title game, and will play the Philadelphia Eagles — coach Andy Reid’s old team — in their third Super Bowl in four years. The matchup between Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts will be the first in Super Bowl history between two Black starting quarterbacks.
Mahomes, who hurt his ankle against Jacksonville in the divisional round, threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, even though he was missing three of his wide receivers to injuries by the end. Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the way with 116 yards and a touchdown, while Travis Kelce — bad back and all — had seven catches for 78 yards and a score.
The Chiefs got a crucial sack from Chris Jones to force a punt with 39 seconds left, and Skyy Moore broke free for 29 yards on the return. On third-and-4 at the Bengals 47, Mahomes eluded pressure and scrambled toward the Bengals sideline, barely picking up the first down before Ossai gave him a shove from behind.
The penalty flags flew, the ball moved 15 yards closer and Butker’s kick barely had enough to get over the crossbar.
Joe Burrow, who was sacked five times and was wobbly by the end, finished with 270 yards passing to go with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Bengals. Tee Higgins had six catches for 83 yards and the score. (AP)
CHAMPIONSHIP. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, left, and teammate quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrate after the NFL AFC Championship playoff football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 23-20. / AP
January 30, 2023
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