Field goal! Bengals 13-21 Chiefs
Bengals 13-21 Chiefs, 3:46, 3rd quarter
1st & 10 at the Chiefs 26, Burrow finds Mixon for 18 yards to put them at the Kansas City 8. Things are getting dicey here for the Chiefs, but this is right when their defense steps up. Melvin Ingram sacks Burrow for the first time of the game: it’s a loss of seven yards. On 2nd & goal, Burrow throws incomplete, pressured again by Ingram. Burrow’s next pass to Perine only gets them two yards so they have to settle for a field goal.
McPherson’s 31-yarder is good but that feels like a lost opportunity for Cincinnati.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 5:02, 3rd quarter
Mixon gets stopped for no gain on the next play. 2nd & 10, still at the Kansas City 32. On the next play, the Chiefs pick a lousy time to pick up their first penalty of the game. Burrow’s throw was incomplete but they get six yards and first down out of it regardless.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 6:25, 3rd quarter
On the next play, Mixon gets the ball but can’t advance it. The officials throw a flag, but it’s accidental (at least it’s not a whistle this time).
After being relatively quiet today, Ja’Marr Chase gets in on the action in the next play. Burrow finds Chase for a 22 yard gain that puts them at the Chiefs 32 yard line. They are starting to threaten here.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 7:26, 3rd quarter
On 1st & 10, Mixon runs the ball to the Cincinnati 40 in a five-yard gain. 2nd & 5, Burrow finds Drew Sample for what is nearly a first down. On 3rd & 1, it’s Quarterback Sneak Time as Burrow barrels his way through for a first down that takes them to their own 46.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 8:48, 3rd quarter
We’re at the Chiefs 20. Edwards-Helaire gets four yards. 2nd & 6 at the 24: Mahomes throws a long one to nowhere. It’s a huge third down for the Bengals defense and… the Bengals force yet another punt! Halftime adjustments can be a heck of a thing.
Townsend’s 42 yard punt will put the Bengals at their own 35. Can they take advantage?
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 10:16, 3rd quarter
Don’t laugh but that punt could pay dividends here, field position wise. Mahomes throws to Edwards-Helaire who runs for four yards. On their own 11, the Chiefs pick up a first down as Hardman picks up 10 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Von Bell, who could have been flagged for a penalty.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 11:08, 3rd quarter
It’s 2nd & 14 at the Kansas City 43 and oof Burrow can’t find tight end Drew Sample. On 3rd & 14, Burrow throws incomplete to Higgins. That will be two straight possessions now without a scoring change, believe it or not. Huber’s punt will put the Chiefs at their own 7 yard line to start their next possession.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 11:13, 3rd quarter
There’s the second-half start this Bengals offense needed. Burrow matches Mahomes with a bomb of a throw to Higgins to the Kansas City 39-yard line. That’s a 44 yard pass. Mixon picks up two yards on the first down to the 37.
Then, unfortunately, the Bengals get hit with a five-yard delay of game penalty.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 12:58, 3rd quarter
Tommy Townsend, who probably thought he had a day off, comes in to punt, a 57-yarder that is returned eleven yards by Trent Taylor to the Bengals 17.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 13:03, 3rd quarter
On 1st & 10, McKinnon picks up six yards to the 27. On 2nd & 4, Mahomes throws to Pringle for aa six yard gain and a first gain. With a fresh set of downs, McKinnon takes the ball to the Kansas City 37. 2nd & 6, Mahomes throws incomplete… twice in a row?
Oh wow, the Chiefs are actually going to punt here from their 37.
Start of the second half
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, 14:55, 3rd quarter
Byron Pringle takes McPherson’s kickoff from the end zone to the Kansas City 27, where the Chiefs will start their opening drive of the second half.
Massive comedy here as the Halftime Show completely drowns out the Halftime Analysis crew who are forced to scream at the camera and at each other to get out their points.
Best halftime of the postseason.
Email from Mike Priest:
As a “viewer” stuck in New Zealand…more data please.
While on long commercial breaks…set the field up.. last touch down had no idea wher Cincinnati was playing from …then suddenly a 40+ yard run.
Fair enough. In my defense, Mahomes and Burrow are going so fast that it’s something of a challenge for me to get all the details out without falling way behind myself! I’ll make a better effort in the second half.
CBS has to be happy about that Apple tackle, it keeps the Chiefs off the board and it puts the Bengals in a much more manageable position than they would be otherwise. An eleven point deficit against this high-flying offense isn’t an ideal situation, but it’s not impossible for this Bengals team, provided their defense can step up. They need to stop a Chiefs drive without an assist from the game clock.
Halftime! Bengals 10-21 Chiefs
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, end of the 2nd quarter
Oh wow! Thanks to a clutch Eli Apple tackle that keeps Hill out of the end zone, the Bengals get a key stop as time runs out!
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, :09, 2nd quarter
Mahomes just airs one out and draws a defensive pass interference call that puts them in a 1st & goal situation. The Bengals call a timeout and try to figure out what exactly they could possibly do here.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, :13, 2nd quarter
The Bengals defense seems to have no answers for Mahomes. Honestly, there might not *be* any answers for Mahomes. He throws to Kelce for a nine-yard gain to the Cincinnati 25. There are 13 seconds left on the clock. Bills fans can tell you how this story ends.
Bengals 10-21 Chiefs, :41, 2nd quarter
McPherson’s kickoff puts the Chiefs at their own 19. On 1st & 10, Mahomes throws incomplete to Hardman. 2nd & 10. Mahomes makes another MASSIVE throw, this one’s to Hill and it’s a 33 yard completion to the Cincinnati 48. They are already cooking. Mahomes finds Hill again, this time for a 14 yard game to the 34. And we have a Chiefs timeout.
Touchdown! Bengals 10-21 Chiefs
1:05, 2nd quarter
Well that’s not great for the Bengals: Mixon gets taken down for a two yard loss. It’s 2nd & 12, and going backward is exactly the thing I warned them against on Friday.
OH! Never mind… Perine goes off for a 41 yard run into the end zone! That’s the first Bengals touchdown of the game! Plus, the extra point is good! If they can keep the Chiefs from scoring in the next minute, we’re going to have a ballgame heading into the second half!
Of course, that’s an eternity for Mahomes.
Commercial Commentary Corner: I have no idea why I’m the only person of my now-graying generation who hates “Jackass” but let me tell you that this modern day revival is bringing back all sorts of high school memories of feeling out-of-place.
Bengals 3-21 Chiefs, 2:00, 2nd quarter
On 1st & 10, Burrow essentially gives up and throws it to the ground. On 2nd & 10, however, Burrow hits Higgins for an 18-yard gain. I’ll say this: he doesn’t seem too rattled by the score.
They’re at the Chiefs 39 at the two-minute warning. They desperately need to score a touchdown before the half if they want to stay in this thing.
Bengals 3-21 Chiefs, 3:36, 2nd quarter
On 1st & 10, Burrow finds Chase for a six-yard gain but Mixon gets stuffed for a rare one-yard loss on the next play. It’s yet another 3rd & 5 for the Bengals, but this time Burrow can find Higgins for an eight-yard gain.
Bengals 3-21 Chiefs, 5:01, 2nd quarter
What a brutal few hours for the city of Cincinnati: first WKRP’s Dr. Johnny Fever dies and now the start of this game.
The good news for the Bengals is that if they figure out a way to win this game it will be one of the NFL’s all-time great comebacks.
Butker’s kickoff is returned by Chris Evans to the Cincinnati 30.
Touchdown! Bengals 3-21 Chiefs
5:04, 2nd quarter
On 1st & 10, Edwards-Helaire gets another four yards. 2nd & 6, Burrow throws to McKinnon at the Cincinnati 15. A big 3rd & 1 here: can the Bengals at least force the Chiefs to settle for a field goal?
No. They very much cannot. Mahomes finds Kelce for a 12 yard gain. It’s first and goal at the Bengals 3 and… we’ve seen this movie before. In the end zone, Mahomes finds Hardman and makes it look easy man. That’s the Chiefs’ third straight touchdown!
No you don’t even have to ask about the extra point.
Bengals 3-14 Chiefs, 9:19, 2nd quarter
After the five-yard penalty, the Chiefs just need two yards for a first down and, instead, Edwards-Helaire get seven yards for a first down and more. 1st & 10 at their own 43, Mahomes finds Kelce for a ridiculous 19 yards gain. Mahomes has gone into a shotgun formation and the Bengals are struggling to adjust, as Edwards-Helaire picks up 14 yards to the Cincinnati 24.
Bengals 3-14 Chiefs, 9:19, 2nd quarter
I am not going to say that this Kansas City start is at all unexpected. Here’s the key thing now: the Bengals desperately have to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone or this one could be out of hand by halftime.
On 1st & 10, Clyde Edwards-Helaire picks up three yards. On the next play, we get our first yellow flag of the game, as the Bengals defense gets called for an offsides penalty.
Bengals 3-14 Chiefs, 10:00, 2nd quarter
That is more like it: Mixon picks up 12 yards for a first down. I’m now starting to see why they’re leaning heavily on the star RB this early in this game. 1st & 10 on the Cincinnati 37, Chase gets an additional 3 yards. 2nd & 7. Mixon picks up an additional yard. It’s a 3rd & 6 situation and this already feels like a must-convert even early in the second quarter.
They don’t, Burrow throws incomplete to Samaje Perine and the Arrowhead Stadium crowd taunts the opposing team with their problematic chant. Huber’s punt, meanwhile, goes out of bounds to the Kansas City 28.
Bengals 3-14 Chiefs, 12:10, 2nd quarter
So, uh, now the Bengals are in a position where they have to start scoring touchdowns. Field goals are not going to make much of a dent at this rate. Butker kicks things off with another touchback and one wonders whether we’ll even see the Kansas City punter today.
On 1st & 10, Burrow gets swarmed, as we’ve seen far too many times this postseason, and has to throw the ball away.
Touchdown! Bengals 3-14 Chiefs
12:14, 2nd quarter
Mahomes shrugs it off and instead throws a pass to McKinnon who gets eleven yards and, obviously, a first down. The Chiefs are at the Bengals 11 with a fresh set of downs. On 1st & 10, Mahomes finds Hill for a seven-yard gain. On 2nd & 3, McKinnon picks up an additional yard.
On 3rd & 2, Mahomes finds Kelce for their second straight touchdown of the game! This one feels almost workmanlike: like this is just what Kansas City does.
It should go without saying that the extra point is good.
Bengals 3-7 Chiefs, 14:21, 2nd quarter
McKinnon starts the second quarter off by picking up seven yards to the Cincinnati 24. Meanwhile, the update is that Uzomah is officially out for the game. Not a shocker, but a bummer.
Oops, I just jinxed Mahomes. He throws his first incomplete pass of the game.
Is this good?
Bengals 3-7 Chiefs, end of the 1st quarter
Oof, things are getting rougher for Cincinnati: Uzomah’s being carted off the field.
Meanwhile: another kickoff, another touchback. The Chiefs start at their own 20. Mahomes throws…
WHAT? He immediately uncorks a 44 yard pass to Mecole Hardman to end the first quarter! The Bengals defense could not have predicted that. I know I couldn’t have. That will take them to the Cincinnati 31 almost immediately and take us to the second quarter.
Field goal! Bengals 3-7 Chiefs
:40, 1st quarter
On 1st & 10, Burrow throws it to approximately nowhere. 2nd & 10, with the Kansas City end zone just 14 yards away. On the next play, Burrow almost finds Tee Higgins who just can’t hold it in. I have no idea how that wasn’t a touchdown. Instead, it’s 3rd & 10. They can still pick up a first down.
However, instead Burrow (in a rarity) can’t connect with old college teammate Ja’Marr Chase in the end zone. They will have to settle for a field goal here, but it’s early and this was an impressive counterpunch. Hot shot kicker Evan McPherson easily makes the 32 yard field goal to put the Bengals on the board.
This could be a fun one, folks!
Bengals 0-7 Chiefs, 1:33, 1st quarter
On 3rd & 5, Burrow finds Boys again and he gets it to the Kansas City 37. Cincinnati looks determine to match the previous Kansas City drive.
Oh, and how, Mixon goes off for 23 yards to put them at the KC 14.
Bengals 0-7 Chiefs, 2:54, 1st quarter
1st & 10 at their own 49, Burrow throws incomplete to C.J. Uzomah who is shaken up on the play. 2nd & 10, Burrow finds Boyd for five yards before Mathieu makes his return known by taking him down.
Bengals 0-7 Chiefs, 3:45, 1st quarter
Mixon squeezes out a yard here. Interesting that the Bengals are running early here. Burrow finds Mixon again, this is a seven yard gain that sets up a very manageable 3rd & 2 at their own 46. Burrow finds Tyler Boyd, who just barely gets three yard before being taken down.
Bengals 0-7 Chiefs, 5:53, 1st quarter
Burrow passes to Mixon for a two-yard gain. Just as in their first drive, they have a 3rd & 5 situation to deal with almost immediately. This time around, however, Burrow takes it himself as the pocket collapses, getting to their own 38. That’s a first down.
Bengals 0-7 Chiefs, 6:41, 1st quarter
Butker’s kickoff goes into the end zone for a touchback, putting the Bengals on their own 20. Let’s see if they can get their first first down.
Well, not at first, running back Joe Mixon picks up just three yards.
Touchdown! Bengals 0-7 Chiefs
7:17, 1st quarter
Mahomes throws to Hill for a six yard gain to put them on the Bengals 7. This feels inevitable now and it, in fact, is. Hill makes an athletic end zone grab on a Mahomes pass for the first points of the game. Butker’s extra point attempt is good and the Chiefs are on top early!
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 8:38, 1st quarter
Mahomes finds tight end Travis Kelce for 10 yards and a first down. They’re at the Bengals 34 already, where Mahomes takes it himself, picking up another 11 yards for another first down. They’re at the Bengals 23, where McKinnon takes it seven yards to the Cincinnati 16. The Bengals have not been able to get a stop here.
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 10:27, 1st quarter
Weirdness here. The Chiefs have challenged the call on the field but also they were called for an additional timeout? I’ll wait until the refs come together with a final call here.
Okay, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s challenge is successful, it’s a first down, but he also called a timeout before he made the challenge and the Chiefs have lost a timeout. You win some and lose some.
On 1st & 10, McKinnon picks up eight more yards.
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 10:16, 1st quarter
Mahomes finds Tyreek Hill for an eight-yard gain, McKinnon Picks up another yard on second down. That takes us to a 3rd & 1. The Bengals defense push back hard and (apparently) just barely stop their forward progress short of a first down.
But the Chiefs are going to challenge this and are probably going to win it based on visual evidence.
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 12:50, 1st quarter
Jerick McKinnon gets the ball first for Kansas City and picks up eight yards. On the next carry, he grabs a Mahomes pass and gets another 14 yards for the game’s first first down. (Say that five times fast.)
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 13:38, 1st quarter
And the Bengals promptly go three-and-out before I can even get settled and start in with my play-by-play. Kevin Huber punts and puts the Chiefs at their own 16 where they will start their first drive of the game.
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 15:00, 1st quarter
The Bengals get the ball first. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicks things off and the ball hits the end zone for a touchback.
Our friend Roger Kirkby checks in via email:
Hi Hunter, all week long wherever I’ve looked it’s been Chiefs all the way, but those savvy guys in Vegas only make them 7 point favourites. They are betting with their money so maybe they see things differently. They expect them to win by a mere 8 points to pay out, so a close game could be the order of the day. On the plus side they seem to think 54pts will be the combined score so expect a shootout. I’m going with the feel good story so it’s the Bengals for me.
Here’s the thing about the view from Vegas as I see it: as the strong sentimental favorites, a lot of people are betting with their hearts and not their heads, so the Bengals have gotten a late push for that reason, not for any football reasons.
Ashanti is doing the national anthem, that’s how you know it’s a big game! There seem to be some microphone issues early on, but she’s always great. 8/10.
Wow, here’s a blast from the past: Jim Rome is involved in this CBS broadcast. (Long pause.) Do you think I could ask for hazard pay because of this?
NFC championship game
While we’re hoping for a competitive game, let’s not pretend that there isn’t a reason that Bengals-Chiefs is the undercard today. After the AFC championship game, the winning team will sit back and wait to see who survives the NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams.
On paper, it’s much more of an even fight even if the 49ers beat the Rams both times they met in the regular season (a detail, some of you pointed out, I neglected to bring up when predicting a Rams victory in my preview on Friday). It should be fun but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, that is set to kick off at 6:30 pm EST/11:30 pm GMT while our game is now just ten minutes or so away.
Obviously, I’ve already made mine: I think the Chiefs will win, most likely comfortably. Double-digits. Since I have a chance to be more specific (and risk looking even more foolish) I’ll make a final score prediction here: Let’s say 42-27, something along those lines.
I’ll be happy to be wrong though. These Bengals are a fun, feel-good team and the Chiefs have had enough team success that it would be difficult to feel too bad for them and their fans if they only make it to the AFC championship game this time around. It’s also not impossible: the Bengals have already beaten them this season, albeit in a regular-season matchup with considerably lower stakes.
(For the record: my rooting interests while liveblogging remains the same: I root for an entertaining game that ends in a timely manner, unless, like Bills-Chiefs last week, it’s so entertaining that I want it to last forever.)
Enough about me, what about you? Once again, you can send your AFC Championship Game predictions to us and we’ll include them here in the early goings of our liveblog. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @HunterFelt.
Here’s someone who concurs with my prediction:
The Tom Brady watch continues
Yesterday, reports came that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was ending his NFL career after 22 seasons and a ridiculous seven Super Bowl wins (six with the New England Patriots). After a few hours where sports fans either celebrated his legacy or the fact that they were finally rid of the Death & Taxes of football. Then… came reports that he hadn’t yet made a decision.
Now, the question remains: could Brady be contemplating playing another season? It feels doubtful, even if he very nearly pulled off yet another postseason comeback victory over the Los Angeles Rams last weekend and clearly has more in the tank.
No, this feels more likely that the announcement leaked early, it’s not the best look to hijack the headlines right before Championship Sunday (not to mention, maybe he would rather have the spotlight entirely to himself.) I simply can’t imagine that we’re going to get any news on the Brady front today, but who knows. New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez once opted out of his contract in the middle of the World Series. Weird things happen in sports.
Meanwhile, not even the worst blizzard in years could prevent fans in New England from talking about the player who changed the entire fortunes of the local professional sports scene.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow was sacked an eye-popping nine times during his team’s win over the Titans and life might not get much better for him this time around. It turns out that star Chiefs safety Tyronn Mathieu will be available for today’s game:
Courtesy of the AP Wire:
“Tyrann Mathieu cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and the Chiefs removed his injury designation about three hours before kickoff, clearing the way for the Pro Bowl safety to play against the Bengals on Sunday in the AFC championship game.
Mathieu lasted only seven plays in the divisional round against Buffalo last weekend before taking a knee to the helmet from teammate Jarran Reed while tracking down Bills quarterback Josh Allen in the first quarter. Mathieu was examined briefly in the sideline tent, then headed to the locker room and did not return to the field.
The Chiefs had been optimistic all week Mathieu would play, though. He practiced fully each day, and the only hurdle left was to pass the league’s rigorous testing protocol to play in Kansas City’s fourth straight conference title game.
‘I thought he did a nice job,’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this week. “He moved around well.’”
So, slow day for sports, huh?
There’s quite a bit going on in a 24-hour timespan or so, but luckily we at the Guardian have got you covered. I’m psyched to be covering today’s AFC championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs, where we get to see two of the league’s best quarterbacks square off for the right to appear in this year’s Super Bowl.
This probably isn’t the matchup that most people were expecting. While it almost felt like a lock that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would make it at least this far—even if they needed a miracle field goal and some coin flip luck to put away the Buffalo Bills—but the Bengals? The Cincinnati Bengals?
Heading into the postseason, the Bengals had last won a playoff game back in 1991. In the years since their name practically became synonymous with failure and disappointment. However, with the drafting of quarterback Joe Burrow has marked the official end of the Cincinnati Bungles Era. They have now beaten the Las Vegas Raiders at home and, more impressively, the top-seeded Tennessee Titans on the road in last weekend’s thrilling NFL divisional round.
Despite their success, they’re coming into this game as clear underdogs. Not only do the Bengals have to win their second straight road game, but they also have to do it against a Chiefs team that has appeared in the last two Super Bowls and has won one. It’s hard to imagine that the Bengals are going to be able to push the Chiefs to the brink like the Bills did during their 42-36 overtime victory last Sunday (one of the greatest NFL playoff games you’re likely to see).
Yet, after everything we witnessed last weekend, who knows? We could be in for a blowout, like the many we witnessed on Super Wild Card Weekend. We could be in for a competitive loss between two offensive powerhouses. Perhaps, just perhaps, we might see the improbability: the Bengals in the Big Game.
Honestly, it feels like this is going to be entertaining no matter the final result. As we keep track of today’s game action, feel free to send us your NFL-related thoughts, comments and questions either via email (to email@example.com) or on Twitter (@HunterFelt, my home away from home). It’s the AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Opening kick is scheduled for 3:00 pm EST/8:00 pm GMT, but we’ll be back before then with various bits of news.
Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s his preview of today’s game:
What the Bengals need to do to win: Everything perfectly. It all starts with quarterback Joe Burrow taking better care of the ball. Against the Tennessee Titans, Burrow was sacked nine times, tying a playoff record. Much of this was due to the porous offensive line – which will have to step up on Sunday – but some down to Burrow’s refusal to simply throw the ball away when under pressure. The Bengals beat the Chiefs 34-31 in the regular season, so they know they have a chance of an upset, but it won’t happen if Burrow can’t stay on his feet.
What the Chiefs need to do to win: The defense needs to do better. Let’s be real: as entertaining as Bills-Chiefs was, Kansas City had to a) set up a game-tying field goal in the span of 13 seconds and b) win a coin toss to clinch the game in overtime. Their defense allowed 36 points against the Bills and they could be without safety Tyrann Mathieu, who suffered a head injury last Sunday. (He returned to practice on Thursday but his status for the Bengals game was still uncertain at time of writing.) Yes, the Bills were an extremely tough matchup, but Burrow and the Bengals are in the AFC title game for a reason.
Key player: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes only came into the league in 2017, but he has already won a regular season MVP award and is looking to take his team to their third straight Super Bowl (where he also has been selected as an MVP). If we’re living in the golden age of NFL quarterbacks – and it’s difficult to argue we’re not – Mahomes is the perfect example of why.
Prediction: Chiefs over Bengals. It’s easy to root for this Bengals team, especially if you are a little tired of seeing Kansas City win the AFC yet again. That doesn’t change the fact that the Bengals are the underdogs for a reason: the Bills were the biggest obstacle between the Chiefs and the Super Bowl and Joe Burrow and co should present less of a challenge. This could be a blowout early.