AFC Championship: Bengals bring the drama to beat Chiefs in overtime!
Kansas City, Missouri - The Cincinnati Bengals reached their first Super Bowl since 1989 after a pulsating 27-24 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.
Patrick Mahomes had started in inspired form at Arrowhead Stadium, delivering three touchdown passes to put the Chiefs 21-3 ahead, but the Bengals roared back in stunning fashion to move 24-21 in front.
A Harrison Butker field goal with three seconds left took the game to overtime, yet Evan McPherson ensured a memorable win for the Bengals with a field goal of his own.
They will face the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI in a fortnight.
The victory, which equaled the Colts' biggest comeback win in NFL Championship Game history, continues Cincinnati's dream postseason run, having overcome the top-seeded Tennessee Titans 19-16 and Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.
The player spotlight
Joe Burrow heaped deserved praise on the Bengals defense after Vonn Bell's interception set up their dramatic turnaround. That wasn't the safety's only huge contribution to the minor miracle.
After Mahomes' initial flurry, Cincinnati didn't concede again to roar ahead 24-21 until Harrison Butker's field goal with three seconds left to send the game to overtime, as Burrow led the rally offensively, completing 23 of 38 attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chiefs won the vital coin flip for overtime and it was Bell's time to shine again. His pick on a Mahomes' throw allowed the Bengals to gain possession, with Burrow driving them forward with Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon to set up McPherson's decisive kick.
The big picture
Burrows couldn't stop talking about his teammates in defense after the Bengals reached their first Super Bowl since 1989
"Our defense was unbelievable in the second half," he told CBS after the game. "They had a great plan on defensive side against us. We struggled a little bit. I'm a little speechless right now."
Burrow added: "We've been a second-half team all year. You don't really want to be that way but that's how it's worked out."
"Our defense has really stepped up in the second half and on offense we made plays when we had to. I thought the offensive line was great. We started running the ball, it was a great overall team effort."
"Usually when you lose a coin flip to those guys, you're going home."
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor called his side a "special team" and reiterated that they were not done yet, ahead of the Super Bowl against the Rams.
"We've got a special team and we've overcome a lot of deficits this year," Taylor said. "We always believe in all three phases. Everyone stepped up and we're not done yet."
"[It's] special, nothing we'll ever forget. We're not done yet. Our fans say 'who dey?', we dem."
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire