NFL: Mahomes gains revenge against Bengals as Chiefs make Super Bowl LVII
Kansas City, Missouri - A limping Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to the NFL Super Bowl LVII with a 23-20 defeat of the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.
Mahomes had sustained a high ankle sprain in the Divisional round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars but was determined not to miss the opportunity to gain revenge following last year's loss against the Bengals at the same stage.
In that reverse, Mahomes followed an outstanding first half with an uncharacteristically shambolic second that cost the Chiefs.
However, on Sunday, as the game wore on and the temperature dropped, the MVP candidate showed signs of his injury affecting him but refused to relent, finishing with 29-of-43 passing for 326 yards and two touchdowns, along with a vital late run.
Mahomes was largely able to stay clean in the first half while Joe Burrow took some punishment, but the Chiefs' sole TD pass found Travis Kelce on fourth-and-one.
Chiefs and Bengals battle it out in tight second half
Memories of last year's loss might have come to mind as the Bengals came out stronger in the third quarter and Tee Higgins sensationally reeled in a pinpoint Burrow TD pass down the sideline.
A hobbling Mahomes battled on and connected with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a scrambling score, only for Burrow to find Ja'Marr Chase deep on fourth-and-six to set up Samaje Perine to run it in.
With the scores tied, both QBs struggled to get the job done as overtime neared, but Chris Jones sacked Burrow to force a Bengals punt, with Skyy Moore's 27-yard return keeping the Chiefs alive.
When Mahomes – understandably reluctant to run the ball until that stage – made up five yards and was shoved by Joseph Ossai after running out of bounds, a 15-yard penalty left Harrison Butker with the 45-yard game-winning field goal to set up a Super Bowl meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports/Jay Biggerstaff