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Live Blog: Bengals fall to Chiefs in AFC championship rematch

Bengals Chiefs Football
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jan 29, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Cincinnati Bengals are just one victory away from their second-straight Super Bowl appearance.

We're getting a rematch of last year's AFC championship as the Bengals (14-4) take on the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs (15-3). The Chiefs struck first, kicking two field goals to go up 6-0. Evan McPherson helped the Bengals get on the board, kicking a field goal to go down 6-3.

With less than five minutes to go in the half, Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce for Kansas City's first touchdown, extending their lead to 13-3. Joe Burrow and company were able to finish off the first half with another field goal, going into the locker room 13-6.

The Chiefs got the ball to start the second half, but went three-and-out. Cincinnati was able to capitalize, scoring their first touchdown on a 27-yard Tee Higgins reception and tying the Chiefs 13-13.

Not to be outdone, Mahomes threw a touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to give the Chiefs a 20-13 lead. The Bengals went three-and-out once again, giving Kansas City a chance to extend the lead, but Cincinnati native Sam Hubbard came through again, recovering Mahomes' first postseason fumble to give the Bengals the ball.

Cincinnati looked like they were going to leave the field after another three-and-out, but went for it on 4th-and-7. A 35-yard pass to Ja'Marr Chase set up a Samaje Perine touchdown to tie the game at 20-20.

The Bengals defense thought they were coming off the field after a third-down stop in the fourth quarter, but the referees later said the play had already been called dead because the clock was running when it shouldn't have, allowing the Chiefs another shot at 3rd-and-9 and causing frustration on the Bengals' sideline.

Cincinnati sacked Mahomes, but a holding penalty on Eli Apple gave Kansas City an automatic first down. Still, the defense was able to stop the Chiefs on their side of the field.

Burrow and company looked like they were moving down the field, but UC alum Bryan Cook was able to tip a pass to Tee Higgins, forcing Burrow's second interception of the day. The Chiefs were not able to capitalize on the turnover.

With less than two minutes to go, Burrow was called for intentional grounding, forcing the Bengals into a 3rd-and-16 on their own 9. Burrow found Hayden Hurst for a first down with less than one minute left in the game.

Chris Jones sacked Burrow for the second time on another third down, putting Kansas City in position for a last-second win. Skyy Moore's 29-yard punt return put the Chiefs offense in midfield with just 40 seconds remaining. Mahomes ran for a first down, and Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai hit him late to put the ball even closer to the end zone.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal to give the Chiefs a 23-20 win.

Both teams struggled with injuries throughout the game. Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Boyd was sidelined with a left thigh injury after a catch in the first half, while Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed was ruled out after suffering a concussion in the first quarter. Two KC wide receivers also left the field with injuries: Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman.

Mahomes was dealing with a high ankle sprain but he suffered in the divisional round. Mahomes' No. 1 target, Travis Kelce, was also listed as a "game-time decision" after the UC alum suffered a back injury. Kelce didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, and FOX Sports' Jay Glazer said he injured his back during practice Friday.

Last year's championship game ended in a 27-24 Bengals win in overtime thanks to kicker Evan McPherson. Earlier this season, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24 in Paycor Stadium — making Burrow's record against Mahomes 3-0.

On Cincinnati's end, starting offensive linemen Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams were once again be out. Center Ted Karras, who injured his knee against the Buffalo Bills but never left the game, played Sunday.

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