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Bengals clinch AFC North and first playoff since 2015 season

Tyler Boyd
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 02, 2022

CINCINNATI — It's happening — they've done it. The Bengals are playoff bound.

In a tight game that kept fans on the edge of their seat to the final minute, the Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 34-31 to clinch their spot as No. 1 in the AFC North.

The victory over the Chiefs was narrow: A slow start from the Bengals left them trailing 14-0 and, despite a fight from Ja'Marr Chase, still hadn't shored up the difference by halftime.

The Bengals pulled ahead in the fourth quarter and held the lead for the win at Paul Brown Stadium. Evan McPherson made a 20-yard field goal at the gun to win it, and Cincinnati (10-6) collected its 10th division title and first since 2015, which also was the team’s last playoff season.

That year, they also finished first in the AFC North, but lost the following playoff game to the Steelers 18-16.

The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 season — meaning there are generations of Cincinnatians who haven't seen a playoff victory in their lifetime.