The Kansas City Chiefs advance to Super Bowl LVII after a 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
After sustaining a sprained ankle last week in the Chiefs’ Divisional Round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Patrick Mahomes led the team to a home-and-away victory.
Kansas City took a 6-0 lead after two field goals and before halftime Mahomes found his favorite target – tight end Travis Kelce for a touchdown to take a 13-3 lead. Kelce was listed as questionable to play entering the game due to a back injury.
Just before halftime, the Bengals ran down the field and scored a field goal to close the gap to 13-6.
On the Bengals’ first offensive possession in the second half, quarterback Joe Burrow found wide receiver Tee Higgins for a 27-yard touchdown to tie the game at 13. However, a clearly hobbled Mahomes and the Chiefs responded with a laser touchdown throw to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to regain the lead right away.
The Chiefs’ defensive unit shut down the Bengals’ powerful offense until the first play of the fourth quarter.
On fourth down, Burrow tossed the ball downfield and found Ja’Marr Chase for a 35-yard strike to move Cincinnati deep into Kansas City territory. Two plays later, the Bengals scored on a 2-yard touchdown by running back Samaje Perine to tie the game again.
The Chiefs sacked Burrow on third down to get the ball back to them with less than a minute left and the score tied at 20. Chiefs returner Skyy Moore fired the Bengals 29 yards to set up the offense with a good field position. On third down, Mahomes rushed and as he ran out of bounds, Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai pushed him and was called for an unnecessary 15-yard roughing penalty that put the Chiefs within reach. beginning.
Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker knocked down the field goal from 45 yards to send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons.
The Feb. 12 Finals will mark the first time in history that both teams participating in the Super Bowl will start black quarterbacks.
Mahomes, who became the third black quarterback to win the Super Bowl in 2020, is aiming to become the first black quarterback in history to win multiple Super Bowls, while Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts could become the fourth black quarterback to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to advance to the championship game for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
The Eagles scored on their first possession and didn’t look back in the rout of the 49ers.
The 49ers were momentarily without rookie starting quarterback Brock Purdy after suffering a right elbow injury in the first quarter, on a hit by Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick that forced a fumble. Josh Johnson, who is San Francisco’s fourth quarterback, filled in for Purdy until the third quarter before being ruled out of the game with a concussion.
Playing on the injured elbow, Purdy got back into the game but the 49ers offense struggled to score points.
Meanwhile, the Eagles quarterback Hurts and Philadelphia run-game scoured the entire 49ers defense, rushing for 148 yards and scoring all four rushing touchdowns. With his fourth quarter rushing touchdown, Hurts (15) passed Cameron Newton (14) for most single-season rushing touchdowns by a QB in NFL history, including the playoffs. according to NFL research.