American Football: Kansas City Chiefs edge Cincinnati Bengals to return to Super Bowl

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal to help Kansas City Chiefs beat Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 and win the AFC Championship for the third time in the past four seasons at Kansas City.

In the Super Bowl, they'll face Philadelphia Eagles, who beat San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship.

Patrick Mahomes had 326 passing yards and two touchdowns, and set up the gamewinning kick on a scramble to his right with 12 seconds left in the game. As he crossed the sideline, Mahomes was shoved by Joseph Ossai, resulting in a 15-yard penalty to set up Butker's gamewinning kick.

Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with the Lamar Hunt Trophy. Photo credit: Getty Images

Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, tight-end Travis Kelce caught seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, and Kansas City's defence had two interceptions and five sacks of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

In a 20-20 tie, Burrow and the Bengals took over at their own 12-yard line with 2m30s to play, but defensive tackle Chris Jones' second sack of the game forced Cincinnati to punt to rookie Skyy Moore, who caught the ball at the 18 with 35s left and returned it to Kansas City's 47.

The Bengals pounced on their first takeaway and recovered momentum in the final minute of the third quarter. From the shotgun, Mahomes faked a handoff to Isiah Pacheco, but as he twisted his body to the right, he lost control of the ball.

Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard came up with the ball at Kansas City's 46.

The drive appeared to stall quickly, but the Bengals went for it on fourth-and-6, and Burrow went deep for Ja'Marr Chase, who hauled the ball in at the five. Two plays later, running back Samaje Perine churned into the end zone for a two-yard score and knotted the game at 20 with 13m30s remaining.

A hobbled Mahomes operated most of the second half without key receivers, due to injuries. He found Valdes-Scantling one step into the centre of the end zone to put the Chiefs up 20-13, hooking up on third-and-10 for a 19-yard touchdown.

The 11-play drive covered 77 yards and was extended on a six-yard connection to Valdes-Scantling on the previous third down.

Tee Higgins hauled in a 27-yard touchdown from Burrow to tie the game at 13. On third-and-six, Burrow lofted a pass to the front, right corner of the end zone, where Higgins elevated over Chiefs rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson for the score.

Three of Kansas City's top receivers - Mecole Hardman (pelvis), Kadarius Toney (ankle) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) - exited with injuries in the first half.

Evan McPherson connected on his second field goal as time expired in the second quarter to bring the Bengals within seven points, 13-6.

Burrow was sacked four times, before his fifth completion in the first half, and faced constant pressure in the pocket. He was picked off three plays after the Chiefs jumped ahead 13-3 with 3m 53s left in the second quarter.

On a fourth-and-one rollout, Kelce caught his 15th career postseason TD, which tied him for second all-time with Rob Gronkowski.


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