KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WKRC) - As the Bengals have done so many times against the Kansas City Chiefs in the last two seasons they kept rallying from deficits, but this time the Chiefs had the final word.
Harrison Butker kicked a 45-yard field goal with three seconds left to lift Kansas City to a 23-20 victory on Sunday at Geha Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
The game-winning field goal was set up by a 29-yard punt return by Skyy Moore to the Kansas City 47 with 30 seconds left. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes made the big play on the ensuing drive when he scrambled for five yards and defensive end Joseph Ossai was called for a personal foul for hitting him late out of bounds. That moved the ball to the Bengals 27 and Butker kicked the game-winner on the very next play.
That sends the Chiefs into Super Bowl LVII where they will face the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12.
The Bengals finished with 309 yards total offense.
Joe Burrow completed 26 of 41 passes for 270 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a passer rating of 70.2. He was sacked five times.
They rushed for 71 yards on 17 attempts with Burrow leading the way with 30 yards on four scrambles.
Kansas City had 357 yards total offense.
Mahomes completed 29 of 43 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 105.4. He was sacked once.
The Chiefs rushed for 42 yards on 20 attempts.
Trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Bengals defense forced Kansas City to go three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half.
They then proceeded to drive 62 yards in eight plays and tied the score at 13-13 when Burrow connected with wide receiver Tee Higgins for a 27-yard touchdown with 9:54 left in the third quarter. On the play, which came on 3rd-and-6, Higgins outjumped Kansas City rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson to snag the pass.
Kansas City answered with an 11-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling that put the Chiefs on top 20-13 with 4:15 to play in the third quarter.
After the Bengals punted on the ensuing drive they got a huge break when Mahomes had the ball slip out of his hand while attempting to pass, and it went backward for a fumble, which defensive end Sam Hubbard recovered at the Chiefs 45.
The Bengals faced 4th-and-6 from the Kansas City 41 as the fourth quarter started and head coach Zac Taylor opted to go for the first down. Burrow floated a pass deep down the middle for wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who went up between two defenders to catch the ball at the Chiefs 6.
Two plays later Samaje Perine bulled his way into the end zone from two yards out to tie the score at 20-20 with 13:30 remaining in the game.
Kansas City took a 3-0 lead the first time it had the ball.
It came after the Chiefs forced the Bengals to punt on the opening series and then they drove from their own 36 to the the Bengals 25 where on 3rd-and-5 Mahomes tried hit wide receiver Kadarius Toney near the front left pylon, but the pass was ruled incomplete. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid challenged the call, but the call stood. Butker then booted a 43-yard field goal to put the Chiefs on top 3-0 with 8:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Burrow was sacked twice on the next drive that forced the Bengals to once again punt.
The Chiefs then drove from their own 33 to the Bengals 9 where running back Isiah Pacheco ran into the end zone, but the touchdown was wiped out on a holding penalty by right tackle Andrew Wylie. Kansas City increased the lead to 6-0 on a 24-yard field goal by Butker on the first play of the second quarter.
The Bengals were outgained 110-0 in the first quarter and had only one first down.
The Bengals answered with their first scoring drive of the game that was capped by a 30-yard field goal by Evan McPherson to cut the deficit to 6-3 with 8:36 left in the first half. Burrow completed two big passes to wide receiver Tyler Boyd on the drive, the first a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-14 that took the ball to the Chiefs 39 and the second a 24-yard completion that took the ball to the Kansas City 15.
Kansas City responded with an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown from Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce on a 4th-and-1 play that increased the lead to 13-3 with 3:53 to play in the first half.
A big play on the drive was a 29-yard pass from Mahomes to Valdez-Scantling to the Bengals 23.
The Bengals pulled within 13-6 when McPherson booted a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the first half after they had driven from their own 5 to the Kansas City 5 in a little over two minutes.
The Bengals finished the first half with 141 yards total offense.
Burrow completed 15 of 22 passes for 147yards, no touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 67.8. He was sacked four times.
The interception was his first since Dec. 24 game at New England.
They rushed for a scant 19 yards on eight attempts in the half.
Kansas City had 184 yards total offense in the first half.
Mahomes completed 13 of 19 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 112.8. He was not sacked.
The Chiefs had only 19 yards rushing on eight attempts.
NOTEWORTHY: The Bengals on Saturday elevated QB Jake Browning and OT Isaiah Prince from the practice squad for the game, but Browning was placed on the inactive list. Browning and Prince are both classified as standard and will automatically revert to the practice squad on Monday.
INACTIVES: In addition to Browning the Bengals placed the following players on the inactive list 90 minutes prior to kickoff: RB Chris Evans; CB Jalen Davis; G Alex Cappa; T Jonah Williams; DE Jeff Gunter and DT Jay Tufele.