The Bengals Are Going To The Super Bowl After A Late Patrick Mahomes Meltdown

Midway through the second quarter it looked like the Kansas City Chiefs were going to roll to their third straight Super Bowl appearance, as they jumped on the Bengals to the tune of a 21-3 lead, as Cincinnati’s offense couldn’t find any rhythm and the defense was unable to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.

However, a screen pass to Samaje Perine went for a 41-yard touchdown to get the Bengals on the board late in the first half, and for the first time all game they had some life. The Chiefs marched down to inside the five yard line, but failed to get any points after Mahomes threw behind the line of scrimmage to Tyreek Hill with no timeouts and five seconds left, and Hill was tackled short of the goal line.

That sequence marked the beginning of a major turning of the tide in Kansas City, as the Bengals defense locked down on the Chiefs, who had fewer than 40 yards in the third quarter (and most importantly, 0 points), forcing a crucial turnover down eight to give the offense the ball in the red zone.

On the other side, Joe Burrow started to get loose both throwing the ball and running it, as the Bengals clawed their way back to tie the game on a back shoulder fade to Ja’Marr Chase.

From there, the two teams traded punts (and a Burrow interception), and after a field goal put Cincinnati up three, Mahomes had that look in his eye like he was going to rip the Bengals hearts out late. He drove the Chiefs down inside the 10 with 90 seconds to play and the Bengals burning timeouts to desperately try to salvage something, when suddenly Mahomes became the quarterback to start playing like the one without big game experience.

After taking a sack on second down, Mahomes spun round and round on third down, fumbling the ball and nearly costing the Chiefs a chance at overtime.

Harrison Butker picked him up by drilling the 44-yard kick to force OT, and once again Kansas City won the coin toss, sparking another round of overtime discourse online. However, Mahomes’ poor decision making that had been present all second half continued in overtime, this time to disastrous results. After throwing a near pick-six on second down on a slant that Eli Apple dropped, Mahomes threw a jump ball to Tyreek Hill on third down that got tipped into the hands of Vonn Bell to set Cincinnati up near midfield, needing just a field goal to win.

Burrow and the Bengals marched into the red zone, setting up Evan McPherson for his 11th field goal of these playoffs, as he remained perfect to send Cincinnati to the Super Bowl.

It was an incredibly gutsy performance by the Bengals, who looked out-matched early on but made some great adjustments on both sides of the ball to start getting things going on offense and take away the Chiefs big play threats on defense. They also managed to seemingly rattle Mahomes, who looked dreadful in some key moments, and for as great as he was in the first half, owns a significant portion of blame for the way things ended on Sunday evening.