Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow was 26-of-41 for 270 yards and one touchdown to go along with two interceptions.
KANSAS CITY – January 29, 2023 – Bradley Charles
The Cincinnati Bengals were one win away from back-to-back appearances in the Super Bowl, but lost 23-20 at Kansas City on Sunday night.
Despite being dominant against Buffalo last week; Cincinnati’s offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Joe Burrow against KC. The Bengals allowed four sacks in the first half, while rushing for just 19 yards off eight carries. Cincinnati allowed one sack in the second half, while rushing nine times for 52 yards.
Kansas City’s first three drives totaled 13 points, but the Bengals’ defense held them to 10 throughout the remainder of the game.
Cincinnati’s defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half. The Bengals offense took advantage of the opportunity by recording an eight-play, 62-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 27-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins.
The Chiefs responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Marquez-Valdes Scantling off an 11-play, 77-yard drive. Kansas City led 20-13 with 4:15 to go in the third quarter.
Following a Cincinnati punt; Mahomes had an unforced fumble, which was recovered by Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard. On 4th and 6 from the KC 41-yard line; Burrow connected with Ja’Marr Chase on a 35-yard pass to the KC six-yard line.
Two plays later; Samaje Perine scored off a two-yard touchdown run. The score was tied 20-20 with 13:30 left in the fourth quarter. With 2:30 left in the fourth quarter; the score was still 20-20 with Cincinnati beginning a possession at its own six-yard line.
In that drive, the Bengals converted on 3rd and 16 from Cincinnati’s 10-yard line off a 23-yard pass from Burrow to tight end Hayden Hurst. Later in the drive; Burrow was sacked on 3rd and 8 from the Bengals’ 35-yard line.
Following a punt by Cincy; the Chiefs took over at their own 47-yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
On 3rd and 4 at the Cincinnati 47-yard line, Mahomes scrambled to his right for a five-yard gain. However, Cincinnati DE Joseph Ossai was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which led to a successful 45-yard field goal by Harrison Butker. The Bengals were unable to score on the kickoff return, and Kansas City won the game 23-20.
In front of the media after the game, Cincinnati DT B.J. Hill stood next to Ossai while Ossai was being interviewed. On multiple occasions during the interview, Hill spoke out in support of Ossai.
“That’s my brother,” Hill told reporters following Ossai’s interview. “So, just trying to blame it on one person ain’t going to fly with me. … He had a great year. So, one play don’t define who you are.”
While the Bengals’ season ultimately fell short of the Super Bowl win they desired; they did make back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship Game. At this point, it’s clear that Cincinnati has established itself as a legitimate Super Bowl contender for the foreseeable future with Burrow at QB.
“I feel great about the direction that we’re headed,” Burrow said. “That’s the great thing about the NFL; it’s not college where you only got four years. You got as many years as you want to hopefully.”
Cincinnati finishes the season 14-5 (2-1 postseason). The Chiefs are now 16-3 (2-0 postseason).
Kansas City will face Philadelphia in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, Feb. 12, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Up next for Cincinnati is an offseason that will likely be focused on contract negotiations with multiple players; including Burrow and Higgins.