Who Dey? Super Bowl-bound.
The Cincinnati Bengals are headed to their third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24, in the AFC Championship Game.
This year’s Cincy team — led by head coach Zac Taylor, quarterback Joe Burrow and rookie wideout Ja’Marr Chase — believed they were destined to represent the AFC in Inglewood throughout the record-setting performance.
The Bengals pulled off the tremendous comeback win with a combination of vital defensive plays and a typically cool performance by Burrow.
Cincinnati became the first team in a conference championship game to overcome a double-digit halftime deficit and win.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense made a convincing case in the first half for a total blowout to ensue.
Mahomes threw a score to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman to put the lead at 21-3 before a Samaje Perine took a screen pass for 41 yards to inch the Bengals closer before the half.
The Bengals found themselves needing a big play for the majority of three quarters. Cincy defensive lineman BJ Hill delivered with minutes left before the fourth. He intercepted Mahomes at the line of scrimmage, allowing Burrow and the offense to tie the game after being down 14.
Burrow found Chase for a two-yard score and wideout Trent Taylor for the two-point conversion. 21-21.
The Bengals gained the lead off a second field goal by Evan McPherson, 24-21.
The Bengals’ momentum pressed Mahomes and the offense to engineer a game-winning or game-tying drive — down by three as the clock began to wind down.
Cincy’s defense stepped up big: sacking Mahomes on the penultimate possession — nearly losing a fumble — and setting up Harrison Butker for a 40-yards field goal.
The Chiefs won the toss for a consecutive week but lost the game this time around.
Vonn Bell’s interception off a deep pass attempt from Mahomes gave the Bengals offense a chance to march down the field for the OT win.
Letting Money McPherson remind the League why drafting a kicker remains crucial, Cincinnati booted their way to the championship game with a 31-yard field goal — stopping Mahomes from reaching his third straight Super Bowl.
Mahomes passed for 26-of-39 for 275 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon added tough yardage on the ground — rushing for 88 yards on 21 carries.
AFC champ and Bengals QB Joe Cool completed for 23-of-38 for 250 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Cincinnati awaits the victor of the NFC Championship Game to set the stage for Super Bowl 56 at SoFi Stadium.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela