KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Patrick Mahomes scrambled for a first down on his badly sprained right ankle, then was shoved late out of bounds by Joseph Ossai, giving Harrison Butker a chance to kick a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining and give the Kansas City Chiefs a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC title game Sunday night.
The Chiefs (16-3) finally beat the Bengals (14-5) after three straight losses, including a three-point overtime defeat in last year’s title game, and will play the Philadelphia Eagles – coach Andy Reid’s old team – in their third Super Bowl in four years. The matchup between Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts will be the first in Super Bowl history between two Black starting quarterbacks.
Mahomes, who hurt his ankle against Jacksonville in the divisional round, threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, even though he was missing three of his wide receivers to injuries by the end. Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the way with 116 yards and a touchdown, while Travis Kelce – bad back and all – had seven catches for 78 yards and a score.
The Chiefs got a crucial sack from Chris Jones to force a punt with 39 seconds left, and Skyy Moore broke free for 29 yards on the return. On third-and-4 at the Bengals 47, Mahomes eluded pressure and scrambled toward the Bengals sideline, barely picking up the first down before Ossai gave him a shove from behind.
The penalty flags flew, the ball moved 15 yards closer and Butker’s kick barely had enough to get over the crossbar.
Joe Burrow, who was sacked five times and was wobbly by the end, finished with 270 yards passing to go with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Bengals. Tee Higgins had six catches for 83 yards and the score.
EAGLES 31, 49ERS 7
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Jalen Hurts had one of Philadelphia’s four rushing touchdowns and the Eagles soared into the Super Bowl, forcing both of San Francisco’s quarterbacks out of the game with injuries and beating the wounded 49ers in the NFC championship game.
The Eagles (16-3), who won the Super Bowl five years ago with a different coach and quarterback, will try to do it again behind the formidable duo of Hurts and coach Nick Sirianni. Philadelphia will play former Eagles coach Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Hurts had a modest game by his standards after a season in which he was a finalist for MVP. He was 15-of-25 passing for 121 yards and ran for 39. His 1-yard rushing touchdown on Philadelphia’s signature rugby-style QB sneak made it 28-7 late in the third quarter.
Miles Sanders ran for two touchdowns and linebacker Haason Reddick made the hit that forced 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy out of the game with an elbow injury. Reddick also recovered a fumble by Purdy’s replacement, Josh Johnson, who later suffered a concussion.
That forced Purdy back into the game, but his injury was clearly a factor as the 49ers all but gave up on throwing the ball, even while trailing by multiple scores.
San Francisco’s bad luck at quarterback was finally too much to overcome as its 12-game win streak ended. The Niners (15-5) lost both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending injuries. Purdy took over and was unbeaten as a starter before falling short in Philly.
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