An enthralling 23-20 victory for Kansas City Chiefs against the Cincinnati Bengals has got the Chiefs into their third Super Bowl in four years.
At Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, Cincinnati equalised twice in the second half as two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks took centre stage.
Joe Burrow hoped to reach a second straight Super Bowl, while the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes aimed for a third Super Bowl in five seasons as a starter.
Despite struggling with an ankle injury, Mahomes scrambled for a first down with 17 seconds left giving, Harrison Butker the chance to make the game-winning kick from 45 yards.
Cincinnati struggled to get into the game as Burrow was sacked four times while the Chiefs kicked two field goals, before the Bengals added one of their own.
Mahomes showed no signs of the ankle sprain that he suffered last week over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as he finished a 75-yard drive by finding tight end Travis Kelce for a 14 yard touchdown pass.
Burrow was intercepted with less than three minutes left in the half, yet the Bengals managed to force themselves into field-goal range to cut the deficit to 13-6 at half-time.
And the Bengals drew level after their first possession of the third quarter, Burrow with a 27-yard pass for Tee Higgins to start the half off in fashion.
Although Mahomes began hobbling after making a pass on the run, he then produced a 19-yard dart to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to put the Chiefs back in front.
But the Bengals recovered a Mahomes fumble on the Chiefs’ next drive, who levelled again after Burrow’s 35-yard pass to Ja’Marr Chase allowed Samaje Perine to punch it in.
Defences then took charge in a tense finale, with Chris Jones’ sack on Burrow forcing the Bengals to punt inside the final minute.
A 29-yard return by Skyy Moore gave the hosts hope of clinching a win in regulation time, and Joseph Ossai’s tackle on Mahomes after he stepped out of bounds gave Butker a much more favourable kick to seal the win.