CINCINNATI (AP) – Evan McPherson hit a 20-yard field goal as the game clock expired as the Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first AFC North title and first postseason appearance in six years with a 34-31 victory this Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Rookie Ja’Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and a Bengals franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns with 11 receptions; Joe Burrow threw for 466 yards with four touchdowns beating Patrick Mahomes in the singles match, and the Bengals rallied from a 14-point deficit against the AFC West champions.
The Bengals’ winning offensive series was fraught with drama.
In fourth and inches, with less than a minute to play, the Bengals (10-6) decided to go for the score instead of McPherson attempting a field goal and handing the ball to the Chiefs with a chance to win.
Burrow threw an incomplete pass into the end zone, but cornerback L’Jarius Sneed committed an illegal hand use penalty that gave the Bengals another four more play series. Backup quarterback Brandon Allen had to step onto the field to kneel a few times before McPherson kicked the winning field goal.
Burrow completed 30 of 39 passes, although he was sacked four times and hit at least six more times, but he was on target and Chase caught everything he threw close.
Mahomes appeared to be in control of the game with two touchdown passes in the first quarter to give the Chiefs an early lead, but he couldn’t get any more.
The Chiefs (11-5) had leads of 14-0, 21-7 and 28-14 in the first half and went into the break 28-17, before being taken out of the game in the second half.