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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes was forced to rely on his badly sprained right ankle instead of his strong right arm as the Kansas City Chiefs’ chance to win the AFC Championship continued.

The All-Pro quarterback, who lost three wide receivers to injuries and beat himself up, made a third-down play near midfield in another gut-check game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Mahomes Strive to reach the desired mark And he was out of bounds when he felt Joseph Osai’s hands send him sprawling to the bench.

A mad dash, coupled with a 15-yard penalty for a late punt, was all Kansas City needed.

Harrison Butker strode confidently up the field, sending his 45-yard shot over the crossbar in a cold, strong wind with 3 seconds to go and Put the Chiefs back in the Super Bowl 23-20 victory for the third time in four years.

“I don’t think we have any cigarettes, but we’ll be ready to go in the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said with a smile.

It was a testament to the AFC West champions, who had lost three straight to their new cousins, including a three-point overtime loss to Cincinnati in last year’s conference title game. All of those losses were by three points.

Now the leaders are back in the big game.

Coach Andy Reid’s former team, the Eagles, will be hurt in their Super Bowl opener against Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen. It also features a brother-in-law showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“I’ve seen them all year,” Mahomes said. “It will be a big challenge for us. But I respect this first.

Mahomes, who injured his ankle against Jacksonville in the divisional round, threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, despite ultimately losing three wide receivers to injuries. Marquez Valdez-Scantling led the way with 116 yards and a touchdown, while Travis Kelce — bad back and all — had seven catches for 78 yards and 78 yards.

“It’s a tough group. My heart goes out to them, man, they’re tough,” Reid said. “They worked hard this week. Pat and Kells both got beat up a little bit. They pushed and great things happened.”

The Chiefs were also able to shut down the Bengals, some of whom took Joe Burrow, who had never lost to Kansas City, to call his home “Burrowhead.” Even Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval He launched into his trash talk.

“I’ve got some wise words for that mayor of Cincinnati,” Kelce said. “Know your role and shut up, you Jabroni!”

Burrow, who was sacked five times, finished with a staggering 270 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Bengals. Tee Higgins caught six balls for 83 yards and a score.

“We don’t make it about one game. “There were a lot of plays we left today that could have put us in a better position,” Bengals coach Zach Taylor said. “The nature of this football team, that will never change. We’ve got the right guys in the locker room, the right guys leading this team and organization.

“I know this is a team that makes our city and our fans proud,” Taylor added. They represent themselves in the right way, and next year we will fight, grind and cut to get back to this place.

The Chiefs managed to do what the Buffalo Bills couldn’t do in last week’s divisional contest: run over an ailing Bengals offensive line that lost two starters to injuries and another to a sore knee.

Burrow was sacked three times in the first quarter alone, and the Bengals offense didn’t gain a single yard.

Mahomes looked good on his ankle when he led Kansas City to a field goal on the opening possession. When the Chiefs got the ball back, Mahomes did it again, but only after Kadarius Toney failed to pull in for a good touchdown — an incompletion confirmed on review.

Cincinnati finally got going in the second quarter, but had to settle for an Evan McPherson chip-shot field goal.

For two of the league’s top-scoring offenses.

The Chiefs finally got around to it late in the second quarter when Mahomes hit Kelce who was covered by Jesse Bates III on a fourth down. The Bengals drove 90 yards in the final minutes but added a field goal to take a 13-6 halftime lead.

Their only fault was hitting the road. And it was another classic brew.

After the Chiefs went three-and-out to start the second half, Burrow led the Bengals down the field and converted a third down through a yawning hole in the defense. Hitting Higgins from 27 yards to tie the game 13-all.

Mahomes, suddenly throwing three wide receivers down with injuries and starting to fumble, loaded up on plays. Valdes-Scantlig responded with a throw to third down to regain the lead.

The Chiefs had a chance to get some breathing room later in the third quarter, but Mahomes somehow lost control of the ball before landing a pass and the Bengals went onside. Six plays later — including a gutsy fourth-down throw to Ja’Marr Chase — Samaje raced into the end zone to tie Perry at the 20.

Burrow gave the Chiefs a chance on third down when a deep throw to Higgins was hit in the air and picked off by rookie cornerback Josh Williams. Mahomes managed to move the Chiefs up the middle, but two runs went nowhere and his throw to Jerick McKinnon on third down was too short, forcing a punt in Bengals territory.

Kansas City’s defense held, however, got critical Jones from Jones 39 seconds left to force a point and return a shaky man Skye Moore broke free for 29 yards. Returning. That gave Mahomes and his offense one more try.

“It’s been a tough road to get here. To win 10 in a row, that’s been an amazing feat,” Taylor said. “We came up short. We wanted to play more than that, but I’m really proud of these guys.”

Disadvantages

Bengals: WR Tyler Boyd left early in the second half with a quadriceps injury.

Chiefs: Lost CB L’Jarius Sneed (concussion), LB Willie Gay Jr. (shoulder) and WRs Toney (ankle), Mecole Hardman (Dalevis) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee).

Next

The Chiefs are headed to their third Super Bowl in four seasons. They ended a 50-year championship drought when they rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers in 2020 and lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following year.

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