Bengals Show Character to Win Ticket to Super Bowl; the Chiefs are guilty of arrogance

KANSAS CITY — Yes. The Cincinnati Bengals are going to the Super Bowl.

Very few, if any, would have believed that the AFC champion would be a Bengals who entered Super Bowl pregame as underdogs and never gave up despite being down 18 points and came from behind to beat the Bengals in overtime. Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 27-24 in the Conference Championship Game.

“If this win against this second-best team in the AFC doesn’t prove we belong at this level, I don’t know what will,” said Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who is in the Super Bowl in just his second year in the NFL.

In turn, the Bengals are in the NFL title game for the third time in their history and after only winning four games in 2020.

The Chiefs had all the necessary opportunities to seal the win from the first half, after being up 21-3 on the board, however, what, for many, was an attitude of arrogance in deciding to go for the touchdown in the final seconds of the second quarter instead of going for a field goal.

In the end, Kansas City went into halftime with no points on their last drive of the first half as time ran out on the clock and without the ability to call a timeout, after making the mistake of calling the first in the first quarter, before requesting the review of a play of first and 10.

Although the review was favorable, the referees docked the Chiefs’ timeout for requesting it before coach Andy Reid threw the red handkerchief to review the action.

There are no “shoulds,” but in the NFL you have to finish off your opponent when you have the opportunity to do so, or not doing so can have consequences, as happened to the Chiefs.

“It is very likely that I called the wrong play. Nothing can be done anymore“Reid said about the last action of the first half.

The second half was a different story, almost identical to the one between the two teams in Week 17 of the regular season, when Cincinnati beat Kansas City 34-31, after the Chiefs dominated the first half to their hearts’ content, even , with two advantages of 14 points.

The day of the AFC Championship Game was not the day of Patrick Mahomes, who had a very different performance than he had in the Divisional Round against the Buffalo Bills, when he carried the team on his shoulders to achieve one of the most spectacular victories of NFL history.

After a nearly perfect first half against the Bengals, Mahomes and the rest of Kansas City’s offense collapsed. After adding 292 total yards in the first 30 minutes, the Chiefs’ offense added just 77 in the second half.

Mahomes only missed two passes and threw three for touchdowns before the break, but in the second half and overtime, he missed 11, including two that were intercepted and the second, in overtime, practically sealed the game in Cincinnati’s favor by having had to cover little ground to set up a field goal by rookie Evan McPherson, who was perfect on four attempts at Arrowhead Stadium.

On offense, the Bengals had just 152 total yards in the first half and finished with 359. Burrow, named the AFC Championship Game MVP, was far from perfect and his numbers were modest (23-39, 250 yards, two touchdowns, one interception), but he made the necessary plays in the second half.

The biggest stat is that Burrow was only sacked once, as opposed to the nine he suffered in the Divisional Round against the Tennessee Titans, or the four the Bengals had against Mahomes.

The Chiefs managed to contain receiver Jamar Chase, who in the regular season completed 11 passes for 266 yards, but the figure of Tee Higgins emerged, who accumulated 103 yards on six receptions, four of them for first and 10.

In turn, Cincinnati’s defense gave up 78 yards to Tyreek Hill in the first half and the receiver didn’t add one in the second.

Thus, the Bengals taught him to adjust the “king of adjustments” and it was not by chance, because they did it in the two games in which they beat the Chiefs this season and their reward was the ticket to Super Bowl LVI.

“We’ve been a second-half team all year. Our defense got better in the second half and we were able to execute better,” Burrow said.

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