Bengals-Chiefs AFC Tournament: 5 winners and 5 losers round out Kansas City’s win

Sunday evening Asian Championship The match was the largest and hottest of current instances Kansas Metropolis Chiefs Historical past. In it, they confronted their very own boogeyman: a Cincinnati Bengals A staff that ended their 2021 season with an extra time defeat that was only one a part of a bitter three-game dropping streak.

Going into this all of us felt a heightened sense of hysteria. It wasn’t simply because it was a troublesome sport in opposition to an excellent staff, but in addition as a result of we have been fearful concerning the Kansas Metropolis quarterback. Then because the match went on, extra accidents piled up. Legarius Snead, Cadarius Toney, Willie Jay Jr., Mikul Hardman, JoJo Smith-Schuster, Isiah Pacheco, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith have been among the many Chiefs gamers who have been attacked (or sidelined altogether) throughout Sunday evening’s contest.

Then issues bought worse. Generally, the crime has stopped. The protection gave up two massive video games. And the chiefs turned the ball round. There have been too many obstacles to victory – and fewer and fewer gamers accessible to beat them; There have been instances that six rookies have been on the sector at one time. There have been loads of alternatives for the staff to fall behind – and plenty of excuses that might have been legitimate after a loss.

However in the long run, everybody on the energetic roster—from star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to apply vast receiver Marcus Kemp—made performs when the staff wanted them most. In consequence, the chiefs make one other journey to energy.

For this reason this group just isn’t our normal listing of gainers and losers. Right this moment, there aren’t any losers among the many presidents. All we are able to see are tales of redemption and triumph — the form of issues that legends and films are manufactured from. However Sunday evening, it was all actual — and it was all particular.


AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals - Kansas City Chiefs

Picture by Michael Owens/Getty Pictures

Extensive receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling: We’ve seen the destructive facet of the previous Inexperienced Bay Packers Extensive: The deep shot with no actual likelihood of finishing it. His typically ineffective manufacturing has given him an up and down season. However along with his teammates dropping left and proper on Sunday, Valdez-Scantling put in an enormous efficiency. He led the staff in targets (eight, together with tight finish Travis Kelsey) and yards (116), whereas demonstrating his means to play each vast receiver place. He bought a tremendous drop by visitors that caught Elite Focus. Actually, for this sport, the speedy vast receiver seems to be locked in a manner we’ve not seen all season.

Nook Buck Trent McDuffie: Undersized rookie nook who will tackle Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd on the larger stage? Sure… it is arduous. However McDuffie has as soon as once more proven that he is a top-notch participant – and probably the greatest picks in Kansas Metropolis’s stellar class of 2022. On the Bengals’ first drive, McDuffie snubbed Chase for a possible interception he could not fairly carry up. However he was capable of maintain on to each Cincinnati ball service throughout his path, like a veteran. McDuffie performed powerful protection all evening, ending with six solo tackles (one for loss) and two passes defended. This sport is not too massive (or too quick) for this beginner—and on Sunday, make sure that everybody is aware of it.

Edge Frank Clark: No Chiefs participant takes extra criticism than this eight-year-old veteran — however nobody delivers within the playoffs like he does. The Shark smelled blood within the water in opposition to Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow and his backup offensive line. From the very starting of driving, he went to work on it. Clark completed with 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and a sort out for a loss. He was a powerhouse on this sport, solidifying his legacy as one of many three finest postseason cross rushers in NFL historical past.

Defensive Sort out Chris Jones: It has lengthy been a false impression that the seven-year-old veteran wasn’t capable of make it within the postseason. However on Sunday any questions which will have remained have been answered. Even with all the eye the Bengals have given, Jones was irrevocable—and this time, he confirmed as much as field: 5 quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. No play was larger than his sack on Boro’s final operating again of the season. Jones was a finalist for Defensive Participant of the Yr. If he retains this up, he’ll even be a finalist for Tremendous Bowl MVP — and an enormous new contract.

Placekicker Harrison Butker: It has been a tough season for the longtime Kansas Metropolis professionals. After being injured within the opening week of the season (from a begin on a poor pitch), he struggled to regain the shape that had made him probably the greatest groups within the league. In 2022, he hit profession highs after missed further factors and subject targets, prompting the staff to flirt with different apply squad gamers. However on the descent down the stretch, issues lastly appeared to click on once more. Within the chilly and windy circumstances of the AFC title sport, he was an ideal kicker: two targets for 2 on further factors and three targets for 3 on the sector. With the sport (and season) on the road, Butker drilled the game-winner from 45 yards, placing his staff by to the Tremendous Bowl and silencing any remaining doubters.

the About losers who will redeem themselves later

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals - Kansas City Chiefs

Picture by Kevin C Cox/Getty Pictures

Extensive receiver/returner Skyy Moore: The rookie’s first objective went three yards, the second (and third) he had no likelihood of finishing, the fourth went two yards…properly, you see the sample right here. Moore had seven scores on the evening, yielding solely 13 yards on three catches. He not often appears to be on the identical web page with Mahomes. However with Isiah Pacheco and Kadarius Toney banged out, Moore returned to kick and level returner jobs—the identical innings by which he failed miserably with disastrous turnovers earlier within the season. We held our collective breath when Moore fielded a punt within the third quarter and returned it 25 yards. Sadly, this one was known as again on a penalty kick – however the subsequent objective was not. With 41 seconds left – and the sport tied – Moore pulled it off. His 29-yard punt return arrange the game-winning subject objective — and must be an enormous confidence booster for the child who must be an even bigger a part of the staff’s plans in 2023.

Cornerback Joshua Williams: The Kansas Metropolis protection was formidable on Sunday, holding Boro and its receivers beneath their normal degree of manufacturing. However after they did get their possibilities, it was typically at Williams’ expense. Pressured into motion after veteran Larios Snead was injured, the rookie continued to battle in opposition to the Bengals’ bodily imposing receivers. However when the sport was tied halfway by the fourth quarter, Williamsborough intercepted a ball thrown within the air. It was an enormous play at an vital second. Williams helped stop the Bengals from regaining the momentum they wanted.

Security Brian Cook dinner: The rookie dedicated two very expensive penalties – however then within the fourth quarter, he signaled a Burrows cross into Williams’ palms. He is one other rookie defensive again who has seen his alternative construct up over the previous few weeks – and he is grown with it. For Cook dinner, the longer term is shiny. He’ll even have Sunday’s sport to construct on in 2023.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: The MVP has no twice within the losers listing. He was nice in opposition to the Bengals, passing for 326 yards and two touchdowns on a foul ankle whereas throwing to a severely depleted receiving corps. It was simple to see the damage was excruciating for him as he tried to roll and lunge. However there was a second—nonetheless temporary—when it felt like the whole lot was falling aside. It was a well-recognized level for Kansas Metropolis followers — particularly in opposition to Cincinnati — when a promising efficiency would slide over a cliff. With a minute left within the third quarter, Mahomes once more dropped to cross – however the ball slid vast. It popped into the air and was recovered by Bengal. At that second, I felt just like the season was over; The Bengals went on to attain the sport tying objective. However the protection held by the fourth quarter – after which the offense bought the ball again with 30 seconds left, and there have been just a few passes to get into objective vary. On third and fourth, Mahomes noticed a gap, ran down the sideline in probably the most five-yard scramble you’ll ever see. In some way – on a day when Mahomes may very well be glorious whereas passing the ball on one leg – it was that leg that carried the staff to victory.

Workforce coach Andy Reid: For the subsequent two weeks, all we’ll hear about is what’s subsequent Andy Redbull. The success Massive Purple has had since his days in Philadelphia by his contract in Kansas Metropolis is plain. His affect on this franchise, this metropolis, and the whole NFL is as vital as anybody within the historical past of the league. Amongst his friends, he is called an elite sign communicator who shows creativity that others copy every season. However yearly, he is additionally questioned about his co-play and in-game selections. Getting the ball on the finish of the primary half, Kansas Metropolis had a double likelihood: the Chiefs would get the ball to begin the second half. However the offense shortly fizzled out for a 3 and caught three consecutive incomplete passes, permitting Cincinnati to attain a subject objective. Then because the third quarter started, there have been three extra ineffective runs that includes low proportion run calls. Then—with 2:36 left on fourth-and-eight from Cincinnati’s 37-yard line, Reid elected to play. Once more, viewers thought it was the season finale. The Bengals possible had loads of time to run down the sector for the game-winning rating — whereas Mahomes watched helplessly from the sideline. However Reed’s judgment can be justified: his protection got here up with massive performs to get the ball again. Possibly we must always cease questioning the coach – although it is uncertain we ever will.

Leave a Comment