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

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

Going into this all of us felt a heightened sense of hysteria. It wasn’t simply because it was a troublesome sport towards an excellent crew, but additionally 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 night time’s contest.

Then issues bought worse. Typically, 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 obtainable to beat them; There have been instances that six rookies have been on the sphere at one time. There have been loads of alternatives for the crew to fall behind – and lots of excuses that may have been legitimate after a loss.

However ultimately, everybody on the energetic roster—from star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to follow broad receiver Marcus Kemp—made performs when the crew wanted them most. In consequence, the chiefs make one other journey to energy.

That is why this group is just not our standard checklist of gainers and losers. At this time, there are not any losers among the many presidents. All we will see are tales of redemption and triumph — the form of issues that legends and flicks are product of. However Sunday night time, it was all actual — and it was all particular.


AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals - Kansas City Chiefs

Picture by Michael Owens/Getty Pictures

Huge receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling: We’ve got seen the adverse facet of the previous Inexperienced Bay Packers Huge: The deep shot with no actual probability of finishing it. His usually 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 crew in targets (eight, together with tight finish Travis Kelsey) and yards (116), whereas demonstrating his capability to play each broad receiver place. He bought a tremendous drop by means of visitors that caught Elite Focus. The truth is, for this sport, the speedy broad receiver seems to be locked in a method we have 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 deliver up. However he was in a position to maintain on to each Cincinnati ball provider throughout his path, like a veteran. McDuffie performed robust protection all night time, 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, be certain 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 towards 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 move 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 in a position to make it within the postseason. However on Sunday any questions that 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 additional factors and area targets, prompting the crew to flirt with different follow squad gamers. However on the descent down the stretch, issues lastly appeared to click on once more. Within the chilly and windy situations of the AFC title sport, he was an ideal kicker: two targets for 2 on additional factors and three targets for 3 on the sphere. With the sport (and season) on the road, Butker drilled the game-winner from 45 yards, placing his crew by means of 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

Huge receiver/returner Skyy Moore: The rookie’s first objective went three yards, the second (and third) he had no probability of finishing, the fourth went two yards…properly, you see the sample right here. Moore had seven scores on the night time, yielding solely 13 yards on three catches. He hardly ever 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 during 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 area objective — and needs to be an enormous confidence booster for the child who needs to be a much bigger a part of the crew’s plans in 2023.

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

Security Brian Prepare dinner: The rookie dedicated two very expensive penalties – however then within the fourth quarter, he signaled a Burrows move 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 Prepare dinner, the long run is vivid. He’ll even have Sunday’s sport to construct on in 2023.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: The MVP has no twice within the losers checklist. He was nice towards 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—nevertheless transient—when it felt like every part was falling aside. It was a well-known level for Kansas Metropolis followers — particularly towards Cincinnati — when a promising efficiency would slide over a cliff. With a minute left within the third quarter, Mahomes once more dropped to move – however the ball slid broad. 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 means of 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 essentially the most five-yard scramble you’ll ever see. One way or the other – on a day when Mahomes might be wonderful whereas passing the ball on one leg – it was that leg that carried the crew to victory.

Workforce coach Andy Reid: For the following two weeks, all we’ll hear about is what’s subsequent Andy Redbull. The success Massive Crimson has had since his days in Philadelphia by means of his contract in Kansas Metropolis is simple. His impression on this franchise, this metropolis, and your entire NFL is as important as anybody within the historical past of the league. Amongst his friends, he is named 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 probability: 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 area 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 doubtless had loads of time to run down the sphere 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 should always cease questioning the coach – although it is uncertain we ever will.

Leave a Comment