Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs head back to Super Bowl after sinking Bengals

Harrison Butker converted 45-yard game winner to grab 23-20 victory and set up a date with Philadelphia Eagles on February 12

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Kansas City Chiefs are heading to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years after beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 with a field goal three seconds from the end of the AFC Championship game on Sunday.

Harrison Butker converted the 45-yard game winner to grab the victory after Cincinnati – who had won their last 10 games – had threatened another comeback win.

The Chiefs, who had lost their last three meetings with Cincinnati including last year's AFC title game, will now meet the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl in Arizona on February 12.

Patrick Mahomes came into the game still nursing an ankle injury picked up in last week's divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Chiefs quarterback was less mobile than usual and ended the game limping at times, but was still able to deliver the key plays down the stretch and ensure Chiefs coach Andy Reid gets a meeting with his former team Philadelphia in the NFL's championship showpiece.

It was a trademark Mahomes scramble, albeit on a damaged ankle, that led to the decisive field goal.

"At some points in games, you've got to just put it all on the line," Mahomes, who threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, said.

"The defence gave us a couple chances to get in field goal range, we didn't get there. The defence got another stop for us and I knew I was going to get there somehow," he added.

After a Kansas City field goal opened the scoring, it was the Chiefs defence that made the first big impact on the game with three successive sacks of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Chiefs thought they had a touchdown early in the second quarter, but Isiah Pacheco's nine-yard rush was ruled out for holding and the resulting 10-yard penalty led to the Chiefs' having to settle for another field goal.

After a Bengals field goal, the Chiefs produced a touchdown from the familiar connection between Mahomes and Travis Kelce, with the quarterback rolling right and finding his tight end with a 14-yard pass.

The Bengals pushed into the red zone with an impressive drive at the end of the half, but the Chiefs defence held firm and forced another field goal, sending Kansas City in at the break with a 13-6 lead.

The Cincinnati offence sprung into life after the interval and tied up the score when Burrow went deep with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling then kept a Chiefs drive alive with a smart reach-out for a first down and the receiver finished off the 11-play, 77-yard drive, collecting a 19-yard pass down the middle from Mahomes.

But again the Bengals struck back.

Mahomes let the ball slip out of his hand while in his throwing motion and Sam Hubbard recovered the ball for the turnover. On the resulting possession, Burrow led the Bengals down the field on a drive that featured a 35-yard pass to Ja'marr Chase and Samaje Perine rushed up the middle for a two-yard touchdown to make it 20-20.

The Chiefs got the ball for the final time with 30 seconds left and with the pressure on, at third and four, Mahomes used his legs to make first down but after he ran out of bounds he was barged to the ground by Joseph Ossai.

The resulting 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness took the Chiefs within field goal distance and Butker did the rest.

Updated: January 30, 2023, 7:48 AM