In the NFL’s most hyped-up matchup of the Week 17 slate, the battle between AFC playoff contenders didn’t disappoint. With the score tied at 31-31, the Cincinnati Bengals drove 79 yards on 15 plays, taking up the remaining six minutes of game time to ultimately kick the game-winning field goal to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 34-31. The Chiefs’ loss took them out of the AFC’s top seed.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished with 26 completions on 35 attempts, totaling 259 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. On the ground, running back Darrel Williams led the team with 88 yards on 14 carries — and scored twice. For the Chiefs’ defense, defensive tackle Chris Jones earned two sacks — while defensive linemen Frank Clark and Jarran Reed each added one as well.
The Bengals won the opening coin toss, deferring to the second half. On their opening drive, the Chiefs quickly got into a third-and-2, but couldn’t convert it with an inside handoff to running back Darrel Williams. They punted to the Bengals’ 23-yard line.
Kansas City’s defense made a statement with their first play; defensive end Frank Clark beat a tight end in pass protection to earn a sack. From there, the Bengals got into third-and-5 — where a blitzing Tyrann Mathieu missed quarterback Joe Burrow, who completed a pass just short of the sticks. The Bengals proceeded to punt.
From their own 28-yard line, the Chiefs started with tight end Travis Kelce earning a 32-yard defensive pass-interference flag to get into Bengals’ territory. They ran into a fourth-and-1, but converted with tight end Blake Bell’s pre-snap motion into a quarterback sneak. On the next play, Mahomes found wide receiver Demarcus Robinson on a deep post to take an early 7-0 lead.
The Bengals looked to respond, starting with a 13-yard run by running back Joe Mixon. However, a sack by defensive tackle Chris Jones set them back on the next play — then a hurried throw on third-and-17 led to a completion short of the sticks. The Chiefs’ defense had forced punts on the first two possessions.
The Chiefs gained chunks of yards through the air on the next drive, gaining 17 yards with Hill on one play then 24 yards to Blake Bell on another. To get to the two-yard line, running back Derrick Gore broke through an open run lane for 23 yards. On third-and-goal, Mahomes found Kelce to extend the score to 14-0.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Burrow found wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase on an intermediate route — and he avoided a handful of Chiefs defenders to go 72 yards for a touchdown.
Still leading 14-7, the Chiefs opened the second quarter with a 53-yard completion to wide receiver Mecole Hardman on a deep corner route. A few plays later, the Chiefs punched in a touchdown with a run from Williams, extending the score to 21-7.
Cincinnati began to answer with good gains through the air and on the ground — advancing into Chiefs’ territory with a quick completion to Mixon. A third-down pass break up was negated by defensive-pass interference by cornerback Rashad Fenton, which was followed by a 17-yard gain by Tyler Boyd to get into the red zone. From there, Burrow trusted Chase to win a jump ball over cornerback Charvarius Ward — and he did. It took the score to 21-14.
The Chiefs responded with yet another touchdown drive, this time taking nine plays and 73 yards. Highlights included big gains on the ground by Williams, then a reaching grab by Byron Pringle to gain 27 yards. A few positive plays later, Williams capped his big drive with his second touchdown of the day — making the score 28-14.
With two minutes remaining, the Bengals drove into Chiefs’ territory in a good rhythm — but eventually got stopped on a third-down incompletion forced by pressure from defensive end Alex Okafor. Cincinnati settled for a field goal, closing the score to 28-17.
With less than a minute left in the half, the Chiefs appeared to score a touchdown on a kickoff return by Byron Pringle — but a holding penalty brought it back. Still looking to score, Mahomes attemped a pass thrown more than 60 yards in the air to Hill downfield. The wideout got his hands on it over the defender — but the pass was knocked away as he came down. After a run on the next play, the Chiefs went to the locker room with a 28-17 lead
To open the third quarter, the Bengals only took three plays — the third one being a 69-yard touchdown reception to Chase, following a blown coverage by safety Dan Sorensen. It brought the score to 28-24.
In response, the Chiefs gained a first down as they threatened towards midfield; yet, a drop by Kelce on second down was followed by an incompletion on third down. That led to a punt.
From their own 24-yard line, the Bengals began their drive with a quick first down — but then fell into a third-and-7 that they failed to convert. On fourth-and-1, a quick pass to wide receiver Tee Higgins gained 17 yards and set them up in Chiefs’ territory. Two plays later, a defensive tackle Jarran Reed got a sack on third-and-9; Chris Jones helped set up the playe.
After a Bengals punt to the Kansas City 21-yard line, the Chiefs got a good drive going with Williams once again churning out yards on the ground with runs of 11 and 19 yards over a span of three plays. However, a holding penalty on right tackle Andrew Wylie negated a third-down conversion — and the Chiefs failed to convert their next attempt. They punted from Cincinnati territory.
From the 14-yard line, the Bengals gained seven yards to get into a third-and-3 as the third quarter ended.
To begin the final period, Cincinnati converted the third down via defensive pass-interference flag on cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. The following snap, Burrow found Higgins for a deep pass that gained 39 yards. A few plays later, a horse-collar tackle by Sneed led to an automatic first down — and then a touchdown to Boyd. The Bengals took 31-28 lead.
With ten minutes remaining, the Chiefs got a quick first down with a good catch by wide receiver Josh Gordon — then found their way across midfield with a quick conversion to Hill. Another big gain to Hill got them in better scoring position, but they couldn’t take advantage; a blitz on third down forced an incompletion — and the Chiefs settled for a game-tying field goal.
At 31-31, the Bengals started from their own 25-yard line — getting over midfield with yet another huge pass to Chase. A penalty set them back — and then a Chris Jones sack pushed them even further back. However, a risky blitz on third-and-27 allowed Chase to make another big catch over Charvarius Ward to move the sticks. At the two-minute warning, the Bengals were threatening inside the five-yard line with first-and-goal.
On three consecutive plays, the Bengals attempted a rush up the middle — but each one failed. As the Chiefs used all of their timeouts, the clock got just under a minute as the Bengals faced fourth-and-goal.
A defensive penalty set up a first-and-goal, which the Bengals used to drain the clock and kick a game-winning field goal to win 34-31.
Just before the game, it was announced that left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. would be questionable to play with a calf designation.
On the Chiefs’ second possession, left tackle Lucas Niang — the usual starter at right tackle — suffered a knee injury that required to cart to come out. In his absence, starting left guard Joe Thuney shifted to left tackle, and Nick Allegretti substituted in at left guard.
Right before halftime, kick returner Byron Pringle returned a kick 89 yards for a touchdown — but a holding penalty on rookie reserve safety Zayne Anderson brought it back. For the game, Pringle averaged 24 yards on four returns.
Kicker Harrison Butker converted all four of his point-after attempts. Late in the fourth quarter, he succeeded on a 34-yard attempt to tie the score at 31.
On a punt return midway through the third quarter, it appeared the Chiefs tried to fool the Bengals’ punt team with misdirection — but it nearly ended in Demarus Robinson muffing the punt.