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Flashback: The 2022 AFC Championship

Relive the game that changed everything.

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Despite having an injury-shortened rookie year in 2020, Bengals QB Joe Burrow managed to take his team to the 2022 AFC Championship, then to Super Bowl LVI, Cincinnati’s first since 1989.

So, let’s recap perhaps one of the best games in Cincinnati history, which would be the 2022 AFC Championship Game.

The big game featured the Cincinnati Bengals against the Kansas City Chiefs, who had won the last two AFC title games and were in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.

The first quarter was a nightmare for Bengals fans since Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was able to secure a touchdown almost instantly.

However, the Bengals were able to respond with a field goal from kicker Evan McPherson. The first quarter ended with a score of 7-3.

The second quarter begins, and the gap widens as things go from bad to worse. Mahomes was able to secure first down after first down, marching the offense up and down the field, and the score quickly became 21-3.

The Bengals offense finally came alive after running back Samaje Perine scored the team’s first touchdown of the game. And after a near-miraculous goal-line stand by the defense on the ensuing Chiefs possession, the score was 21-10 into the half when it could have easily been 28-10.

The third quarter showed a shift in momentum for the Bengals as they built on their strong end to the first half. After getting a field goal, defensive tackle BJ Hill was able to intercept Mahomes, and the Bengals parlayed that into a touchdown after wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase made a spectacular grab in the end zone.

After a successful 2-point attempt, this game was tied 21-21.

The fourth quarter showed the Chiefs falling apart; Mahomes started feeling the pressure of the Bengals pass rush, and Burrow avoided getting sacked on several occasions. For a quarterback who does not typically run a lot, Burrow ran a lot during this game and was able to secure multiple first downs because of this.

Eventually, the Bengals took their first lead of the game at 24-21 thanks to another McPherson field goal.

Following this, the Chiefs were able to march down the field and appeared ready to win the game in regulation. But a defensive stand led to the Chiefs settling for a field goal, making the score 24-24.

Every Bengals fan was on the edge of their seat when overtime began; this was it, this was our shot at something amazing. That is until Eli Apple dropped what could have been the game-winning pick-six, leaving us to wonder if that was the moment the Bengals let this one slip through their fingers.

Then, the miracle happened: A deep shot by Mahomes to Tyreek Hill was batted from Jessie Bates right into the waiting arms of Vonn Bell for the interception.

When McPherson came out, like every other Bengals fan, I clutched my Joe Burrow jersey, hoping that after so long, the Bengals could finally return to the Super Bowl.

And just like that, the Bengals became Super Bowl bound after the field goal by McPherson was good for a 27-24 final!

After coming so close two years in a row to winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl, the hope is the 2023 Cincinnati Bengals will be stronger than ever and ready to hoist the Lombardi Trophy by season’s end.

We have so much to look forward to next season, and below are just a few things.

  • Burrow is set to receive a new contract.
  • Tee Higgins may also get a long-term extension soon.
  • The signing of OT Orlando Brown Jr. (from the Chiefs).
  • The signing of S Nick Scott (from the Rams).
  • The re-signing of LB Germaine Pratt.
  • Retaining defensive coordinator Lou Anrarumo after it looked like he’d become a head coach elsewhere.
  • More prime-time games during this upcoming season (most likely).

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