Joe Burrow, Bengals Upset Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs on Late FG to Clinch Playoff Berth

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 2, 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JANUARY 02: Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball in for a touchdown on a 69-yard pass over Juan Thornhill #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have clinched their first playoff berth since 2015 with a dramatic 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ja'Marr Chase was simply unstoppable with 266 receiving yards and three touchdowns Sunday's Week 17 battle at Paul Brown Stadium that helped the Bengals (10-6) clinch the AFC North title in the process.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Ja'Marr Chase is the youngest player in NFL history with 200 rec yds &amp; 3 rec TD in a single game.<br><br>The only other 21 year olds all-time with at least 150 rec yds &amp; 3 rec TD in a single game are Randy Moss (1998) &amp; Jerry Butler (1979). <a href="https://t.co/VmoqG088XJ">pic.twitter.com/VmoqG088XJ</a>

After 59 minutes of back-and-forth play, the game came down a goal-line sequence in the final minute. Cincinnati was stopped at the 1-yard line on three straight plays before coach Zac Taylor made the bold decision to go for it on fourth down. He was rewarded for the aggressiveness when the Chiefs were called for a penalty.

Joe Burrow got hurt on the play and that creates question marks going forward, but the first down allowed the Bengals to set up the game-winning field goal by Evan McPherson as time expired.


THE <a href="https://twitter.com/Bengals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BENGALS</a> WIN AND CLINCH THE AFC NORTH. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RuleTheJungle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RuleTheJungle</a> <a href="https://t.co/juefboUD0p">pic.twitter.com/juefboUD0p</a>

The loss snaps an eight-game winning streak for the Chiefs (11-5), who were trying to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes finished with two passing touchdowns in the team's first loss since October.

Cincinnati has won three straight and earned the opportunity to rest players in Week 18 if it chooses.

Notable Performances

Joe Burrow, QB, CIN: 30-of-39, 446 passing yards, four TDs

Ja'Marr Chase, WR, CIN: 11 catches, 266 receiving yards, three TDs

Tyler Boyd, WR, CIN: four catches, 36 receiving yards, one TD

Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC: 26-of-35, 259 passing yards, two TDs

Darrel Williams, RB, KC: 14 carries, 88 rushing yards, two TDs

Travis Kelce, TE, KC: five catches, 25 receiving yards, one TD

Chase Makes Rookie of the Year Bid with Career Day

While Chase has had some big games during his first season, he was truly at his best in Week 17.

The LSU product showcased his skill set with two impressive touchdowns in the first half:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

JA’MARR CHASE IS SPEED <br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<br> <a href="https://t.co/583zuY4JiD">pic.twitter.com/583zuY4JiD</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Ja’Marr Chase is just ridiculous 😳<br><br>He hauls in his 2nd TD of the day<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<br> <a href="https://t.co/fK9p1X0H2v">pic.twitter.com/fK9p1X0H2v</a>

Chase had 111 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but he wasn't even close to being finished.

The wideout cut into the deficit in the third quarter with another long touchdown:


JA'MARR CHASE FOR THE THIRD TIME.<br><br>6 CATCHES. 180 YARDS. 3 TDS.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsCIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsCIN</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/5FLDyZuASN">pic.twitter.com/5FLDyZuASN</a>

With the game on the line, Chase made a few more clutch catches to set up the go-ahead field goal.

Cincinnati Bengals @Bengals

266 yards on the DEY for Ja'Marr. That's a team record for receiving yards in a game. <br><br>Watch on CBS <a href="https://t.co/s7clFfPQEY">pic.twitter.com/s7clFfPQEY</a>

The No. 5 overall draft pick in last year's draft, who entered the game with 1,163 receiving yards, certainly got the attention of those watching along:

Ryan Clark @Realrclark25

Ja’Marr Chase is the best player on the field not names Patrick Mahomes in Cincy right now. He’s taking over

Darius Butler @DariusJButler

Jamarr Chase is DIFFERENT!

Danny Heifetz @Danny_Heifetz

Chase's first TD was full-court transition layup dribbling through 5 defenders and the second TD was an alley oop slam dunk. Good at so many different things. He's ridiculous.

shannon sharpe @ShannonSharpe

Jamar Chase is RIDICULOUS

Dez Bryant @DezBryant

I love to see it Ja’Marr chase…

Dan Hanzus @DanHanzus

Ja'Marr Chase is delivering one of the best WR games ever.

While the Chiefs offense raised the bar early on, Chase almost single-handedly kept the Bengals in the game before helping pull away for the win.

The production should make the receiver a top contender for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, even with Mac Jones playing well for the New England Patriots. If he keeps it going, Chase could have an argument as the best receiver in the NFL at any age.

KC Offense Slows After Hot Start

The Chiefs looked like nothing would slow them down offensively based on how they played in the first half.

Mahomes got the Chiefs on the board quickly with a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Pat Mahomes throws a strike into the endzone ⚡️<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>) <a href="https://t.co/VVvlyFNW7S">pic.twitter.com/VVvlyFNW7S</a>


Mahomes to Kelce!<br><br>That's two TDs in the first quarter for <a href="https://twitter.com/PatrickMahomes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PatrickMahomes</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsCIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsCIN</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/bOvwKzaT3d">pic.twitter.com/bOvwKzaT3d</a>

The passing attack continued to roll with Mahomes getting a lot of players involved.


This throw was a beauty. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PatrickMahomes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@patrickmahomes</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsCIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsCIN</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/r0PQ91b8sm">pic.twitter.com/r0PQ91b8sm</a>

Ron Kopp Jr. @Ron_Kopp

First half thoughts:<br><br>This offense is in a dangerously good rhythm, from the run game to the pass game. <br><br>RBs gaining 7.8 YPC on 9 carries , while Mahomes is averaging 9.5 Y/A. No sacks. <br><br>8 different receivers have earned a reception

Kent Swanson @kent_swanson

Mahomes is on another planet today

Darrel Williams did his part to finish drives with two short rushing touchdowns:


Darrel Williams powers in to give the <a href="https://twitter.com/Chiefs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Chiefs</a> a 21-7 lead! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsCIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsCIN</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/bIOiHro5vX">pic.twitter.com/bIOiHro5vX</a>


Darrel Williams' second TD of the half!<br><br>Four straight TD drives for the <a href="https://twitter.com/Chiefs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Chiefs</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsCIN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsCIN</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/h0clUS7cse">pic.twitter.com/h0clUS7cse</a>

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out with a shoulder injury, Williams picked up the slack with some hard running inside.

Things weren't as smooth after halftime, however, scoring just three more points in the eventual loss.

The Chiefs had only three possessions in the second half as the Bengals controlled possession, and the visiting team definitely didn't make those opportunities count with two punts and a field goal. 

While it's difficult to blame an offense after scoring 31 points, Mahomes didn't keep the pressure on as the Bengals got back in the game. With Burrow and a high-powered passing attack on the other sideline, this ended up being costly.

What's Next?

Both teams will close their season on the road against opponents still fighting for a playoff spot. The Chiefs will face the Denver Broncos, while the Bengals will visit the in-state rival Cleveland Browns.