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Patrick Mahomes on Chiefs Blowing 21-3 Lead to Bengals: 'You Can't Lose It'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 31, 2022

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) walks off the field at the end of the AFC championship NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. The Bengals won 27-24 overtime. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
AP Photo/Ed Zurga

Patrick Mahomes assumed a level of responsibility after the Kansas City Chiefs threw away an 18-point lead en route to losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

"When you're up 21-3 in a game, you can't lose it, and I put that on myself," Mahomes told reporters.

Patrick Mahomes II @PatrickMahomes

Love y’all <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a>. This one hurts but we will be back! See y’all next year!

Kansas City was riding high heading into halftime after Mahomes threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns through the first half. However, the Bengals successfully grounded the Chiefs' aerial attack in the second half.

Mahomes also had a pair of costly turnovers.

An interception by B.J. Hill gave Cincinnati a short field in the third quarter to set up a game-tying touchdown reception by Ja'Marr Chase and two-point conversion. In overtime, Vonn Bell's interception was the decisive moment as the Bengals got into position for Evan McPherson's game-winning field goal.

Cincinnati Bengals @Bengals

RING THAT BELL! <br><br>Watch on CBS <a href="https://t.co/dDZVDGwW3i">pic.twitter.com/dDZVDGwW3i</a>

Mahomes also said he "got greedy" on the final play of the first half. He dumped the ball off to Tyreek Hill, who was unable to find the end zone as time expired. As a result, Kansas City left three points on the board.

NFL @NFL

What a stop by the <a href="https://twitter.com/Bengals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Bengals</a> defense to end the half! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RuleTheJungle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RuleTheJungle</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CINvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CINvsKC</a> on CBS<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/dKNUFkxkbU">https://t.co/dKNUFkxkbU</a> <a href="https://t.co/Rxtmq9cnBt">pic.twitter.com/Rxtmq9cnBt</a>

Head coach Andy Reid owned up to his role in that sequence.

"I was hoping we could get the ball in the end zone," he told reporters. "I probably gave him the wrong play first of all. I could've given him something better than that."

Apportioning blame is inevitable after a team loses in the playoffs, and Kansas City's collapse will invite even more second-guessing. Much of the Chiefs' problems boiled down to the fact that they didn't have much of a counter when the Bengals dropped more defenders back in pass coverage in the second half.

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bengals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bengals</a> dropped 8+ defenders in coverage on a season-high 35% of pass plays.<br><br>Patrick Mahomes struggled against 8+ defenders in coverage, completing just 7 of 13 passes for 59 yards &amp; an INT with 2 sacks (-14.4 pass EPA, career-low).<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CINvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CINvsKC</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RuleTheJungle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RuleTheJungle</a> <a href="https://t.co/oGWhaVWx6z">pic.twitter.com/oGWhaVWx6z</a>

Reid's advice to Mahomes in the AFC Divisional Round about how "when it's grim, be the Grim Reaper" is an all-time great quote, and it summed up the general sentiment about how you don't bet against the 2018 MVP in the big moment.

Sunday was a reminder of the fallibility of even historically great players.