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The Kansas City Chiefs return to the Super Bowl

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, Sunday night to advance to Super Bowl LVII.

It will be the Chiefs’ third trip to the Super Bowl in the last four seasons.

In dramatic fashion, and with three seconds left in the game, Harrison Butker kicked a 45-yard field goal to put the Chiefs ahead.

Kansas City was aided in their game-winning drive by an error by the Bengals, when defensive end Joseph Ossai shoved quarterback Patrick Mahomes after he ran out of bounds — an unnecessary roughness penalty. The penalty put the Chiefs within field goal range and Butker converted.

Mahomes showed minimal effect from a high ankle sprain sustained eight days earlier in the Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While the Chiefs opened the game with a pair of field goals for an early lead, the standout unit in the first half was the defense.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones caught his first career postseason sack in his seventh NFL season. It was one of four sacks forced by the Chiefs in the first half.

Jones added his second, and more important sack, on the Bengals’ final possession, which gave the Chiefs another chance to score in regulation.

More importantly, the defense kept the Bengals offense out of the end zone as they built a 13-6 halftime lead. The Chiefs scored their only touchdown of the first half on a 14-yard pass from Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce, when the Chiefs singled to give up their field goal attempt on fourth down.

The Chiefs entered the fourth quarter with a 20-13 lead, following a 19-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Valdez-Scantling at 4:15 of the third quarter.

Cincinnati tied the game, 20-20, just 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Bengals tied the game twice, but never led.

Fans celebrate all over the subway

Outside Arrowhead Stadium, fans of both franchises arrived hours before the game to tailgate in temperatures hovering in the 20-degrees.

“We actually wanted to get here last night but, you know, we didn’t have gas to keep warm the whole time,” said Donnie Smith, whose crew came to the stadium around noon to pitch tents.

Smith was hoping for a Chiefs win before the game. He and his crew had already planned an after party to celebrate the win.

“This town is not a fair-weather town,” said Aga Carpenter, who watched the game from Tanner’s Bar & Grill in Lenexa.

“It’s great to be part of a winning city in Kansas City and it’s great to have such fan support and such a fantastic fan base,” Carpenter said.

Rick Draper and his sons Corbyn and Hoyt, who was celebrating his seventh birthday, traveled to Kansas City from Utah for the game – about 7pm – without any escorts of their own.

“The hospitality here is second to none. So we were fed and taken care of like family,” said Rick Draper. “It was a two-day drive to get here and we wouldn’t miss it for a thing.”

The tone at Overland Park’s Johnny’s Tavern changed during the second half of the game, especially as the Chiefs offense struggled.

A taunting call against Chiefs offensive tackle Andrew Wylie and a third-quarter fumble by Mahomes elicited angry whoops and stunned silence, respectively.

The energy returned in the fourth quarter and fans screamed after Bengals quarterback Joe Burrows was sacked on Cincinnati’s last possession.

After watching the win from a packed Gael’s Public House on Troost Avenue, Melissa Hopkins said she’s ready for the Super Bowl.

“I know the Bengals are a good team, but we did it,” he said.

‘The job isn’t done’

“We had to get this win,” Mahomes said after the win. “We wanted to play with this team and brought them to Arrowhead Stadium. This time we managed to finish the job”.

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Chiefs had lost three consecutive games to the Bengals, a fact picked up on social media by Bengals fans, players and players. even the mayor of Cincinnati.

“I’ve heard a lot of things. I mean, the mayor came to me, man,” Mahomes said at a postgame news conference.

“The job isn’t done,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game, as his team was awarded the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

The Chiefs will now face the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday to secure the NFC berth in the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 12, in Glendale, Arizona.

“This is pretty spectacular,” Reid said of returning to the NFL championship game. “To be able to go back, (it’s) such an honor.”

Each team in that match will have a player named Kelce. It’s the first time in Super Bowl history that two brothers will play against each other: tight end Travis Kelce for the Chiefs and center Jason Kelce for the Eagles.

“Great scenario to be in,” said the Chiefs’ Kelce, who finished the game with seven catches for 78 yards. “My mother can’t lose!”

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