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Resilient Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs defeat Bengals for third Super Bowl appearance in five seasons

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Last season, the Chiefs had lost to the Bengals in overtime of the AFC Championship Game, and when the Bengals tied Sunday’s game, that kind of end looked to be inevitable. Burrow had been sacked four times in the first half, but the Bengals had adjusted and protected him in the second half, propelling the Bengals’ comeback. But with the ball in his hands and a chance to drive for the winning score, the Bengals sacked Burrow one final time. The resulting punt went to the middle of the field and Skyy Moore returned it to near midfield. Still, when Mahomes threw incomplete with just 21 seconds left and the Chiefs stalled just barely past midfield, another overtime looked to be inevitable.

“Superman put on his cape,” said team owner Clark Hunt.

Indeed. Mahomes, needing 4 yards, raced for 5. Ossai’s shove tacked on another 15.

“The defense got stops for us,” Mahomes said. “I knew I was going to do whatever I could to get us in field-goal range.”

Now, Mahomes has two weeks to heal, as do his receivers. He has won a Super Bowl and then lost one, and last year, the Chiefs missed out on the game entirely, watching as the Bengals supplanted them. The Bengals had been on the cusp of knocking the Chiefs off again and taking over as the AFC’s dominant team. That is over for now. Head coach Zac Taylor was making his way through the Bengals locker room, thanking each of his players for their effort. It was just barely not enough Sunday.

Mahomes knew that feeling last year. And with one good leg, he made sure he would not feel it again this year.

“I won MVP and I won the Super Bowl and I thought that’s how it went,” he said. “Now that I’ve experienced failure, I know how much hard work and daily grind it takes.”

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