Bengals defeated in second consecutive AFC Championship appearance

By Sam Vine

Joe Burrow and the Bengals were defeated at Arrowhead Stadium by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs during a controversial AFC Championship game on Sunday, January 29.

The game, which was highly anticipated, was the fourth time that Joe Burrow met Patrick Mahomes on the football field and the second time they met in the AFC Championship. This game resulted in the Chiefs narrowly beating the Bengals by a field goal in the last seconds of the game which marked their first time in this newly formed rivalry. 

Bengals fans are frustrated by many questionable calls late in the game that are causing them to blame the referees for the loss. “I think the refs didn’t look too good on either side, for Kansas City or the Bengals,” said Jeff Jenkins, head football coach at Bellbrook High School. “Overall, I think the Bengals had plenty of chances to put the game away and they just didn’t.”

One of the major controversies revolves around a 3rd down attempt by the Chiefs. The referees didn’t completely stop the play, and Kansas City stopped short of the first down marker. However, the refs awarded Kansas City a second attempt, which they capitalized on, and were allowed to extend their drive.

The drive didn’t result in a touchdown but wasted 1:10 of the game clock, which the Bengals might have been able to use at the end of the game.

The following drive saw Joe Burrow throw away the ball and then get violently shoved to the ground in the pocket on his own 15-yard line. He was called for intentional grounding, although it seemed that the Bengals’ running back, Samaje Perine, was in the area.

Bengals fans were shocked by the call after assuming the gruesome hit on Joe Burrow was going to be called. “According to the new rules,” Jenkins said, “I thought that was probably roughing the passer, and [this call] got away from the refs.”

The Chiefs’ victory was secured when Joseph Assai clearly pushed Patrick Mahomes as he stepped out of bounds in his attempt to scramble to get the first down. Ossai was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which brought the Chiefs 15 yards closer so they could make the field goal possible.

Even on this play, Bengals fans were fuming over a missed offensive holding call on Trey Hendrickson, who would have been able to stop Patrick Mahomes on the line of scrimmage.

“It’s interesting when you talk about officials making judgment calls,” said Ken Moyer, Bellbrook teacher and former Bengals offensive lineman. “You can always argue about it; you never know, and it doesn’t matter because there is no changing it. From what I have seen of the officiating in the NFL, it seems consistent, and sometimes it seems like it’s consistently bad.”

The Bengals’ defeat at the hands of the Chiefs is even harder after a promising previous game where Joe Burrow’s team was able to dominate the Bills in Buffalo during heavy snow.

Even after this heartbreaking loss, the fans still have faith in Joe Burrow and are looking toward what the future may have in store for their franchise.

“I think Joe Burrow is the best quarterback in football, and he’s going to go down as one of the all-time greats,” Jenkins said. “I feel like Joe Burrow has been able to turn a franchise around unlike anything we have seen in the NFL in a very long time. It is only a matter of time before he is winning Super Bowl after Super Bowl.”


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