Bengals vs. Chiefs score, analysis: Everything to know from Cincinnati's come-from-behind win

The road to Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles is almost complete.

The Cincinnati Bengals stunned the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs by rallying down from 18 points to force overtime, where they triumphed on a 33-yard Evan McPherson field goal.

The Bengals now head to the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years.

Cincinnati trailed 21-3 late in the second quarter, but a Joe Burrow touchdown to Samaje Perine cut the lead, and the Bengals stonewalled the Chiefs to end the first half. In the second half, Cincinnati's defense buckled down on Patrick Mahomes, holding him without a score after he threw three in the first two quarters.

The Bengals lost the coin flip, but Vonn Bell's interception off a Jessie Bates III deflection gave Cincinnati the ball with the opportunity to score.

"Usually when you lose a coin flip to those guys, you're going home," Burrow said.

After going 42 yards in nine plays, the Bengals set up the winning kick.

Relive all the action below:

Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals motions to go for two points after scoring against the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bengals-Chiefs score: Cincinnati stuns Kansas City with 27-24 win in overtime

The Bengals' comeback is complete.

After rallying from down 18 points to force overtime, Cincinnati beat the two-time defending AFC champions on Evan McPherson's 33-yard field goal.

The Bengals now head to their first Super Bowl in 33 years and will face the winner of the NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals secure interception in OT

Well, maybe we'll go one week without an overtime rules debate.

The Bengals lost the coin flip but came up with a huge interception of Patrick Mahomes on the opening drive of the extra period.

Jessie Bates III deflected a pass that Vonn Bell secured.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Tied at 24-24 headed to overtime

The Chiefs are in another thriller and headed to overtime.

Kansas City looked to be winding up for a knockout punch after Travis Kelce helped convert two crucial first downs. But the Bengals then notched two critical sacks of Patrick Mahomes on second-and-goal and third-and-goal.

Harrison Butker then kicked a 44-yard field goal to even it up and send the game to overtime.

And let the debate over the NFL's overtime rules reignite.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Cincinnati 24-21 with 6:04 left in fourth quarter

For the first time all day, the Bengals have the lead.

Joe Burrow's incredible escape act on third down helped key an 11-play, 46-yard drive. The Chiefs denied the Bengals on third down, but Evan McPherson nailed a 52-yard field goal for the lead.

Does Patrick Mahomes have more fourth-quarter magic in him?

Bengals hold firm

Cincinnati's defense has buckled down.

The Bengals gave no breathing room to the Chiefs after L'Jarius Sneed's interception, as Trey Hendrickson's sack (and Sam Hubbard's pressure) forced Kansas City to give the ball back.

Cincinnati has now gotten stops on its last six defensive series.

L'Jarius Sneed comes up with huge interception

In their moment of need, the Chiefs got a huge play from their defense.

Following a three-and-out from Kansas City's offense, Chiefs defensive back L'Jarius Sneed matched up with Ja'Marr Chase and made a great catch on an underthrown Joe Burrow pass to snag an interception.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Tied at 21-21 with 0:14 left in the third quarter

Do we have another down-to-the-wire playoff game?

After B.J. Hill's interception, the Bengals turned to their star target in Ja'Marr Chase. The record-setting rookie hauled in a 17-yard catch and then 2-yard touchdown reception.

Joe Burrow then found the two-point conversion to tie the game.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Chiefs turnover provides major swing

Cincinnati got the game-changing play it needed in the form of a Kansas City turnover.

Patrick Mahomes' pass was deflected by defensive tackle B.J. Hill, who then hauled in the pick to set up the Bengals at the 26-yard line.

Bengals-Chiefs score: Kansas City 21-13 with 2:58 left in third quarter

Cincinnati was on the precipice of making a major statement, but Kansas City held firm.

After Ja'Marr Chase hauled in a 22-yard catch and later drew a penalty, the Bengals got into the red zone and looked to be in promising position. But Melvin Ingram stepped up for the Chiefs by recording a sack of Joe Burrow on first down and then deflecting his pass on the next play. Samaje Perine was stopped on third down, and Evan McPherson converted a 31-yard field goal.

McPherson is now 10-for-10 in his first postseason.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Chiefs offense hitting a road block?

After scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions of the game, the Chiefs have now been stopped on their following three series.

Patrick Mahomes was able to net just one first down before firing incomplete passes on second and third downs, leaving Tommy Townsend to punt again.

The Bengals took over at their own 35-yard line.

Bengals can't capitalize on opportunity

Cincinnati looked to have things break its way to start the second half.

After forcing the first Chiefs punt of the game, the Bengals managed to connect on a 44-yard throw to Tee Higgins.

But Cincinnati stalled from there, with two of Joe Burrow's passes falling incomplete. A subsequent punt set up Kansas City inside its own 10.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs halftime stats

Patrick Mahomes has completed 18 of 21 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns, while Joe Burrow has managed just 101 yards and one score on 10-of-18 passing.

Joe Mixon has 40 yards on eight carries but has largely been stuffed outside of a 23-yard run and 12-yard scamper.

Tyreek Hill has seven catches for 78 yards and a score, while Travis Kelce has five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.

The Chiefs have 292 total yards and are averaging 8.8 yards per play, while the Bengals have 152 yards, good for 5.4 yards per play.

Bengals-Chiefs score: Chiefs 21-10 at halftime

Kansas City looked to be on the verge of another touchdown before a costly, half-ending blunder.

Tyreek Hill drew a penalty against Eli Apple that set up Kansas City with the ball at the Bengals' 1-yard line with 9 seconds remaining in the half. But after a first-down incompletion, Patrick Mahomes threw to Hill behind the line of scrimmage, and Apple tackled the speedy wide receiver as the clock ran out. 

Kansas City will get the ball to start the second half.

Bengals-Chiefs score: Kansas City 21-10 with 1:05 remaining in second quarter

Cincinnati found a way to get back in the game.

Facing a second-and-12 with less than two minutes remaining, the Bengals ran a screen to Samaje Perine, who scampered 41 yards for the touchdown.

The play was the longest of the day for Cincinnati.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Kansas City 21-3 with 5:04 remaining in second quarter

The Chiefs are making it look easy against the Bengals.

Patrick Mahomes once again marched Kansas City down the field, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire breaking a few key runs. On first-and-goal from the Bengals' 3-yard line, Mahomes flicked the ball to Mecole Hardman for an easy score.

Mahomes has thrown for three touchdowns with 154 yards on 13-of-14 passing.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals offense off-kilter

The Bengals might be at risk of letting this game get away from them. 

Kansas City's defense forced another punt after allowing one first down via a 12-yard Joe Mixon run.

Joe Burrow has missed on his last five throws, and pressure continues to be a problem. The right side of the offensive line is once again letting up, with Chris Jones getting pressure on third down and forcing a checkdown to running backSamaje Perine, which fell incomplete.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Kansas City 14-3 with 12:14 remaining in second quarter

The Chiefs are confounding the Bengals' defense early.

After starting off the second drive with a 31-yard connection to Mecole Hardman, Patrick Mahomes pulled out a bit more of his patented magic. On third-and-2 from the Bengals' 5-yard line, Mahomes twirled around in the pocket to evade the rush, rolled right and found Travis Kelce for a touchdown.

Kansas City now has scored on six straight possessions dating back to its game against the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Kansas City 7-3 with 0:36 remaining in first quarter

Cincinnati answered Kansas City back with a long march of its own, but the Bengals had to settle for a field goal.

The Bengals went 61 yards on 14 plays and had a chance to hit Ja'Marr Chase in the end zone, but the Chiefs broke up the attempted connection. 

Evan McPherson then kicked the 32-yard field goal.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah injured

Cincinnati lost one of its key targets on its second drive when tight end C.J. Uzomah hobbled off with a left knee injur

Uzomah tied for the team lead last week with seven catches and was expected to play an integral role for Cincinnati. 

Ja'Marr Chase has drawn double coverage early and often, and the Bengals have looked to emphasize the intermediate game with Uzomah and slot target Tyler Boyd.

Uzomah was later carted off to the locker room and ruled doubtful to return.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Bengals-Chiefs score: Kansas City 7-0 with 7:17 remaining in first quarter

Patrick Mahomes had little trouble marching the Chiefs down the field for a score on the team's first drive.

Kansas City went 84 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill in the back right corner of the end zone.

Mahomes went to Hill often out of the gates, connecting on all three of their targets for 24 yards and the score.

It marked the first time in Mahomes' postseason career that he threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Three-and-out for Bengals on first possession

Score one for Kansas City's defense. 

The Chiefs held the Bengals to a three-and-out on the opening series of the game. On third-and-5, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. broke up a pass intended for tight end C.J. Uzomah. 

Not a bad start for a group that allowed Joe Burrow to pass for 446 yards the previous meeting.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Weather forecast for Bengals-Chiefs

It should be smooth sailing for the AFC championship game, as the weather forecast calls for it to be 44 degrees and sunny throughout Sunday's game.

Winds are expected to be mild, with little effect likely on the kicking game.

Chiefs, Bengals inactives

Tyrann Mathieu appears good to go.

The Chiefs' three-time Pro Bowl safety was not among the team's inactives for Sunday's AFC championship game against the Bengals. Kansas City's inactives included QB Shane Buechele, CB DeAndre Baker, RB Derrick Gore, DE Joshua Kaindoh, OT Prince Tega Wanogho and DT Khalen Saunders.

The Bengals' inactives are DE Cam Sample, DT Josh Tupou, CB Vernon Hargreaves, WR Stanley Morgan, WR Trenton Irwin, HB Trayveon Williams and OL Fred Johnson.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Previewing the AFC championship game matchup

Do the Bengals have another upset in them? 

One week after stunning the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati might face its toughest task yet in topping Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs for a second time this year. 

The Chiefs were a unanimous pick among USA TODAY Sports' staff to win the conference title on Sunday, but there might be hope for the Bengals to pull off another stunner.

Among the keys for the Bengals: Protect Joe Burrow, who was sacked nine times in the divisional round. 

For more on the matchup and what to watch, check out the Cincinnati Enquirer's full breakdown of the keys to the game.

How the Chiefs got here

Kansas City's 42-36 divisional-round win over the Buffalo Bills was so entertaining it just has to be relived (except for Bills fans).

An instant classic culminated with 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation, as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen put on a quarterback duel for the ages.

With 13 seconds left, Mahomes managed to save Kansas City's season by push the Chiefs downfield to set up a 49-yard Harrison Butker field goal forcing overtime, where the quarterback then dealt his team to victory with an 8-yard scoring pass to Travis Kelce.

Was it the best playoff game of all time? USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis ranked the 22 greatest postseason contests in NFL history, and Bills-Chiefs ranked very close to the top.

It also sparked a wider conversation about the NFL's overtime rules and whether they are fair.

The contest marked a distinct change of pace from the No. 2 seed's 42-21 wild-card win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, which proved to be Ben Roethlisberger's career finale.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

How the Bengals got here

Few expected fourth-seeded Cincinnati make it this far.

After all, it took a last-minute stand for the Bengals to end a 31-year playoff drought and beat the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19

But Cincinnati turned heads with its divisional-round win over the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans, even though rookie kicker Evan McPherson needed to hit a 52-yard field goal as time expired to notch the victory. For McPherson, there was no doubt about whether the kick would be good.

Now on Sunday, Burrow and the Bengals have yet another opportunity to shed their "underdog" label.

- Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz