The Kansas City Chiefs came into this matchup on an eight-game winning streak and holding onto the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture. On the opposite end, the Cincinnati Bengals are fighting for the AFC North title and looking to solidify a high seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Bengals would come out on top in this game, winning 34-31 and securing the AFC North title. Two young quarterbacks of the future battled for four quarters giving football fans a must-watch game. With the loss, what does it mean for the Kansas City Chiefs?
The Kansas City Chiefs Lose the No. 1 Seed in the AFC
The Chiefs would slip up on the road in Cincinnati, and with the loss, they would fall to the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff standings. The Tennessee Titans would steamroll the Miami Dolphins 34-3. Both the Chiefs and the Titans share an 11-5 record, but Tennessee wins the tiebreaker based on head-to-head win percentage. This allowed the Titans to regain the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, dropping the Chiefs to No. 2. Kansas City would have received a bye week if they held onto the No. 1 seed. KC still holds a very high playoff seed as the regular season ends next week.
The Kansas City Chiefs Struggled on Defense
The Chiefs were able to contain the running game holding Joe Mixon to 12 carries for 46 yards with an average of only 3.8 yards per attempt. Joe Mixon came into the game sitting No. 2 in rushing yardage in the NFL. KC’s defense would struggle to stop the Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase connection as I discussed it in-depth in the Chiefs, Bengals game preview.
Burrow would complete an impressive 30-out-of-39 for 446 yards with an average of 11.4 yards per completion. He would throw four touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase would catch 11-out-of-12 targets for a new rookie record 266 yards in a single game for an average of 24.2 yards per catch. Chase would account for three of Burrow’s four touchdowns. The Chiefs had no answer for Chase or Burrow when it mattered the most.
The Chiefs’ defense could not avoid penalties. The team would accrue ten penalties for 83 yards. The defense was able to sack Burrow four times which resulted in a loss of 31 yards, but they were unable to force any turnovers in the game. KC’s defense struggled to tackle in the open field, and the Bengals took advantage of that with significant yards-after-catch. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens would lead the team with nine total tackles.
The Kansas City Chiefs Would Disappear on Offense
The Chiefs’ offense was clicking in the first half of the game. At one point Kansas City was winning 28-14 and, according to ESPN, had an 88.5% win probability. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to connect with wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and tight end Travis Kelce for touchdowns in the first half. Running back Darrel Williams would also rush for two touchdowns before halftime. The game looked in favor of KC, but that was not the case.
The second half was a completely different story. The Chiefs would score a whopping three points off of a Harrison Butker 34 yard field goal. From an offensive standpoint, it was an embarrassment to see this team lose the grip of the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoff picture. Whether the play-calling sputtered, the team became overconfident, or the Bengals just knew the game plan, this offense disappeared for the remainder of the game.
Patrick Mahomes would finish the day completing 26-out-of-35 attempts throwing 259 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Darrel Williams was the highlight of the offense rushing 14 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards per attempt.
What Is Next for the Kansas City Chiefs?
Kansas City will head to Denver and take on the Broncos for the final game of the regular season. The Chiefs could regain the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC with a win and a Titans loss. The Titans will head to Houston and take on the Texans. The final playoff bracket will be decided at the end of next week.