Chiefs claim AFC West title with win over rival Bengals at home

Chiefs claim AFC West title with win over rival Bengals at home

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The have claimed their eighth straight AFC West division title after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 25-17, at home on Sunday. 

Kansas City moved to 10-6 on the year and currently own the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture. On the other hand, are now 8-8 and their playoff hopes are slim to none heading into the final week of the regular season next Sunday.

This rivalry over the past few years has seen some fantastic offense, and that’s the way this game started with three straight scoring drives.

Rashee Rice of the Kansas City Chiefs runs with the ball during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 31, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. (David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Two of them, though, weren’t for the home team as the Bengals got off to a hot start with Jake Browning remaining under center with Joe Burrow out for the remainder of the season.

Cincinnati got a field goal on the board after killing 8:39 of first-quarter clock, but and the Chiefs’ offense made the best of their first drive after finally getting a chance on the field. 

They went 75 yards on seven plays as Isiah Pacheco caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes across the middle of the end zone to go up 7-3.

However, Browning was quick to respond with a touchdown drive of his own. He found his running back, Joe Mixon, just like Mahomes did with Pacheco – a short red-zone pass that put the Bengals back ahead.

A turning point in the first half came on the ensuing drive for the Chiefs as Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson caught Mahomes on his blind side, forcing the ball out of his throwing hand. Cincy recovered the fumble. 

Browning used that to his advantage and ran in his own touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from one yard out.

From there, Mahomes and the Chiefs weren’t quite able to reach the end zone on their drives. But that’s where veteran kicker Harrison Butker made his impact on this victory.

Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against Nick Bolton of the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter, Dec. 31, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Butker went a perfect 6-for-6 on his field goal attempts, including a 54-yarder, accounting for 18 precious points for Kansas City.

There was a point where Mahomes had less than 100 yards passing in the third quarter, but he would change that thanks to big passes to rookie Rashee Rice, who led the Chiefs with 127 yards on five catches, and Justin Watson.

Mahomes would finish with 245 yards on 21-of-29 passing, with his lone touchdown pass to Pacheco. Speaking of the Rutgers product, the running back had 130 yards on the ground on 18 touches, setting the tone as he seems to always do for the Chiefs.

For the Bengals, Ja’Marr Chase was held to three catches and 41 yards, and it came after some interesting comments to the media where he basically said the Chiefs’ secondary doesn’t have impact players like Jalen Ramsey on the roster.

Patrick Mahomes yells coming out of tunnel

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs runs onto the field before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 31, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Browning was 19 of 33 for 197 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Mixon had 65 rushing yards on 21 carries.

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