CINCINNATI — In a rivalry defined by two extraordinary quarterbacks, the Bengals defense came through again when it mattered most.
Germaine Pratt had a game-changing forced fumble and recovery of a Travis Kelce reception and Joseph Ossai reached out and tripped up Patrick Mahomes for a sack as the Bengals rallied in the fourth quarter for a 27-24 heart-pounding win before 66,243 at Paycor Stadium.
Chris Evans caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow with under nine minutes left for the go-ahead score. Samaje Perine finished with 106 yards on 21 carries while Burrow completed 25-of-31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
More remarkable, the Bengals held Mahomes to 16-of-27 for 223 yards. The Bengals gave up one 42-yard completion to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and eight other plays of double figures but still managed to hold the Chiefs to 24 points and end their five-game winning streak.
The win extends the Bengals win streak to four games and keeps them tied with the 8-4 Ravens atop the AFC North.
The Ja'Marr Chase difference. @Real10jayy__
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Ja’Marr Chase returned to action and caught seven passes on eight targets for 97 yards.
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There was drama beginning with the presentation of the game captains for the coin toss. The Bengals sent out Vonn Bell, DJ Reader and Sam Hubbard as game captains. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Carlos Dunlap (wearing No. 8) and Noah Gray were sent out by head coach Andy Reid for the Chiefs.
Dunlap spent time signing autographs for fans pregame holding old Dunlap Bengals jerseys in the north end zone. The defensive end spent his first ten years in Cincinnati before his trade to Seattle in the 2020 season. Smith-Schuster was the Steelers receiver drilled by Bell in the Monday night game in Dec. 2020.
Dunlap called heads and it was tails and the Bengals took immediate advantage.
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Joe Burrow engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive, consuming over six minutes of the first quarter clock. The drive featured five runs, including two by Burrow. His second run was for four yards on a designed run to cap off the drive with a touchdown. The touchdown was Burrow’s fifth rushing this season, matching Jack Thompson’s franchise record set in his rookie season of 1979.
After allowing just a field goal on Kansas City’s first drive, the Bengals answered with another clutch drive. They marched 74 yards in nine plays, capped by a 12-yard in-cut route from Burrow to Tee Higgins, who caught the ball at the 4 and fought he way across the goal line.
After the play, Ja’Marr Chase got caught up in the emotion too much and took an unsportsmanlike conduct call for taunting Justin Reid with the “making it rain” gesture in his face several times. It was Reid who said the Chiefs were going to “lock up” all Bengals receivers.
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— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) December 4, 2022
The 14-3 lead came at an expense as Hayden Hurst was lost for the game with a right calf injury.
Mahomes engineered Kansas City’s first touchdown drive of 84 yards when Jerick McKinnon caught a two-yard pass wide open in the left flat. After the extra point, DJ Reader was called for a personal foul. Another key mistake was a drop by rookie Cam Taylor-Britt of a sure interception at the Bengals 15 of a cross-body throw from Mahomes.
The Bengals then had a great chance to score a touchdown before the half. But facing third-and-1 Burrow couldn’t gain a yard on a sneak off right guard. On fourth down, the Bengals tried a jet sweep to Trent Taylor and Dunlap made his former team pay for the trickery, stopping it for a three-yard loss.
The Chiefs took the opening drive of the second half and marched down the field for a touchdown and their first lead on an eight-yard Isiah Pachecho run.
The Bengals answered with a scoring drive but it could’ve been more if not for a drop of a sure touchdown by Tyler Boyd on a third down pass to the left pylon. The Bengals had to settle for a 36-yard field goal from Evan McPherson.
The Bengals had two other injury scares in the second half when BJ Hill went down with a left ankle injury and Cam Taylor-Britt injured his left shoulder when Patrick Mahomes scored on a 3-yard scramble on fourth down in the third quarter.
Germaine Pratt made a critical play when he stripped the ball from Travis Kelce after a 20-yard completion over the middle. Pratt also recovered it and the Bengals started a critical touchdown drive, capped off by Joe Burrow pass to a wide-open Chris Evans for an eight-yard touchdown. That score gave the Bengals a 27-24 with 8:54 left in the fourth.