Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker (7) is lifted in the...

Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker (7) is lifted in the air after his game-winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of the NFL AFC Championship playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.  Credit: Jeff Roberson

KANSAS CITY — Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City reclaimed Arrowhead Stadium and recaptured the AFC title.

Harrison Butker’s 45-yard field goal with three seconds left gave Kansas City a 23-20 win over Cincinnati on Sunday night and sent KC to the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons.

Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in what also could be called the Andy Reid Bowl. Reid coached the Eagles for 14 seasons before coming to Kansas City in 2013.

“Guys were the most pumped up I’ve seen them going into a football game,” Mahomes said. “A lot of trash-talking from a lot of different places.”

It started from the Cincinnati side. Some Bengals referred to Arrowhead Stadium as “Burrowhead’’ because quarterback Joe Burrow was 3-0 against Kansas City, including an overtime win in last year’s AFC title game. That name change didn’t sit well with Kansas City.

“Burrowhead, my [butt],” tight end Travis Kelce said. “It’s Mahomes’ house.”

All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones said, “We’re not a team that talks. We just go out and play the game respectfully. But don’t ever, ever, ever, ever disrespect Arrowhead Stadium.”

Mahomes, hobbled by a right high ankle sprain, completed 29 of 43 passes for 326 yards and two TDs, but it was his legs that ultimately lifted Kansas City.

With 17 seconds left and Kansas City facing a third-and-4 from Cincinnati’s 47, Mahomes took off for the right sideline. He ran 5 yards for the first down, and as he went out of bounds just past the first-down marker, he was shoved and sent sprawling into the bench by Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness.

The game might have gone to overtime if not for the 15-yard penalty, which turned a potential 60-yard kick into a 45-yarder.

“I tried to do whatever I could to win,” Mahomes said. “I was able to do enough on that last play to get the first down and get myself out of bounds and try to give Harrison a chance to win.”

Jones set up the winning points by sacking Burrow on third down at the Cincinnati 28 with 42 seconds left. Skye Moore returned the punt 29 yards to the Kansas City 47 with 30 seconds left.

“It aches,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Our goal is to win the Super Bowl. To be seconds away from getting back there and watching them celebrate, it’s horrible.”

Mahomes had never beaten the Burrow-led Bengals, the only team that he has lost to three straight times. Even Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval had some fun at Mahomes’ expense, saying Burrow had been asked to take a paternity test to make sure he’s not Mahomes’ daddy.

“The mayor came at me,” Mahomes said. “It’s something you just got to play the football game and let your play do the talking.” 

Burrow was 26-for-41 for 270 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Tee Higgins caught six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Ja’Marr Chase had six grabs for 75 yards.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling led Kansas City with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Kelce had seven receptions for 78 yards and a score.

Kansas City led 13-3 in the first half, but the Bengals tied it on their first possession of the third quarter. On third-and-6, Burrow connected with Higgins for a 27-yard touchdown, and the extra point made it 13-13.

Mahomes put Kansas City back on top on the next possession, rifling a 19-yard touchdown pass to Valdes-Scantling on third-and-10.

Earlier in the series, Valdes-Scantling caught a pass on third down and was ruled short of the sticks despite extending the ball before he was down. Reid challenged the spot and it was overturned. Three plays later, Kansas City scored.

After Kansas City forced a three-and-out, Cincinnati got the ball back on an unforced Mahomes fumble at the KC 45. The Bengals went for it on fourth-and-6 from the 41 and Burrow hit Chase for a 35-yard completion. On second down, Samaje Perine got in the end zone on a 2-yard run to tie it again with 13:30 left.

Mahomes’ ankle didn’t appear to be bothering him as he led three straight scoring drives to open the game. He was 13-for-19 for 165 yards and a touchdown in the first half and Kansas City led 13-6 at halftime.

“We felt like we needed to get this win,” he said. “We wanted to play this team. We got them at Arrowhead Stadium, and we were able to finish the job this time.”

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