Chiefs clinch AFC West title with victory over rival Bengals at home

The Kansas City Chiefs have clinched their eighth consecutive 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 owns the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture. On the other hand, the Bengals 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 in recent years has seen fantastic offense, and that’s how this game started with three consecutive scoring drives.


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

Two of them, however, did not go to the home team as the Bengals got off to a good start with Jake Browning remaining under center and Joe Burrow out for the rest of the season.

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

They went 75 yards in seven plays when Isiah Pacheco caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes in the middle of the end zone to take a 7-3 lead.


However, Browning quickly responded with a touchdown of his own. He found his running back, Joe Mixon, just as Mahomes did with Pacheco: a short pass in the red zone that put the Bengals back in front.

A turning point in the first half came on the next drive for the Chiefs when Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson trapped 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 third-and-goal from one yard out.

From there, Mahomes and the Chiefs were unable to reach the end zone on their drives. But that’s where veteran kicker Harrison Butker made his impact in this victory.

Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against Nick Bolton of the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter, on 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, which accounted for 18 precious points for Kansas City.

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

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

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

Patrick Mahomes screams as he leaves the tunnel

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


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

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