Bengals return to AFC championship after 27-10 rout of Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Joe Burrow threw two touchdown passes, Cincinnati’s defense swarmed Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen on a snow-slicked field and the Bengals advanced to their second straight AFC championship game with a 27-10 win over the Bills on Sunday.
Damar Hamlin’s inspirational presence while watching the game from an end-zone suite was not enough to spark the Bills in a rematch of a regular-season game that was canceled on Jan. 2 when the Bills safety went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati.
Instead, it was “Joe Cool” showing poise while playing in a persistent snowfall.
Burrow completed his first nine passes for 105 yards in leading Cincinnati to a 14-0 lead after its first two possessions. Ja’Marr Chase opened the scoring with a 28-yard TD catch 3:20 into the game, followed by Burrow’s 15-yard TD throw to Hayden Hurst eight minutes later. Joe Mixon scored on a 1-yard run, and Evan McPherson hit field goals from 20 and 28 yards in a game the Bengals never trailed.
The Bengals advanced to consecutive AFC championship games for the first time in franchise history, and will again travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals beat the Chiefs 27-24 to advance to last year’s Super Bowl, which they lost to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Bengals have won the past three meetings against Kansas City, including a 27-24 victory last month. The Chiefs are making their fifth straight appearance in the AFC championship game following a 27-20 win over Jacksonville on Saturday.
The Bills’ playoff run ended in the divisional round for a second straight season, including a 42-36 overtime loss to Kansas City last year.
Had Buffalo defeated Cincinnati, the AFC championship would have been held at Atlanta next weekend because the Bills (13-3) finished the season a half-game behind the Chiefs (14-3) after their game against Cincinnati was canceled.
Bengals: Travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs next Sunday in a rematch of last year’s AFC championship game.
Bills: Season over.
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