Thus, like eight days ago, in the last second of regulation time at the Tennessee Titans, Evan McPherson made the difference in favor of Cincinnati, sending the ball between the opposing posts in overtime. His fourth shot on goal in as many attempts, in this match, to stay at 100% (11/11) during these play-offs, a record. The feat achieved in the lair of the Chiefs is all the more remarkable as the Ohio franchise lamented 18 points behind at the end of the second quarter. No one had ever managed to overcome such a large deficit in a conference final.
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And Mahomes snapped
Revived, after quarterback Joe Burrow threw a first touchdown for Samaje Perine, one minute from the break, to bring the score to 21-10, the Bengals were perfect in defense in the second half, begging star Patrick Mahomes, intercepted once and “sacked” four times. The latter was however at ease in the first act, with three winning passes addressed to his favorite targets Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman. Burrow, who had suffered during that time, also victim of an interception, has, in an inverted dynamic, regained momentum and found Ja’Marr Chase for the equalizing touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
Joe Burrow and Cincinnati will go to the Super Bowl!
Credit: Getty Images
The fate of the game was decided in overtime. Kansas City benefited from a favorable coin toss to inherit the first possession, a considerable advantage because in the event of a touchdown, the sudden death rule would have applied. But what happened last Sunday, at the expense of the Buffalo Bills, beaten on a final throw by Mahomes, was not repeated, the quarterback continuing to miss everything he undertook, before being intercepted again. Cincinnati and Burrow attacking in turn, then did not miss the opportunity to approach close enough to the goals of the Chiefs, to allow McPherson to finish the job.
The disillusionment is immense for Kansas City, which was aiming for a third consecutive final, after its coronation of 2020 against San Francisco and its failure last year against Tampa Bay and the legendary Tom Brady, announced as retiring on Saturday by many media and who has not come out of his silence.
Awesome Cooper Kupp
The indecision also took a long time to settle in Los Angeles, where the Rams, though trailing 17-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, also owed their salvation to their striker Matt Gay, author of the winning shot between the poles at 1’46 of the mermaid. Their defense was also imperial, muzzling quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, intercepted in the final seconds.
And what about Cooper Kupp? He managed his team’s two touchdowns, in the first and last quarters, on receiving two shots from quarterback Matthew Stafford, whose risk-taking, sometimes very large, ended up paying off. The receiver has also broken an NFL record, with a 13th game at least 100 yards traveled.
He will be, against the Bengals engaged in the third final in their history (after those lost in 1982 and 1989 against the 49ers) one of the main weapons of the Rams, who will aim for a second Super Bowl after that gleaned in 2000 ( and three lost finals in 1980, 2002, 2019).
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