Bengals dominate Bills, will face Chiefs for AFC Championship


The Cincinnati Bengals are back in the AFC Championship Game, setting up a rematch of last year’s thriller with Kansas City by eliminating the Buffalo Bills with a 27-10 victory in steady snowfall at Highmark Stadium.

Quarterback Joe Burrow threw for two touchdowns in the first quarter and Buffalo never caught up, with the Bengals getting a touchdown from Joe Mixon late in the third quarter to extend their lead. The Bengals will now go to Arrowhead Stadium, where they beat the Chiefs in overtime last year to secure a spot in the Super Bowl. Cincinnati advances to the conference title game as a No. 3 seed, after doing so as a No. 4 seed last season.

Sunday’s game was a rematch of the game started Jan. 2 and canceled after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, requiring CPR on the field to resuscitate him. Hamlin was in attendance in Buffalo on Sunday, adding an emotional charge to the home fans, but that didn’t translate to success on the scoreboard for the Bills.

Burrow connected with receiver Ja’Marr Chase for a touchdown on the opening drive, then hit tight end Hayden Hurst for another score in a dominating first quarter that saw the Bills outgained 160-8 by the Bengals. Buffalo got a touchdown run from quarterback Josh Allen to pull back within a score, but the Bengals added a field goal for a 17-7 halftime lead.

Buffalo got the ball to open the second half, but a long Bills drive stalled inside the Bengals 10, and they had to settle for a Tyler Bass field goal to cut the lead to 17-10. Mixon’s touchdown on the ensuing drive extended the Cincinnati lead to 14 points with 1:17 left in the third. Burrow finished 23-for-36 for 242 yards and two touchdowns, and Mixon rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries. 

Lou Anarumo’s Bengals defense was superb, facing a Bills offense that had scored at least 32 points in four straight wins and ranked second in the NFL in yards and scoring in the regular season. Buffalo’s previous scoring low in 18 games was 17 points in a Week 9 loss to the Jets, and the Bills had averaged 39 points in three playoff games over the past two seasons. 

The Bengals now move on to face a Chiefs team they’ve beaten twice in the past year — in last year’s AFC Championship Game, rallying back from a 21-3 deficit to win in overtime, and by the same 27-24 score in Week 13 this season. Cincinnati led 14-3, trailed 24-17 and rallied behind Burrow to extend a win streak that now is at 10 straight games. Last year’s Bengals won two road playoff games to get to the Super Bowl, and this year’s team will now try to do the same.

Buffalo had won eight straight entering Sunday’s game, but this is another promising season that ended too soon. The Bills have four straight seasons with at least 10 wins under Allen and coach Sean McDermott, but they’ve only made one appearance in the conference championship, losing to Kansas City after the 2020 season.

Greg Auman is FOX Sports’ NFC South reporter, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.

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