AFC Championship

Here's How Unlikely the Bengals' Comeback Win Over the Chiefs Was

The Bengals came back from 21-3 in the second quarter to beat the Chiefs in overtime on their way to Super Bowl LVI

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Sunday’s AFC Championship was a tale of two halves.

With 3:36 remaining and a 21-3 lead in the second quarter, the Chiefs had a 94.8% chance of winning, according to ESPN. That 5.2% was all the Bengals needed to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LVI. 

True to their postseason form, Cincinnati entered Arrowhead a 7-point underdog, with the Chiefs having a 78.4% chance of winning. That seemed like an accurate prediction for most of the first half as the Chiefs quickly opened up a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. As the Bengals’ defense rallied and Joe Burrow settled into the offense, Cincinnati slowly chipped into the lead, eventually tying things up at 21 apiece with a full fourth quarter to play.

While the Chiefs seemed to gain the upper hand several times -- most notably, winning the overtime coin toss -- the Bengals maintained composure down the final stretch until they brought on rookie kicker Evan McPherson to relive last week’s divisional round heroics and send the Bengals to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988.

This come-from-behind win earned its spot in the history books.

At 18 points, it matches the Bengals franchise second-largest comeback, achieved twice before, both times in the regular season (1996 and 1997). The largest deficit the Bengals have ever come back from -- 21 points -- occurred in 1981 and 1995. 

It also happens tie for the seventh biggest comeback in NFL playoff history. Of the six bigger NFL playoff comebacks, three of them occurred in the last decade, including the Chiefs erasing a 24-point deficit to the Texans in last season’s divisional round. 

The Bengals, who have now beat both the No. 1 and No. 2 seed in the AFC en route to the Super Bowl, are challenging their reputation as an underdog.

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