After defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Bengals will play in the Super Bowl for the third time in franchise history and the first time since 1988. Several former Buckeyes played significant roles in bringing Cincinnati to the championship, including Vonn Bell, Eli Apple and Sam Hubbard.
Bell had six tackles against the Chiefs. However, his most important contribution was when he intercepted Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes in overtime, offering his team a chance to win the game with a field goal or touchdown in the extra 15 minutes. Mahomes took a snap in his team’s territory and threw deep for wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Bell helped cornerback Jessie Bates III over the top.
Bates denied the ball from Hill’s hand and swatted it in Bell’s direction. The former Buckeye caught the spinning football and returned the interception 5 yards to the Cincinnati 45-yard line.
A few plays earlier, Apple had a chance to intercept a Mahomes pass; however, the ball went right through his hands and fell to the turf. Still, Apple finished the contest with seven tackles, including a touchdown-saving tackle before halftime, where he kept Hill from crossing the timeline and scoring six points.
Hubbard pressured Mahomes throughout the contest. He applied the pressure leading to the quarterback’s first interception, which led to a Ja’Marr Chase touchdown that tied the game at 21-all.
Late in the fourth quarter, Hubbard offered everything to tackle Mahomes in the backfield. Mahomes scrambled to extend the play after second-and-goal but couldn’t find an open receiver. Hubbard crashed the pocket and dropped Mahomes to force third down. Hubbard spied the Kansas City signal-caller on the ensuing play and hunted him down for a 15-yard strip-sack, which caused the Chiefs to kick a field goal and send the game to overtime.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS vs. LOS ANGELES RAMS
On Sunday evening, the 49ers failed to hold its 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and fell to the Rams, 20-17. Defensive end completed the game with 1.5 sacks and now has the franchise record with eight playoff sacks, surpassing Charles Haley’s record of 7.5 postseason sacks.
Bosa has played in six playoff games and has recorded at least a half-sack in each of those contests. Unfortunately for Bosa, his six tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks on Sunday were not enough to get San Francisco back to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years.
For the first time in franchise history, the Bengals will play in a Super Bowl against someone other than the 49ers, who they lost to in their previous two Super Bowl appearances. Instead, they’ll face the Rams, whose only Buckeye, Jordan Fuller, is out for the season with an ankle injury.