Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals threw a big wrench into the highly anticipated travel plans of the Buffalo Bills, their fans, and perhaps even the NFL offices. Burrow threw two touchdown passes and Cincinnati’s defense swarmed Josh Allen on a snow-slicked field in a 27-10 win Sunday to send the Bengals to the AFC championship game for the second straight year, the AP reports. And it'll be in Kansas City again—instead of in Atlanta, the neutral site where the game would've been played if Buffalo had beaten Cincinnati. “Better send those refunds,” Burrow said, referring to the 50,000 or so tickets already sold for a game that will never be played.
The Bengals entered the game already feeling disrespected when the NFL began selling tickets for a would-be game at Atlanta, that was dependent on the Bills and Chiefs winning this weekend. The league decided on the first of its kind conference championship neutral site setting because the Bills (13-3) finished the season a half-game behind the Chiefs (14-3) after their game at Cincinnati was canceled on Jan. 2 when Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated on the field. Hamlin’s inspirational presence while watching the game from an end-zone suite was not enough to spark the Bills.
Cincinnati advanced to consecutive AFC championship games for the first time in franchise history and will prepare for a rematch of last year’s title game. The Bengals defeated Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs 27-24 to advance to last year’s Super Bowl, which they lost to the Los Angeles Rams. “It’s going to be a fun one,” said Burrow, who went 23 of 36 for 242 yards Sunday. “Two of the top guys in the league, two of the top teams in the league, great defenses, great overall teams, great coaches.” Cincinnati has 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.
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