The Kansas City Chiefs led by as many as 18 points against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, but a pair of costly errors from quarterback Patrick Mahomes allowed the Bengals to build momentum and control their own destiny as Joe Burrow led Cincinnati to Super Bowl LVI.
But Chiefs head coach Andy Reid refused to let Mahomes shoulder any blame for the loss.
Reid took credit for the most glaring of errors, which sealed a scoreless second quarter for the Chiefs and sent the Bengals into the half with quite the morale boost. Mahomes tried — and failed — to score a touchdown from the Bengals’ 1-yard line with five seconds remaining and no timeouts, when a field goal would have been the easier call.
“I probably gave (Mahomes) the wrong play to start with,” Reid told reporters after the loss. “I could have given him something better than that, when the play was open in the end zone. And then we wouldn’t have had to go through that. I’ll take responsibility for that one.”
Reid also refused to put down Mahomes when he was asked about the quarterback’s play in the second half.
“I could have given him better plays to work with,” he said.
An interception in overtime all but sealed the deal for the Chiefs, who had won the overtime coin toss (for the second week in a row, much to the chagrin of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen) but fell when the Bengals scored a field goal on the ensuing drive.
Mahomes finished the afternoon with 275 yards on 26-of-39 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions.