As it turns out, the NFL won’t need Atlanta’s neutral site for the AFC Championship Game.
Instead, the Bengals will visit Kansas City again for the right to play in Super Bowl LVII, as Cincinnati dominated Buffalo 27-10 in Sunday’s divisional matchup.
Playing on the road, Cincinnati led from cover to cover. The Bengals went right down the field to start the game with a touchdown, with Ja’Marr Chase catching a 28-yard pass over the middle from quarterback Joe Burrow for the score. Then tight end Hayden Hurst caught a 15-yard touchdown on Cincinnati’s second drive to make the score 14-0 with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
The Bills didn’t get anything going until the second quarter, with quarterback Josh Allen powering his way in for a 1-yard touchdown. But that was the only time Buffalo would reach the end zone on Sunday.
Evan McPherson’s 28-yard field goal gave Cincinnati a 17-7 lead entering halftime. While Buffalo’s Tyler Bass got his team on the board with a 25-yard field goal, running back Joe Mixon’s 1-yard touchdown made the score 24-10 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.
McPherson closed the scoring with his 20-yard field goal to go up three possessions with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati had 30 first downs to Buffalo’s 18 and out-gained Buffalo 412-325. The Bengals also finished the game 6-of-10 on third down to the Bills’ 4-of-12.
Burrow was 23-of-36 passing for 242 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He also took six carries for 31 yards. Chase led with five catches for 61 yards.
But the Bengals dominated in the run game, gaining 172 yards on 34 carries — good for 5.1 yards a pop. Mixon put up 105 yards on 20 attempts with Samaje Perine taking seven carries for 33 yards.
The Bills could never get anything going on offense with any consistency. Josh Allen finished 25-of-42 passing for 265 yards and was intercepted on his last throw of the game. He also led with 26 yards rushing on eight carries.
Stefon Diggs was limited to just four catches for 35 yards.
The Bengals will now take on the Chiefs for the second consecutive season in the AFC Championship Game. Had the Bills won, the conference championship game would have been in Atlanta as a neutral site.