The Kansas City Chiefs looked like they were going to play in their third Super Bowl in as many seasons. However, after building a 21-3 lead in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs let the lead slip away and lost 27-24 in overtime. After the game, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took the blame for the tough defeat.
"When you're up 21-3 in a game, you can't lose it, and I put that on myself," Mahomes said, per CBS Sports. Mahomes was playing in his fourth AFC Championship Game, and while he had a strong first half, the 2018 NFL MVP could not get anything going in the second half. Mahomes threw all three of his touchdown passes in the first half but was then shut down in the second half, throwing zero TD passes and two interceptions.
"There was a few misreads here and there," the quarterback said of the Chiefs' second-half issues. "There was guys that were open and I didn't hit at the right time or I passed up on something shorter that I wanted to get something deeper down the field. When you're playing a good team and you don't hit what's there and you try to get a little bit more than what's necessary it kind of bites you in the butt, I guess you would say. We were playing so well in the first half, and in the second half we were just off a tick, and that's all it takes to lose a football game."
The Chiefs had an interesting 2021 season. After the first seven games, Kansas City was 3-4 and in last place in the AFC West. They went on to win nine of the next 10 games and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills before falling short against the Bengals.
"It's definitely disappointing," Mahomes said per ESPN. "Here, with this group of guys that we have, we expect to be in that game and win that game, and anything less than that is not success. We'll go back and look at all the things we did well, the adversity we battled through, the team we became at the end of the season and try to learn from the mistakes we made and try to be better next year.''