KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three times this calendar year, the Kansas City Chiefs have played the Cincinnati Bengals.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and company have now taken a loss on the chin in all three meetings after a 27-24 loss Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.
With the loss, Kansas City had a five-game win streak snapped and slipped from the top spot in the AFC standings.
Buffalo, which beat New England on Thursday, moved into position as the No. 1 seed.
Kansas City committed the game’s only turnover and missed a potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter.
Mahomes’ foil, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, effectively ended the game with a 14-yard dart to Tee Higgins on third-and-11 coming out of the two-minute warning.
“We’ve got to do better there,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We’ll go back and look at that.”
Earlier in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs got the ball back with a four-point lead and a chance to put the game away.
Instead, a Travis Kelce fumble paved the way for the Bengals to retake the lead before Harrison Butker pushed a potential game-tying field goal wide right one drive later.
Mahomes never saw the field again except to congratulate Burrow — who finished 25 of 31 for 286 yards with three touchdowns, including one on the ground — on becoming the first opposing QB with three straight wins against him.
“Coming down the stretch, you can’t turn the ball over against a good team, and you surely can’t miss a field goal,” Reid said. “But there were a lot of things in between that that we could have done better.”
For instance, Kansas City failed to sack Burrow — who instead rushed for 46 yards, mostly on scrambles — until the game's closing minutes.
Cincinnati beat Kansas City twice last January, erasing 11-point halftime deficits in both games.
The Chiefs led by as many as 14 points in a Jan. 2 meeting at Paycor Stadium only to have the Bengals rally and win 34-31 on an Evan McPherson field goal as time expired.
The AFC Championship Game meltdown four weeks later hurt more, denying coach Reid’s squad a chance to play in a third straight Super Bowl.
Kansas City led 21-3 in the second quarter before collapsing in a 27-24 overtime loss.
The Chiefs weren’t shy about being eager for the rematch.
The Bengals got on the board first, marching 75 yards on 11 plays after receiving the opening kickoff.
Burrow, who completed 5 of 6 passes for 53 yards on the drive, finished it with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Kansas City answered with a field-goal drive, but Cincinnati built an 11-point lead on Burrow’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins early in the second quarter.
“I didn’t think we tackled as well as we had been,” Reid said. “We can do a better job with that. That’s something we’ll look at on tape and get fixed. It was the same way on the offensive side. We can block better and do a lot of things on that side of the ball, too. Everybody’s got a little piece of this.”
After the defense finally got a stop, Mahomes’ 2-yard touchdown to running back Jerick McKinnon pulled the Chiefs within 14-10.
Kansas City’s defense made sure it stayed that way at halftime with a stirring goal-line stand in the final minute.
Cincinnati had second-and-3 from the 6-yard line before Samaje Perine, who started again in place of injured running back Joe Mixon, ran for a 2-yard gain, and Burrow got stuffed on a sneak.
On fourth down, the Bengals tried a jet sweep to wide receiver Trent Taylor, but Chiefs defensive end Carlos Dunlap blew the play up for a 3-yard loss.
Dunlap played in Cincinnati for more than a decade from 2010 before he was traded to Seattle in 2020.
Kansas City took its first lead on the opening drive of the second half, a 77-yard march capped by Isiah Pacheco’s 8-yard touchdown run.
The Bengals answered with a 36-yard McPherson field goal to tie the game.
Mahomes wentairborne for a 3-yard TD on fourth down late in the third quarter to put the Chiefs back in front as the game continued to swing back and forth.
He finished 16 of 27 for 223 yards with two total touchdowns, including that rushing score.
Cincinnati added a 41-yard McPherson field goal early in the fourth quarter before Pratt muscled a ball free from Kelce — who finished with four catches for 56, all in the second half.
It was Kansas City’s seventh consecutive game with a turnover, the most during Reid’s tenure.
“Those are hard-fought yards in this league,” Mahomes said. “Obviously, they made a good play and stripped out right at the very end there. But I’m taking Travis fighting for extra yards every time, because that’s the type of competitor he is.”
The Bengals made it hurt 10 plays later when Burrow lobbed an 8-yard touchdown to Chris Evans to retake the lead.
Perine finished with 155 total yards, 106 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving, while wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase finished with seven catches for 97 yards in his first game in two months.
“We’ve got a lot of things we can fix,” said Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, who had a career-high 16 tackles. “It’s hard to correct things when you’re winning. So, we can go back to the drawing board, build on the things we did right, there’s a lot of things we can clean up and be better off going down the stretch.”
Butker missed a 55-yard field goal on the Chiefs’ ensuing drive, which effectively dashed hopes for victory.
“It’s two good football teams playing each other,” Reid said. “We’ve got to take care of business down the stretch. The last couple of series, we’ve just got to take care of business.”
Mahomes appeared to injure his foot on the final snap he was on the field, but he and Reid downplayed it after the game.
“I’ll be fine,” Mahomes said.
Cincinnati tight end Hayden Hurst (calf) left the game in the first quarter and didn’t return.
He and Kansas City safety Justin Reid made news during the week with some back-and-forth about Hurst’s blocking ability via media reports.