Led by their injured playmaker Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs have reached the National Football League's Super Bowl for the third time in four years, where they meet the Philadelphia Eagles.
At 23:20 against the Cincinnati Bengals, a field goal eight seconds before the end on Sunday evening (local time) brought the decision.
The situation was made possible by Mahomes, who had an ankle injury and who, for the only time in the game, carried the ball forward himself as quickly as he could.
With two touchdown passes and throws for a total of 326 yards, Mahomes made an outstanding game under the circumstances.
"There are moments in a game when you just have to risk everything," Mahomes said at the handover of the trophy for the AFC win on the scene before the field goal.
On February 12, the Chiefs will meet the Eagles in Glendale, Arizona, after beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC finals.
"First of all, I'm celebrating this"
"It's going to be a great challenge, but first I'm going to celebrate this.
I don't think we have cigars, but we'll be prepared for the Super Bowl," Mahomes said.
The Chiefs won the Super Bowl for the second time in their history in February 2020, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.
Last season, the Chiefs lost to quarterback Joe Burrow's Bengals in the AFC Finals.
Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl for the first time since winning five years ago.
The best team in the main round won the NFC final on Sunday (local time) over the 49ers, who were severely restricted by two quarterback injuries.
"It's what you dream of as a kid," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said on US television.
"We're enjoying that now and then getting ready for the Super Bowl.
One is left.”
For the 49ers, quarterback surprise Brock Purdy injured his elbow in the first quarter and was replaced by Josh Johnson.
The 36-year-old became the fourth playmaker used by the guests this season – and had to leave the field in the third quarter with suspected concussion.
In the meantime it looked as if Christian McCaffrey had to take over at the position of 7:21.
San Francisco, however, sent Purdy back into the game, but the 23-year-old was obviously restricted and did not make any more long pass attempts.
The Eagles had the game under control and were hardly challenged by the battered 49ers.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts passed for 121 yards and a clean pass performance to control the action, most of it running offensively.
On the fourth touchdown, Hurts carried the ball himself into the end zone.
Purdy is the last draft pick in the US professional football league as "Mr.
Irrelevant”, made his NFL debut a good three months ago due to injury concerns with the 49ers and impressed with his performances.
Otherwise all eyes were on Mahomes.
"It was pure fighting spirit," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of his star's performance: "I can't say enough that Pat's run is the MVP at the end." On February 12, he will be on the biggest NFL stage .
Then it's about the Super Bowl.