The Kansas City Chiefs are placing the franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Monday that the Chiefs will not allow Brown to test free agency.

The deadline to franchise tag prospective free agents, tying them to a one-year franchise tender with their current team, is on Tuesday.

Brown becomes the first known unrestricted free agent to be tagged, following a strong first season with the Chiefs.

The Chiefs gave up last year's first-round pick as part of a package to land Brown in a deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Brown had expressed unhappiness at being deployed as a right tackle during his time in Baltimore, stating emphatically that, in his mind, he was best placed on the left.

He provided evidence to back up those claims in 2021, allowing a pressure rate of 7.4 per cent. The average for left tackles was 9.4.

Stats Perform data had Brown losing just 35 of his 300 pass protection one-on-ones last season, while he came off worst on seven of the 28 stunts he faced.

That gave Brown a stunt-adjusted pass protection win rate of 88.19 per cent, sixth among tackles with at least 200 one-on-ones.

Brown's success, which saw him named to the Pro Bowl for a third straight season, and that of the Chiefs' offensive line rebuild did not inspire Kansas City to Super Bowl glory, as they suffered a shock defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

Tyrann Mathieu is hopeful he can re-sign with the Kansas City Chiefs following their agonising AFC Championship defeat by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The safety is now a free agent following the expiration of his contract after three years at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs were denied a third successive Super Bowl appearance on Sunday after suffering a 27-24 overtime defeat against the Bengals, despite leading 21-3 during the second quarter.

That signalled the end of Mathieu's stint in Missouri, where both parties failed to agree on extending his contract ahead of the 2021 season.

Despite the disappointment, the 29-year-old applauded the efforts of his team-mates and hopes a deal for him to remain with the franchise can be struck.

"I hope so," he said. "Ever since I came here, I just try to be the right kind of team-mate; I try to play my part. 

"It's always that feeling that you could make more plays for your team, but I'm hoping it works out. I don't have any control over that. 

"I feel like everything that is within my control – I tried my best to handle it and do it with a smile. I love this team; I love this locker room. There are a lot of coaches I have great relationships with. I am hoping.

"We still feel like we are the best team in the NFL. The best team doesn't always win; it's the team that plays well and makes the plays that day. 

"I am just extremely proud to come to work with these guys."

It's not how you start, it's how you finish. The old adage rang true for the victorious defenses on Conference Championship weekend.

A stunning upset pulled off by the Cincinnati Bengals appeared extremely unlikely when they fell 21-3 behind to the Kansas City Chiefs.

But the Chiefs scored just three points across the second half and overtime, with Patrick Mahomes intercepted twice as the Bengals fought back to claim an improbable 27-24 win.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Rams looked to be on the ropes at 17-7 down to the San Francisco 49ers when Jimmy Garoppolo hit George Kittle for a 16-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.

Yet the Rams outscored the Niners 13-0 in the fourth, Garoppolo and the San Francisco attack collapsing when the pressure was at its highest.

So how did both the Bengals and the Rams stymie their opponents when it mattered most and punch their tickets to Super Bowl LVI?

The name's Hubbard, Sam Hubbard

Arguably as important to stopping Mahomes through the air was the move the Bengals made to prevent him from doing damage with his legs.

The Bengals deployed defensive end Sam Hubbard as a de-facto spy of Mahomes, protecting against him rolling out and making throws on the move, as he did twice for touchdowns in the first half, or picking up yardage on the ground.

That meant relying on their coverage to hold up while sending only three-man rushes up front. The Bengals rushed three on 23.9 per cent of their defensive snaps, and the results speak for themselves.

Mahomes attempted just six passes on the move and had five scrambles for an average of just one yard per carry. In other words, when there was not a clear option for Mahomes when operating from the pocket, the possibility to escape and extend the play was taken away.

Travis Kelce had 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown while Tyreek Hill registered seven catches for 78 yards and a score. However, Hill did not have a catch after the first half and Kelce only had one across that second half and overtime that went for double-digit yardage, the Bengals' ploy of sporadically bracketing both working perfectly.

The combination of Hubbard's deployment in an unfamiliar role and the attention paid to both Kelce and Hill led to the sight of a quarterback who was unstoppable in the Divisional Round running backwards as the pocket collapsed in a vain effort to produce explosive plays that were not there.

Mahomes had done an excellent job down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs of being patient and taking what the defense gave him. In the second half against Cincinnati, the Bengals afforded him no options, and that patience ran out.

Rams give no room to run

The Rams did not need to lure Garoppolo into the bad decision, as Los Angeles knew that, with enough pressure on the much-maligned 49ers quarterback, a mistake is always on the horizon.

Los Angeles only pressured Garoppolo 12 times, but the pass rush came at the ideal time in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter as Aaron Donald and Co. took advantage of a banged-up offensive line when it mattered most.

The level of joy the Rams enjoyed late on was in part a result of their success in defending the run.

With the scoreboard turning rapidly in Los Angeles' favour, San Francisco became one-dimensional having been consistently stymied by the Rams' run defense.

The often dominant 49ers running game was held to 2.5 yards per carry, putting the emphasis on Garoppolo and his O-Line to deliver.

Niners tight end Kittle explained San Francisco's struggles running the ball were down to the Rams employing a new wrinkle in blitzing the A and B gaps when the 49ers went in motion, leading to stacked boxes.

As Kittle put it: "It's hard to run the ball when there are nine guys in the box."

After erasing the Niners' 10-point lead, the Rams' defense could go in attack mode with the ground game shut down and no reason to fear the opposing quarterback.

Given the struggles of the Bengals' offensive line, a similar approach could well be used in the Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes says he has an even greater appreciation for the NFL career of Tom Brady after the Kansas City Chiefs lost in the playoffs.

The Chiefs were shocked 27-24 by the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Despite having star quarterback Mahomes and a dominant offense, the Chiefs only have one Super Bowl title to show from their four straight championship game appearances.

Mahomes believes it shows how difficult it is to go all the way and puts the spectacular feat of Brady – soon expected to confirm his retirement – winning a record seven Super Bowl crowns into perspective.

"His career is one of a kind,'' Mahomes said, per ESPN, after the Bengals rallied from 18 points behind to record a shock win at Arrowhead Stadium. 

"That's why he's the GOAT. To win that many Super Bowls and win that many games, it's hard. 

"I understand that. The years that I've had, I've been close a lot. 

"I've only been there twice, and I've only won once. I understand it takes a special player, a special group of guys, special circumstances for that to happen.

"I'm just going to try to do whatever I can to get myself a chance every year to get in that game and to win it.''

Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also fell short in 2021, losing to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round.

That was a result that extended a long streak of teams being unable to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

It has not been done since Brady and the New England Patriots won the title in back-to-back seasons in 2003 and 2004.

The Rams will meet the Bengals at SoFi Stadium on February 13.

Patrick Mahomes accepted responsibility after the Kansas City Chiefs suffered a dramatic 27-24 overtime defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs were heavy favourites coming into Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium and quickly built up a 21-3 advantage.

Despite a Bengals response, Kansas City were still 11 points clear when they had the ball on the Cincinnati one-yard line just before half-time.

But they misjudged the clock and failed to add to their advantage, as time expiring after a completed pass to Tyreek Hill meant they could not even kick a field goal.

The Bengals then rallied in the second half to move ahead 24-21 and while the Chiefs were able to get the game to overtime, it was Cincinnati who came out on top.

Just 34 yards, two first downs and an interception from Mahomes came from the first five Kansas City drives in the second half as the offense went completely flat, costing the hosts victory.

"When you're up 21-3 in a game, you can't lose it, and I put that on myself," Mahomes said.

"I was supposed to throw the ball away [in the play before halftime]. I got a little greedy there and tried to give it to Tyreek and get a touchdown, they had two people out there. 

"In the long run of things, it looks bad, but if we had another chance, I'd go for another play again.

"There was a few misreads here and there. 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 have been to four straight championship games with Mahomes as starter. Their two defeats, in this game and to the New England Patriots in 2018, both came in overtime.

Mahomes added: "A few plays here and there we could have four chances at the Super Bowl.

"You can't let this end what we have here, you have to make sure you continue to battle, continue to get better and try to find ways to win Super Bowls.''

Defeat cost the Chiefs a chance to reach a third straight Super Bowl.

Head coach Andy Reid was reluctant to blame star quarterback Mahomes, who was intercepted by B.J. Hill in the third quarter before throwing another pick to Vonn Bell in OT.

"Patrick's a great player, he was trying to make a play," he said when asked if Mahomes had pressed too much as the Chiefs started to lose their lead.

"I have got to do a better job at giving him things that he can make plays with. I can do a lot better in that area. 

"I could've given him other things to work with, better things, better plays to work with."

Of the Chiefs' mistake at the end of the first half, Reid added: "I was hoping we could get the ball in the end zone.

"I probably gave him the wrong play first of all. To start with, I could've given him something better than that, where 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."

Mahomes completed 26 of 39 attempts and threw three touchdowns as well as his two picks.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes says that bowing out of the postseason with an overtime loss in the AFC Championship Game cannot be seen as a success.

The Chiefs, competing in their third consecutive AFC Championship Game, went down 30-27 in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Mahomes was dominant early with three touchdown passes in the first half as they opened up a 21-3 second-quarter lead, finishing the game completing 26 of 39 attempts for 275 yards.

But the Chiefs, champions two years ago and runners-up last season, let slip their lead with Mahomes' overtime pass intercepted by Vonn Bell before Evan McPherson's game-winning field goal.

"The leaders on this team know this isn't our standard," Mahomes said at the post-game news conference. "We want to win the Super Bowl.

"Whenever you taste winning the Super Bowl, anything less than that is not success. It's definitely disappointing.

"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.''

Mahomes threw 11 touchdown passes in the postseason but the Chiefs were undone in defense against the Bengals, conceding 55 points in their two losses to the AFC champions across the season.

"Unfortunately this is final and that's where we sit now," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said at the post-game news conference.

"Our players are disappointed obviously. They've put a lot of time and effort into this, putting themselves into this position for a Championship Game, I'm proud of that."

The Cincinnati Bengals reached their first Super Bowl since 1989 after a pulsating 27-24 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Patrick Mahomes had started in inspired form at Arrowhead Stadium, delivering three touchdown passes to put the Chiefs 21-3 ahead, but the Bengals roared back in stunning fashion to move 24-21 in front.

A Harrison Butker field goal with three seconds left took the game to overtime, yet Evan McPherson ensured a memorable win for the Bengals with a field goal of his own.  

They will face either the Los Angeles Rams or the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVI in a fortnight.

Mahomes wasted little time in stamping his authority on the game, picking out Tyreek Hill in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown within the opening three minutes.

McPherson got the Bengals on the board with a field kick soon after, yet the Chiefs extended their advantage when Mahomes danced his way out of trouble to find Travis Kelce in the corner of the end zone.

The irrepressible Mahomes then found Mercole Hardman wide open for another touchdown, taking his total of pass touchdowns in this postseason to a record-equalling 11.

The Bengals, however, clawed their way back into the game when running back Samaje Perine raced 41 yards into the end zone.

McPherson reduced the deficit with another field goal, before B.J. Hill intercepted an uncharacteristically poor throw from Mahomes to give the Bengals an opportunity to draw level. They duly did courtesy of Ja'Marr Chase from Joe Burrow's lofted throw, with Trent Taylor grabbing the subsequent two-point conversion reception.

After McPherson and Butker exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter, the former sent another kick between the sticks following Vonn Bell's interception of Mahomes to seal one of the most remarkable comebacks in Championship Game history.

Joe Burrow heaped praise on the Cincinnati Bengals defense after Vonn Bell's interception set up their dramatic 27-24 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

The Bengals completed the equal biggest comeback win in Championship Game history, rallying from a 21-3 down in the second quarter after Patrick Mahomes' three touchdown passes.

But Cincinnati would not concede again to roar ahead 24-21 until Harrison Butker's field goal with three seconds left to send the game to overtime, as Burrow led the rally offensively, completing 23 of 38 attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns.

The Chiefs won the vital coin flip for overtime, yet Bell's pick on a Mahomes' throw allowed the Bengals to gain possession, with Burrow driving them forward with Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon to set up McPherson's decisive kick.

As a result, the Bengals reached their first Super Bowl since 1989 with Burrow heaping praise on their defense.

"Our defense was unbelievable in the second half," Burrow told CBS after the game. "They had a great plan on defensive side against us. We struggled a little bit. I'm a little speechless right now."

The victory continues Cincinnati's dream postseason run, having overcome the top-seeded Tennessee Titans 19-16 and Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.

Burrow added: "We've been a second-half team all year. You don’t really want to be that way but that's how it's worked out.

"Our defense has really stepped up in the second half and on offense we made plays when we had to. I thought the offensive line was great. We started running the ball, it was a great overall team effort.

"Usually when you lose a coin flip to those guys, you're going home."

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor called his side a "special team" and reiterated that they were not done yet, ahead of the Super Bowl against either the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers.

"We've got a special team and we've overcome a lot of deficits this year," Taylor said. "We always believe in all three phases. Everyone stepped up and we're not done yet.

"[It's] special, nothing we'll ever forget. We're not done yet. Our fans say 'who dey?', we dem."

The Cincinnati Bengals reached their first Super Bowl since 1989 after a pulsating 27-24 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Patrick Mahomes had started in inspired form at Arrowhead Stadium, delivering three touchdown passes to put the Chiefs 21-3 ahead, but the Bengals roared back in stunning fashion to move 24-21 in front.

A Harrison Butker field goal with three seconds left took the game to overtime, yet Evan McPherson ensured a memorable win for the Bengals with a field goal of his own.  

They will face either the Los Angeles Rams or the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVI in a fortnight.

Tyrann Mathieu is expected to play for the Kansas City Chiefs as they look to clinch a place in the Super Bowl for the third successive season.

Mathieu suffered a concussion in the Chiefs' thrilling 42-36 win over the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last Sunday.

But multiple reports suggest the safety will feature for the Chiefs when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

Mathieu led the Chiefs with three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, during the regular season.

His tally of 13 interceptions since joining the Chiefs in 2019 is tied for the second-most among safeties, trailing only Justin Simmons (14) of the Denver Broncos.

With Joe Burrow sacked nine times in the Bengals' win over the Tennessee Titans last week, the Chiefs will hope pressure on the quarterback can lead to turnover opportunities for the likes of Mathieu.

Though he has been accurate under pressure with a well-thrown ball percentage of 81.1, which is the best in the NFL (min. 100 attempts) in those circumstances, Burrow has produced nine pickable passes for his 143 attempts under duress.

His pickable pass percentage of 6.29 under pressure is inferior to the average of 5.53 per cent for quarterbacks with at least 100 such throws.

The Cincinnati Bengals will hope the NFL has no reason to fine Tyreek Hill for celebrating once Sunday's AFC Championship Game with the Kansas City Chiefs is in the books.

Hill was not flagged for flashing the peace sign at a collection of Buffalo Bills defenders as he left them for dead while scoring a 64-yard touchdown in the Chiefs' remarkable 42-36 victory in the Divisional Round last Sunday.

That score marked one of the five lead changes after the two-minute warning in a contest viewed as one of the greatest in the history of the NFL playoffs.

While the officials on the field at the time did not see fit to penalise Hill for taunting, it was revealed on Saturday he was fined over $10,000 by the league for his actions in the act of scoring.

Hill and the Chiefs are heavy favourites to see off the Bengals and progress to a third successive Super Bowl.

However, after holding the Tennessee Titans to 16 points in their Divisional Round triumph, Cincinnati will look to keep Hill in check.

The Bengals did just that in their Week 17 win over the Chiefs, holding him to six catches for 40 yards.

And Cincinnati safety Vonn Bell made it clear earlier this week that the Bengals are ready for the test posed by Kansas City's speed on offense.

"They've got speed. They've got [Mecole] Hardman and they've got [Byron] Pringle, they've got [Hill]," Bell said. "It brings a lot of problems because it stretches you vertically. [Because] you want to take away these vertical threats and everything underneath.

"You've got [Jerick] McKinnon, you got [Clyde Edwards-Helaire] back, you got Travis [Kelce] sitting underneath in the soft of the zone. It was just like, 'Man, everybody's back deep and he's just by himself.' You've got to respect the speed, because it's like a roadrunner, we call them, and they just keep on rolling.

"That's why this team is so dynamic. You got guys like Hardman and [Hill] that can line up anywhere, backfield, anywhere they could do punt returns and they can create explosives everywhere. It's a unique group that they have, and it's a challenge for sure. We rise up to it and we're ready to take it on for sure."

 

There wasn't much value in being the favourite in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Three of the four underdogs, the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, prevailed to progress to Conference Championship weekend.

An incredible overtime win over the Buffalo Bills saw the Kansas City Chiefs, the sole favourite to prevail, join them in moving one game away from the Super Bowl.

Despite a victory in a game many have already labelled as the best playoff game of all time, the Chiefs' position in the Super Bowl odds by Stats Perform's rest-of-season projection has gone down, with the Rams leapfrogging them and taking their spot as the team most likely to lift the Lombardi Trophy on February 13.

So how has a week of action in which the Chiefs were victorious flipped the odds against Kansas City?

Hollywood ending in store for LA?

Rest-of-season or, in this case, postseason projection, projects every future game to give a predicted win percentage for each team across its remaining games. Rather than being a simulator of future games, the projections are calculated by looking at each team's quarterback and QB efficiency versus expected – performance in terms of yards added in expected passing situations – as well as team values for pass protection/pass rush, skill position players/coverage defenders and run blocking/run defense.

For the playoffs, the projection has been used to calculate each team's odds of winning a home game against every postseason team, with those predictions then used to forecast each franchise's chances of reaching and winning the Super Bowl.

Last week, prior to the Divisional games, the Chiefs were given a 27 per cent shot to win the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons, just ahead of the Rams on 26.3 per cent.

Following their respective victories, the Chiefs are viewed as having a 37.84 per cent chance of taking the silverware back to Missouri. The more likely outcome, at least according to ROS, is that the trophy stays at SoFi Stadium with the Rams, whose odds of winning it for only the second time in franchise history have ballooned to 38.21.

It is not a huge margin between the two, but the change at the top is enough to raise eyebrows given how devastating the Chiefs were on offense in defeating the Bills.

But the Rams' position as the new Super Bowl favourite is more a reflection of the potential opponents, rather than a commentary on the merits of the respective teams.

Another nail-biter for the Chiefs

Kansas City already has experience of one nerve-shredding Super Bowl with an NFC West opponent, coming back from 20-10 down in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers two years ago in Super Bowl LIV.

And ROS expects either a meeting with the Rams or a rematch with the Niners to be similarly tense.

The Chiefs would not be considered favourites in a home game with the Rams, Kansas City given just a 45.2 per cent chance to triumph.

That number improves significantly in a matchup with the 49ers, against whom the Chiefs have 58.2 per cent odds of winning a home game.

It is still not an overly decisive margin, however, and pales in comparison to the Rams' prospects of beating the alternative AFC representative, the Bengals.

Cincinnati would have just a 16.8 per cent shot of winning a road game with Los Angeles, and those odds improve to just 19.8 per cent in a home game.

In other words, while a close game likely beckons for the Chiefs regardless of who wins the NFC Championship Game, an upset win for the Bengals in Kansas City would make the Rams or the Niners (72.1 per cent home game, 67.2 per cent away game) clear favourites to win the Super Bowl on the neutral field site at SoFi Stadium.

The Bengals' status as rank outsiders even after making it this far is in part based on the struggles of an offensive line that ranked 25th in Stats Perform's pass protection win rate and allowed nine sacks in the Divisional Round win over the Tennessee Titans.

San Francisco (first), Los Angeles (second) and the Chiefs (15th) each ranked in the top half of the NFL in pass-rush win rate, meaning Cincinnati will be at a clear disadvantage in the trenches in the AFC Championship Game and in a potential Super Bowl matchup.

The 2021 NFL season has been full of surprises, but the numbers clearly point to the Rams playing in a home Super Bowl against the Chiefs. 

So, is everybody ready for Niners-Bengals?

Joe Burrow is well placed to cope with one of the NFL's loudest venues as the Cincinnati Bengals look to spring a huge upset and keep their Super Bowl dream alive.

That is the view of Bengals wider receiver Tyler Boyd as the Bengals prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

The Chiefs are playing in their fourth straight AFC Championship Game and seeking to reach a third consecutive Super Bowl.

Cincinnati have impressed in beating the Las Vegas Raiders and number one seed Tennessee Titans in the postseason so far.

But they must now find another level to beat a Chiefs squad led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the road, at a venue that is known for its vociferous home support. 

"It's really tough," Boyd said about the challenge facing the Bengals at Arrowhead.

"I think a lot of the guys and specifically Joe are kind of ready for that.

"Because guys like him and [Ja'Marr] Chase and guys who played in the SEC [Southeastern Conference], they played against opponents where there were hundreds of thousands of fans in the stadium.

"We're just going to have to be perfect on our hand signals and with the communication.

"We've got to stay locked in and keep eyes on the quarterback and he'll just get us in the right calls and we'll know what we will be doing."

The formidable Mahomes has reached the conference championship in all four of his seasons as a regular NFL starter.

At 26 years old, he will become the youngest QB to start in four different conference championship games, beating the record of Donovan McNabb, who was 28 at the time of his fourth such game in 2004.

But the Bengals and Burrow have hit form at the perfect time, a fine run that included winning in Week 17 against the Chiefs in a 34-31 thriller when they had home advantage.

Burrow has been in electric form and threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns in that statement victory, while Chase dominated the Chiefs with 11 catches for 266 yards and three scores.

That performance meant QB Burrow became the first player in NFL history with 400+ pass yards, 4+ pass TDs and zero INTs in consecutive games, having also done so in Week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Chase, meanwhile, broke the single-game rookie receiving yards record.

The rookie caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards with 13 TDs in an incredible season, forming part of an impressive receiving corps with Tee Higgins (74 catches for 1,091 yards) and Boyd (67 and 828).

Boyd agreed with recent assessments from coach Zac Taylor and Burrow that the unselfishness of the trio has been key to their success.

"It's because we all know how good we are as a group," Boyd said of the receivers. "We all have great friendships and we all care for each other. We all know our value in the league and on this team.

"So some games every guy can't get their rocks off when they want. Even when there are times where they probably have been open a few times and the ball is not coming their way.

"But at the end of the day, we all trust Joe to throw it to the guy that's open or he feels like he has the best chance on that specific play."

Now in his sixth season, Boyd is one of the longer-serving players in the Bengals roster having played 89 games, with this being his first postseason experience.

He said: "I'm all about winning now. I didn't have a 1,000-yard receiving season. I did everything I could do early in my career. But now at this point, I just want to win.

"I'm trying to get to and achieve the milestones that I've been wanting to reach early in my career.

"Guys are coming in now like Ja'Marr Chase and all the other guys that are stepping foot into this organisation.

"Joe Mixon and I and the other guys that have been here are replaying that voice in people's heads of what we want to be as a team. As a team perspective and not just single individual goals."

Despite being underdogs, the Bengals are dreaming of a Super Bowl berth against the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers.

Boyd said: "It feels great now to say that we are collectively a great unit all around and knowing that we have a superior team now. We can go out there and beat any team.

"I think in my lifetime [the Super Bowl] would probably be the biggest milestone for me, the best achievement in my whole sports career.

"That's the reason why I've been playing. I have been through a heck of a roller coaster ride, ups and downs and injuries and things like that.

"It's just like a dream come true. You wake up, then you're playing in the Super Bowl and you win and you talk Disney World and you have your kids and your family on the field.

"It's kind of a surreal feeling that I would love and want to go through. To even be a part of playing in some historic game, it would mean everything."

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