The hearts were pumping at full steam in Kansas City Sunday Night for the AFC Championship Game. Even with the Antarctic temperatures — the Kansas City Chiefs knocked off the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on a Harrison Butler 45-yard field goal.
The Burrowhead phrase has been put to rest — buried in its proper place. Burrowhead is closed permanently. There was plenty of egregious chatter leading up to the game including the mayor of Cincinnati. Perhaps he himself is in hiding after the loss. Regardless, this was a game about redemption for many Chiefs players.
The Skyyshank Redemption: The Chiefs win AFC Championship with Unlikely Heroes
This game took on a story of attrition for the Chiefs, as their starting wide receivers kept falling down. But it was the guys on the field who stepped up when their number was called.
Rookie Skyy Moore who muffed punts during the season came up huge in the end. He pulled off an incredible 29-yard punt return to set up Patrick Mahomes and company. On a third down and four, Mahomes and his peg leg gimped for a run for the ages. He gave up his body for a first down. And a late hit put them in field goal range to win it.
The game was a dog fight. Physical battles involving bone-crunching hits on both sides. The Chiefs defense played out of this world.
Andy Reid spoke after the game. “Harrison Butker, what a redemption story,” said Reid. “He comes back after a high ankle sprain kind of moved this season in a different direction than he wanted for a period there and he came back and knocked it out. Skyy Moore, who had three the drops early, was called on to go out there and return and he did a great job with what ended up sealing the game.”
More and More Special Teams
There’s no doubt when the punt went off into the Kansas City air to Skyy Moore with seconds on the clock — fans were surely holding their breaths at frozen GEHA Stadium.
Moore came into training camp with plenty of hype and considerable optimism. After the punt return jeers echoed through the night when he strutted along the sideline to set up the kick. The utter silence was deafening. No one saw it coming. But Moore did more with the ball this time. It’s a true Skyyshank Redemption story.
Travis Kelce praised the rookie for one of the biggest plays of the game. “A guy like Skyy Moore who has had a few struggles early on this season,” said Kelce after the game. “He steps up to the plate and arguably makes the biggest play of the game on that punt return — and putting us in a position to get close enough to get a field goal. Those guys that work their tails off and don’t always get an opportunity in the game, for them to step up. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Redemption Tour Moves to Arizona for the Andy Reid Redemption
The redemption tour continues on to Arizona as Andy Reid and the Chiefs face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. Reid faces the team that fired him before heading to the Chiefs. Make no mistake, this will be one of the many storylines going into the game on February 9th.
There are so many other players who made a mark on this gut-wrenching AFC championship.
Another unsung hero was running back Jerick Mckinnon who suffered many injuries with other teams. “Man it’s tough. I don’t even know where to start, for real. I’m blessed man. I’m blessed. I’m blessed to be part of a great team and have great teammates and be on the way to the Super Bowl man. It’s a great feeling right now.”
These redemption stories are endless and never get old. This game showed the power of restoration. Not to mention, the faith of grown men coming together for one common goal — the Super Bowl!
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images