The Super Bowl matchup is set and the Cincinnati Bengals won't be partaking in the big game this year, unfortunately. While a lot of fans can recognize that there were other factors for why the Bengals lost the AFC Championship Game, there are still plenty that think the game was lost because of the officiating.
I'm not going to lie to you -- The officiating was bad.
That being said, the Bengals had the Chiefs right where they wanted them. Joe Burrow got the ball back before the two-minute warning and after completing a 3rd-and-long pass to Hayden Hurst, it felt like we were about to see a memorable finish once again.
Unfortunately, the Bengals had to punt not long after and well -- We know what happened from there.
Still, the course of the game could have been different had the officiating not been so bad. We won't ever know what happened had the Bengals not been on the bad side of the referees but for whatever reason, it might make people feel better if we talk about the bad decisions from the officiating crew.
3. Joe Mixon hit way out of bounds, flag not thrown
After Joe Burrow connected with Ja'Marr Chase on that insane 4th-and-6 play, the Bengals had 1st-and-Goal with a little over 14 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
On the first play in the goal-to-go scenario, Burrow got a quick pass off to Joe Mixon, who ran four yards and headed out of bounds after Justin Reid tackled him. While already out of bounds, Jaylen Watson came in and smacked right into Mixon.
No flag was thrown.
The Bengals didn't need the flag here, as Samaje Perine punched the ball into the end zone on the very next play, tying the game at 20 after Evan McPherson connected on the extra point. Still, Mixon was clearly out of bounds and being taken to the ground already when Watson came in and popped him.
It was an unnecessary hit and I'm surprised this wasn't called.
Fortunately, this didn't have a major impact on the game, as Cincinnati scored on the next play.