AFC Championship: Bengals seek sweep against Chiefs

Cincy topped KC 34-31 in Week 17 to clinch division title

The Cincinnati Bengals will be looking for their third sweep of the season when they meet the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship on Sunday.

The Bengals swept the Ravens and Steelers in AFC North play, and now they are looking to repeat their Week 17 success against the Chiefs for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Cincinnati enters as a seven-point underdog, despite winning the first meeting three weeks ago in Cincinnati. The Bengals held the Chiefs to three points in the second half of a 34-31 victory at Paul Brown Stadium.

“It’s playoff football,” Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah said. “It’s gloves off. It’s a street fight. You’re saying we have tape on Kansas City. They have tape on us. You can say the exact same. That does not matter. We’re going to get their best shot. … It’s going to be different than the time before.”

The only thing that matters is getting the same result.

Under the radar

Much of the talk this week surrounding the Chiefs will center on Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, a University of Cincinnati product who has more than 1,000 yards receiving.

However, Uzomah quietly is having a solid postseason. The veteran tight end had seven catches for 71 yards Saturday against Tennessee, and that was after another solid outing in the wild card round when he caught six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Uzomah often flies under the radar with wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd garnering a lot of the attention, but that also helps free him up for more targets.

“I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get 8, 9, 10 targets and then here I get eight targets, so yeah, I mean they have to respect the outside guys,” Uzomah said. “They have to respect when you have a three-headed monster at receiver. They have to respect that, and they have to respect our run game and I’m glad I’m kind of under the radar and Joe just kind of checks it down to me or I get open -- and just randomly sometimes. I’m all for that. I’ll take what I can get and we’ll take what we can get as a team. I’m happy picking up some first downs for us and keeping those chains moving and doing my part in the passing game.”

Chiefs injury updates

Kansas City coach Andy Reid provided an update to local reporters Monday on star safety Tyrann Mathieu, saying he was showing improvement following the concussion he suffered in the first quarter of the divisional-round game against Buffalo.

Reid said Mathieu remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol but was feeling better Monday.

“He’s still in the (concussion) protocol, he’s still going through it, but he does feel good,” Reid said. “We’ll just see how that goes going forward.”

Sports radio host Bob Fescoe reported Tuesday that the Chiefs are expecting Mathieu and cornerback Rashad Fenton (back) to be ready to go Sunday. Fenton was questionable for the divisional round and inactive against the Bills.

As for the Bengals, Zac Taylor said Sunday that defensive end Trey Hendrickson “will be fine” after he appeared to come off injured late in the game Saturday at Tennessee, but defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) and defensive end Cam Sample (hamstring) are two players that will need monitored this week.

The Bengals were off Tuesday. The first injury report of the week will be out Wednesday after practice.

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