Patrick Mahomes makes uncharacteristic error vs. Bengals, loses fumble after ball slips out of hand on throw

Patrick Mahomes made an uncharacteristic error that kept the Bengals in the AFC championship. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is normally as clutch as they come. But Mahomes made a key error against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in the AFC championship that kept the Bengals alive.

Mahomes' error came at the end of the third quarter. On the team's previous offensive drive, Mahomes fired a touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to give Kansas City a 7-point lead. The Chiefs forced a three-and-out on defense, putting Mahomes in a position to make it a two-score game with just a quarter to play.

Mahomes looked ready to deliver early in the drive, hitting Valdes-Scantling on a 25-yard gain. With the Chiefs at the Bengals' 40-yard line, Mahomes took a snap in shotgun and turned to throw a quick screen pass to Valdes-Scantling. As Mahomes brought the ball up to throwing position, it slipped out of his hand and landed on the ground.

The Bengals jumped on the ball before Mahomes could recover the fumble.

The play had massive consequences for the Chiefs. Six plays later, Cincinnati scored a touchdown and kicked an extra point to tie things up 20-20. The Bengals were nearly stopped on the drive, but Joe Burrow connected with Ja'Marr Chase on a fantastic 35-yard gain on fourth-and-6 to keep the team's hopes alive.

The fumble marked one of the few missteps for Mahomes all night. Despite a high-ankle sprain that left Mahomes hobbling after some throws, he finished the 23-20 win with 326 passing yards and two touchdown passes against the Bengals.