3 unsung heroes in Chiefs' AFC Championship Game win over Bengals


The Kansas City Chiefs needed a village to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

Each of the three phases of the game combined to put together an impressive performance in the face of injury-related adversity. Some key players stepped up to make a difference, but there are also a few unsung heroes. Their performances were instrumental to the win, but they've flown a bit under the radar since the clock struck double zeroes.

Here's a look at an unsung hero for the Chiefs from each phase of the game:

DE Mike Danna


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Danna was a relentless presence in both the run game and the passing game on Sunday. He finished the game with the fourth-most pressures on the team (3), behind Carlos Dunlap, Frank Clark and Chris Jones per PFF. That includes a near-sack on third down stalling one of the Bengals' first drives of the game.

At times he reduced down and played on the defensive interior, but other times he was asked to defend the edge and came up with a great play like this.

Danna was hustling around and making plays throughout the game, making the most of all of his opportunities. That's about all you can ask for in a win-or-go-home situation.

P Tommy Townsend


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Townsend was phenomenal punting the ball on Sunday. The Chiefs had to punt the ball away four times against the Bengals. Three of his four punts landed within the 20-yard line, giving Cincinnati an average starting field position of their own 10-yard line. Given how great the pass rush was all game, Townsend's punting really helped put the Bengals in a bind.

For as much grief as Townsend received for potential issues as a holder earlier this season, the kicking operation was as smooth as could be. Harrison Butker was perfect on extra points and field goals, including the game-winner. Townsend should get a piece of the credit for that as well.

WR Marcus Kemp


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Kemp has been with the Chiefs off and on since 2017. He found himself thrust into a huge role in the AFC title game when Kadarius Toney, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman exited the game with injuries. Kemp ended up playing the most offensive snaps he ever had in a single game in Kansas City. He also caught a key 13-yard pass in the fourth quarter to extend the drive and take more time off the clock.

Patrick Mahomes gave Kemp a ton of credit following the game.

"The good thing about having a guy like (Marcus) Kemp is he was the guy I was throwing to in scout team in training camp my first year here," Mahomes explained. "So, I've built up that trust in him and know he's going to be in the right spot. Every time he gets in he seems like he made something good happen so I was happy for him."

Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire


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