Limped Mahomes ‘feels better than I thought’ after Chiefs win

Limped Mahomes ‘feels better than I thought’ after Chiefs win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes was able to return to the Kansas City Chiefs’ lineup despite an ankle injury in time to help them win the divisional round playoffs over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, giving them optimism that he would be ready to play in next Sunday’s AFC championship game.

However, neither Mahomes nor coach Andy Reid committed to having him play.

“It feels better than I thought it would now,” Mahomes said after the 27-20 win that put the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game for the fifth straight season. “Obviously I’m on a lot of adrenaline right now, so we’ll see how it feels. But I’m going to join the treatment and try to do everything I can to be as close to 100 percent as possible by next week. Fortunately for us, we played the game early on Saturday, so we have almost an extra half day for him to rest that ankle.”

Reid agreed.

“Let’s see how he does here in the next few days. It’s going to hurt, I know, but let’s see where he is,” he said. “She’s had this before and she was able to move on.”

Mahomes injured his ankle late in the first quarter, when he went down awkwardly after completing a pass to backup tight end Blake Bell. Although he was obviously favoring the ankle, Mahomes stayed in the game long enough to end the drive, which ended with a field goal that gave the Chiefs a 10-7 lead.

Mahomes initially resisted the Chiefs’ requests to retreat to the locker room for an X-ray of his ankle, though he eventually relented.

“I just wanted to keep playing,” Mahomes said. “I told (Reid) I would do it at halftime, but the coach, for my sake, made me go back there and get that X-ray before he put me back in the game.

“I thought he could play around with it and then he said, ‘I’m not going to put you back in, so you might as well go get the X-ray and then if it’s negative or whatever, I’ll put you in.’ again in.’ So I ran back there, got my x-ray and was able to finish the game.”

Ankle radiographs were negative. The Chiefs also had Mahomes do some agility drills.

“You have to make sure he’s physically where he can protect himself,” Reid said. “If he can’t, then he can’t play. You have to go next. But he’s a tough guy and… when I tell you he’s competitive, he’s very, very competitive. It was hard to get him.” out of the game.

“He came back and said he felt good enough not to get hurt. Obviously, that’s the main thing. He felt his mobility was good enough that he could do that. We did a few little things with him on the sidelines to see where he was, I tucked it in, and it was a short leash. If I felt like I wasn’t able to handle it, I would have been out.”

In Mahomes’ absence in the second quarter, backup quarterback Chad Henne led the Chiefs on what turned out to be a key drive. The Chiefs ran 98 yards for a touchdown, which came on a 1-yard pass from Henne to Travis Kelce.

Henne helped the Chiefs win a divisional-round playoff game two years ago when he finished with a win over the Cleveland Browns in place of an injured Mahomes. Then he completed a fourth down pass that allowed the Chiefs to continue into the fourth quarter.

“We know if it’s up to Pat, he’s going to be there,” said Kelce, who had 14 receptions, one shy of an NFL playoff record, and two touchdowns. “I’m sure he has some words with everyone on the sideline wanting to get back there as quickly as possible. But we had a veteran, Chad Henne, stepping up once again in the playoffs. Playoffs Chad, baby, we keep finding ways to win with him at QB”.

Mahomes completed 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He said the tender ankle affected his delivery on certain passes.

“There were just a couple of pitches here and there where I tried to plant that foot and he wouldn’t let me plant like I usually do,” Mahomes said. “So a couple of pitches I didn’t throw. I told the coach I still wanted to throw it out there and so we were able to make a few pitches there after the first few drives and I think he got a little bit confident that I could protect myself.”

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