Patrick Mahomes is making legendary moments every time he sets foot on the field. After the AFC divisional round matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there is no doubt that this game was another moment of greatness for Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes Hurts Ankle
In completing a pass to tight end Blake Bell, Mahomes was hit by two defenders who took him down to the ground, with one falling on his right leg, twisting it in an awkward direction.
When he hobbled off of the field, visibly frustrated, all of Chiefs kingdom held their breaths collectively. Backup quarterback Chad Henne, a former Jaguar, stepped in and was able to hold the fort down for Mahomes while he was getting that ankle checked out.
Chad Henne Leads Record Drive
Henne came right in and the Chiefs didn’t miss a beat. The journeyman lead them on a record 98-yard drive.
This was the second time Henne helped save Kansas City’s season. This game evoked the 2020 divisional round playoff game between the Chiefs and the Browns, when Mahomes got hurt and Henne had to step in temporarily during a run that culminated in a Super Bowl victory.
Mahomes Returns To Game With Bad Ankle
But enough of Chad. Mahomes is the hero of this chapter. Mahomes came back in after halftime with the Chiefs still holding onto a lead against the Jaguars.
Some doubted if Mahomes could prevail with a bum ankle and Trevor Lawrence leading the Jaguars on productive drives. One costly mistake could leapfrog the Jaguars into the AFC Championship.
Mahomes looked shaky at first, hobbling around the field trying to keep as much pressure away from that right ankle, but he was still trying to move the ball down the field with his offense relying on him.
But after a drive that saw them go three-and-out, Mahomes locked in, and all doubts about whether he could finish the Jags off dissipated.
Mahomes finished the game with 195 passing yards and two touchdowns. Those stats will never jump off the screen for Mahomes, but what we witnessed during the game was greatness. Still scrambling and making passes, carving the defense up on a bad ankle, and capping the win off by throwing a jump pass to a receiver in the back of the end zone just showcased his herculean effort while playing hurt.
Even though Henne was probably more than capable of securing the win the rest of the way for the Chiefs, Mahomes knew he had to play the rest of this game.
“I wanted just to continue to play,” Mahomes said. “I told [Reid] I would do it at halftime, but Coach, in the best interests of me, he made me go back there and get that X-ray before he put me back in the game,” Mahomes told ESPN.
Mahomes had to go through the process of evaluating a player’s health to make sure he can go back into a game after suffering an injury. This has been a crucial protocol since the various incidents and injuries involving the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa.
But Mahomes’ x-rays came back negative for his ankle, and that was the only way Head Coach Andy Reid dare let him back into that game.
“You’ve got to make sure he’s OK physically where he can protect himself,” Reid said after the game. “If he can’t then he can’t play. You have to go with the next guy. But he’s a tough nut and … when I tell you he’s competitive, he is very, very competitive. It was hard getting him out of the game.”
All eyes will be on Mahomes leading up to the Chiefs’ fifth straight AFC Championship game next Sunday. As they await the winner of the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals showdown, top priority will be making sure he’s fit and healthy. K.C.’s doctors and trainers will be monitoring that ankle intensively, and it will be interesting to see how it has progressed by next weekend.
Win or lose, Mahomes already has what every quarterback left in the field is chasing, a Super Bowl. This game was the stuff of legends and brings him closer to another ring.