Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes overcame more than the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.
With a chance at advancing to the AFC Championship game at stake, Mahomes returned to start the second half after exiting Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars due to a right ankle injury.
The Chiefs announced with about six minutes left in the first half that Mahomes was questionable to return. It was a less-than-ideal scenario for Kansas City, although the situation enabled backup Chad Henne to leave his mark on the game as well.
Mahomes was hurt late in the first quarter when he was tackled by Jacksonville’s Arden Key and Corey Peters. Key fell on Mahomes’ right lower leg as Mahomes fell awkwardly to the ground.
Henne entered the game with 9:59 left in the second quarter, shortly after Mahomes was told by coach Andy Reid to go back to the locker room for an examination. Mahomes threw his helmet down in disgust.
“They’re trying to take care of me, and we have a bunch of great people over here, but it was going to take a lot to keep me out of a football game,” Mahomes said.
Mahomes, who said X-rays on his ankle were negative, returned to the Kansas City sideline during the possession, but he remained on the sideline in his jacket. Instead, he watched Henne drive the Chiefs 98 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown.
Upon his second-half return to the field, Mahomes went 4 of 7 for 50 yards in the third quarter and was 6 of 8 for 61 yards in the fourth with a touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 27-17 lead with 7:08 remaining. He even added 3 rushing yards after halftime.
Afterward, he already was looking ahead to next week.
“They haven’t diagnosed anything yet but I’ll be good to go,” Mahomes said, referring to next weekend’s AFC Championship Game.
ESPN reported late Saturday night that Mahomes will have an MRI on Sunday.
Mahomes completed 12 of 15 passes for 84 yards before heading to the locker room. He finished the game with 195 yards passing and two touchdowns, going 22-for-30.
Henne, 37, famously finished off a Kansas City playoff victory two seasons ago after Mahomes left with a concussion. The Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns 22-17 that day to reach the AFC title game.
“He’s been in the building every single day,” Mahomes said of Henne. “He’s made me so much of a better quarterback and the way he teaches me. Just the most ready-to-go-at-all-times quarterback. He stepped up and drove us 98 yards for a touchdown, which ended up being the difference in the game.”
–Field Level Media