Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did everything he could to stay on the field in the AFC divisional game’s 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night.
He also plans to do the same in the AFC championship.
Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain after Jaguars pass rusher Arden Key fell on his ankle in the first half of the game, according to multiple reports.
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Mahomes tried to take advantage of it, but the pain was too much and forced him to stay on the sidelines. Backup Chad Henne took over, while the MVP favorite received ankle treatment. Mahomes was clearly not happy with the Chiefs’ decision because he wanted to stay in the game.
However, Henne did well in relief, going 5-for-7 through the air with a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce before halftime to keep Kansas City in the lead. Mahomes would eventually return to the game, but he seemed limited and still ached with some ginger hops in that ankle.
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Moving forward, though, Mahomes promised NBC’s Melissa Stark that he’ll «be ready» once the AFC championship rolls around next week.
The Chiefs will play the winner of the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
It’s no secret that Mahomes’ ability to be basically a wizard in the pocket, coupled with Andy Reid’s cunning offensive schemes, make this Chiefs team the favorites to win another Super Bowl. But Mahomes’ ability to extend plays and pull off that magic comes from using his legs to avoid defenders and allow his receivers to spread.
The Chiefs will certainly do what they can to allow Mahomes to be more mobile, but a high ankle sprain typically takes weeks to fully heal.
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Since this is the playoffs and every game has a chance to end a season, Mahomes doesn’t care much about recovery.
In his time on the field Saturday, Mahomes was very efficient, going 22 of 30 through the air for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The first went to Kelce to kick off the game, followed by Márquez Valdés-Scantling in the fourth quarter to continue adding pressure on Jacksonville.
The Chiefs also got some help in the running game thanks to rookie Isiah Pacheco, who was crucial on that Henne touchdown drive as Mahomes ran to the locker room to wrap his ankle.
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The AFC championship will take place on January 29 in Kansas City, if the Bengals defeat the Bills, or in Atlanta, since the Bills played one game less than the Chiefs and a neutral site was agreed upon.
Associated Press contributed to this report.