Patrick Mahomes indicates grit in Chiefs’ win over Jaguars, is confident about ankle - The Athletic

KANSAS city, Mo. — Amid the Chiefs' most critical online game of the 2022 season, the five-adult dialog on the sideline all the way through Saturday's divisional round playoff online game against the Jacksonville Jaguars became not an alternate of concepts. as an alternative, it was a dictation from Andy Reid, a future hall of repute educate, to superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes of what mandatory to occur subsequent.

Surrounding Mahomes and Reid had been offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, quarterbacks educate Matt Nagy and Rick Burkholder, the vice chairman of activities medication. Mahomes pleaded with Reid, elevating his voice and even exhibiting his frustration through throwing his sideline coat to the ground. Reid stood firm in his choice, by no means altering his tone.

"If it's negative," Reid informed Mahomes, "I'll put you lower back in."

As directly as he might, Mahomes hobbled towards the Chiefs locker room, his appropriate ankle in pain and a series of X-rays waiting for. eventually the X-ray machine revealed that Mahomes didn't have a broken bone. once he heard the news, Mahomes had only 1 concept: He changed into getting himself lower back on the field inner Arrowhead Stadium to make sure the Chiefs season didn't end.

certainly, Mahomes, as he regularly does, accomplished his mission, because the Chiefs outlasted the Jaguars for a 27-20 victory Saturday afternoon.

"I'm not popping out of a playoff game unless they take me out," talked about Mahomes, who performed the whole 2d half with a sprained right ankle. "i like this activity too plenty. I'm completely satisfied that i was able to get returned within the game. I simply love competing during this game."

Mahomes related on 11 of his first 12 pass attempts for seventy seven yards and a touchdown. however late in the first quarter, Mahomes moved within the pocket to extend a play. After finishing the subsequent flow, he had his right ankle rolled up on by outside linebacker Arden Key. Mahomes automatically grimaced and struggled to flow. The Chiefs referred to as a timeout to give Mahomes greater time. The next snap changed into even more troubling, as Mahomes broadly speaking hopped on his left leg before and after handing the ball to operating lower back Jerick McKinnon on a run play.

Then came Reid's instructions all through the Jaguars' subsequent possession, simply moments after greater tape was utilized to Mahomes' appropriate ankle and foot to manipulate the swelling. Mahomes' advice to Reid was that he may wait to get his X-ray scans all through halftime, however Reid didn't budge, electing to have backup quarterback Chad Henne, a 15-year veteran, lead the offense.

"i assumed everyone around him did a pleasant job, too," Reid observed. "The smartest thing about that is all and sundry trusts Chad, the confidence the blokes have in him. the guys love Chad."

In 12 performs, Henne led the Chiefs on an miraculous ninety eight-yard power, a sequence of plays that featured short passes, rugged runs from rookie running returned Isiah Pacheco and the route-running skills of superstar tight conclusion Travis Kelce.

Henne accomplished the power with a 1-yard touchdown move to Kelce with an help from receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who ran an ideal rub path to open the way for Kelce. When Henne got to the Chiefs sideline, he turned into greeted by an severe Mahomes, who celebrated the landing by way of leaping in excitement and pumping his appropriate fist.

within the Chiefs locker room at halftime, Mahomes went via a few drills, reminiscent of testing his footwork while losing back, to persuade Reid he might still function smartly despite his mobility being hampered. It labored. Mahomes returned to the field initially of the 2d half as Chiefs fans chanted "M-V-P!" The Chiefs' first third-down play ended with Mahomes the use of his legs to get away the pocket, and faraway from shielding conclusion Roy Robertson-Harris, earlier than scrambling for the first down.

"That variety of advised me he changed into adequate," Reid pointed out of Mahomes, who will undergo an MRI on the ankle Sunday, a crew source tested to The Athletic. "I didn't need him to try this (scramble from the pocket), however I didn't tell him now not to. If (the player) can't do that, then they've bought to get out of the video game."

while the Chiefs offense then struggled in consecutive possessions, their protection offered plenty of guide in the 2nd half, which prevented the Jaguars from taking the lead at any element in the online game.

a mixture of veterans with postseason event and young, inexperienced avid gamers proved to be a top quality aggregate for the Chiefs protection to disrupt a Jaguars offense led via star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. in the back of protecting coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the unit produced an effective performance to conclusion the first half while Henne operated the offense. The move-rushing duo of celeb shielding address Chris Jones and defensive end Frank Clark pushed the Jaguars out of range to kick a box intention. Clark then accomplished with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and a timely sack.

"It gets to a point where, you understand, when the cash's on the road, you understand who to call on," pointed out Clark, whose 12 sacks within the postseason are the fourth-most in league background. "I'm a winner. i like profitable. in the event you get to the playoffs, it turns into a top class on making the appropriate play each play."

Following halftime, Spagnuolo did what he turned into established for: blitzing opposing quarterbacks. A blitz from safeguard Justin Reid become ample force for Lawrence to throw a "50-50 circulate" on the perimeter that was intercepted by way of rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson, who caught the ball with simplest his right hand.

"That's my favourite factor to do," Reid spoke of of blitzing. "When guys create a pass rush and drive the quarterback, that results in turnovers within the secondary. We couldn't have dialed it up any better."

in the meantime, Mahomes, who struggled at times with his accuracy in the 2d half, saved his foremost work for the most crucial second. The Jaguars scored their lone landing of the 2nd half early in the fourth quarter to reduce the Chiefs' cause three features. Mahomes spoke back by using navigating the pocket and completing passes in the center of the container to Kelce and a pivotal again-shoulder circulate to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

"happily for me, I'm no longer within the appropriate foot place all of the time, so I'm capable of make some throws like that anyway," Mahomes spoke of of having to adjust his throwing mechanics. "I got the ball out of my palms without delay and guys made performs. It's a group activity for a intent. the blokes stepped up around me."

The constant contributor within the Chiefs offense — and their most favorable matchup towards the Jaguars' defense — was Kelce, who was centered by using Mahomes and Henne a combined 17 instances. Kelce recorded 14 receptions, probably the most for a tight end in postseason background, for 99 yards and two touchdowns. coming into the game, the Jaguars ranked remaining in both success rate on passes to tight ends and EPA per play. The Jaguars in the normal season allowed 9.fifty four yards on regular to opponents when the opposing quarterback threw a circulate to the tight end. Most of Kelce's production became generated inside 10 yards of the road of scrimmage, as he caught all 13 of his ambitions in that area of the container for 84 yards, according to the NFL's subsequent Gen Stats.

"It's really all simply predicated off of how the protection reacts to what we're doing," Kelce said. "i used to be fortunate satisfactory to have the pride to be capable of make these plays. I take a great deal on myself to be in a position to make those plays, specifically once we need it probably the most."

Kelce's presence influenced the Jaguars' coverage in the red zone in the center of the fourth quarter. With the Jaguars assigning two defenders to Kelce, Valdes-Scantling knew all he crucial to do became beat cornerback Tyson Campbell on a slant to get open in the returned of the conclusion zone. Mahomes stepped up in the pocket and delivered a 6-yard soar pass to Valdes-Scantling, who changed into broad open in the lower back of the conclusion zone.

The play also marked the simplest time within the 2d half that Mahomes became hit via a defender.

"Pat getting up still excited and hobbling off the container simply suggests the durability that he has and the leader that he's," Valdes-Scantling stated of Mahomes, who become never sacked while passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns. "He become his equal self. There was no difference."

With Saturday's victory, Reid and Mahomes have guided the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game for a fifth consecutive yr, the second-longest streak in league historical past. The outdated 4 games have all been played at Arrowhead Stadium, and the fifth may be as neatly if the Cincinnati Bengals defeat the Buffalo bills in Sunday's divisional matchup. If the expenses win, the title video game could be performed in Atlanta, a impartial site for the reason that the bills were unable to play 17 video games within the commonplace season. (The Week 17 video game between the bills and Bengals became canceled after Damar Hamlin, the bills' 2d-year safety, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the box.)

In subsequent week's video game, Mahomes will attempt to replicate a feat he pulled off two years ago in the AFC Championship game, when the Chiefs bludgeoned the expenses to reach their 2nd consecutive tremendous Bowl. In that video game, Mahomes had a stellar efficiency despite sustaining a concussion and a torn plantar plate in his left foot, an harm also known as turf toe, the previous week in a win over the Cleveland Browns. He overwhelmed the bills by using recording 325 passing yards and three touchdowns while committing zero turnovers.

When it become time to exit Arrowhead, Mahomes left the locker room Saturday nighttime without a running boot. His gait became smoother than anticipated, too.

"It feels enhanced than i thought it changed into going to be," he said. "certainly I've acquired lots of adrenaline going at the moment, so we'll see the way it feels. I'll hop appropriate into the medication tonight and check out to do some thing i can to be as close to one hundred percent with the aid of subsequent week."

(photo of Patrick Mahomes: Scott Winters / Icon Sportswire by way of Getty photos)

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