Patrick Mahomes, on injured ankle, returns to steer Chiefs previous Jaguars - The Washington publish

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KANSAS metropolis, Mo. — On his means out of the celebratory locker room, Patrick Mahomes slipped on a pair of gold sneakers, popped in his Invisalign and slung over his shoulder a black backpack. He walked, with out a great deal of a limp, right into a dim hallway, the place his spouse, Brittany, stood out in the small crowd through donning a protracted, vivid yellow coat.

Mahomes scooped up Sterling, their 1-12 months-historic daughter. "provide me a kiss?" he spoke of, and when she did, he grinned.

An older man approached and informed the quarterback he performed an excellent video game. "top notch to fulfill you!" Mahomes exclaimed. "I've heard loads of experiences." He hugged a woman who talked about she turned into somebody's mom and ushered over an adolescent who appeared too shy to ask for an image.

"You ok?" the kid asked the quarterback, who had gutted via a appropriate ankle injury to convey an MVP-priceless performance within the Kansas city Chiefs' 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars within the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.

Mahomes nodded; X-rays were poor. Mahomes advised reporters that he expects to be "able to go" subsequent week for the AFC championship online game, however all over his information conference, coach Andy Reid became extra measured, asserting it had been difficult to place Mahomes again in, given the severity of the harm. Reid gave the impression confident that Mahomes would play towards Cincinnati (in Kansas city) or Buffalo (in Atlanta) but refused to commit to beginning him. Backup Chad Henne performed smartly with Mahomes briefly sidelined, main a 12-play, 98-yard landing drive.

Amid the jubilation of Saturday night, when Mahomes helped Kansas city to a fifth straight AFC championship video game, there become additionally trepidation. Mahomes on one ankle became good ample to beat the upstart Jaguars with ascending quarterback Trevor Lawrence. however would he be just as in a position next week towards a more based rival — Joe Burrow of the Bengals or Josh Allen of the expenses?

"thankfully, we had been the Saturday afternoon video game," Mahomes mentioned. "I'll have an extra half a day to let the ankle rest."

"We comprehend that, if it's up to Pat, he's going to be in there," stated tight conclusion Travis Kelce, who finished with 14 catches, ninety eight yards and two touchdowns. He praised the coaching and unflappability of Henne. "Chad has been nothing however the most reliable he may also be all through all of that."

earlier than the harm, Mahomes was vintage. He was methodical, dicing up the Jaguars' defense with short throws — except on a 2nd and 5, when he buzzed two defenders with a sidearm throw for a 13-yard completion. "Oooh!" cooed the crowd, in no way seeming to tire of his magic.

however on the Chiefs' 2d power, as Mahomes stepped up in the pocket, Jaguars linebacker Arden Key launched himself at Mahomes's upper physique. Key didn't wrap his hands around Mahomes, so Key slid down, and most of his 240 pounds landed on Mahomes's right ankle, which folded backward. The quarterback screamed.

The Chiefs took a timeout. Mahomes ran to the bench, and a trainer right away and heavily wrapped his appropriate ankle with tape. The subsequent play, Reid called a handoff to working again Jerick McKinnon, however even simply jogging out of the trade, Mahomes regarded hobbled. On the next three performs, Reid managed the damage — a different run, two short throws — but on third and three, he called a dropback flow. The exact of the pocket burst open, making a gap Mahomes would consistently dart through for a first down, however this time, when he took off, he became too sluggish.

near the road of scrimmage, Mahomes saw a defender closing in and tried to throw the ball away, but it slipped out of his hand, touchdown a number of yards away — and on a really short list of things Mahomes has performed on a soccer container that looked unathletic. Kansas city settled for a field intention and a ten-7 lead.

On the sideline, Reid approached Mahomes. The quarterback entreated his teach now not to take him out. The teach advised his quarterback he wouldn't put him back in until X-rays got here lower back poor. Mahomes took off his heavy jacket and slammed it on the sideline earlier than hustling to the locker room.

In his stead, Reid despatched in Henne. The backup had come through for the Chiefs in key playoff moments before, however he faced a right away challenge. The Jaguars had pinned the Chiefs at the 2-yard line.

Jacksonville blitzed Henne twice on his first 5 passes, apparently in hopes of rattling him. however the 37-yr-ancient made calm, short decisions, firing a number of short passes to Kelce. Mahomes stood on the sideline in his helmet and a jacket as the Chiefs' surge to the conclusion zone, capped by means of a one-yard Kelce grab, gave them a 17-7 lead.

After halftime, Mahomes in brief warmed up and met with center Creed Humphrey. Mahomes advised the coaches he turned into changing his footwork on some plays beginning beneath middle to cut back the stress on his ankle. instead of shedding away from Humphrey by pivoting on his appropriate ankle, he would generally do it along with his left.

After a touchback, Mahomes ran returned in to the lead the Chiefs' huddle as the fanatics roared. however Mahomes flapped his hands down for quiet.

From the first play, one more run, it was clear Mahomes wasn't right. still, on third and one, he scrambled for a four-yard profit.

"form of told me he changed into ok," Reid observed.

The offense sputtered, notwithstanding, punting twice and kicking a container purpose for a 20-10 lead.

Jacksonville couldn't capitalize. teach Doug Pederson had a conservative game plan, including a heavy dose of first-down runs and swing passes. Lawrence had thrown one dime about 50 yards within the air, however his star broad receiver, Christian Kirk, dropped it. within the third quarter, past the bomb, Lawrence's normal depth of target turned into simply 2.ninety one yards.

in the fourth quarter, Pederson bought greater aggressive, and Lawrence delivered. The Jaguars slimmed their deficit to twenty-17 on Travis Etienne's four-yard touchdown run with 11:49 left.

Kansas metropolis, which is the closest aspect the NFL has to a dynasty, seemed to be in peril. Mahomes turned into hobbled, and the Jaguars regarded poised for a different unbelievable comeback.

but on the subsequent possession, Mahomes delivered one of the crucial top-rated drives of his profession. Reid depended on him, calling passes on 5 of the first six plays, and Mahomes sliced throughout the Jaguars with short, sharp cuts. He threw a dart down the left sideline for 16 yards to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

"without doubt I neglected some throws I suppose I might've made if I were in the correct foot place," Mahomes stated, grinning. "however fortunately for me, I'm not in the appropriate foot position all of the time, so I'm able to make some throws like that anyhow."

Following three straight runs, Mahomes fired a six-yard dot to wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 27-17 lead.

It became one of the most incredible drives of Mahomes's celebrated profession. It put the game a long way sufficient away that, when the Jaguars rallied late, it proved insufficient. It illustrated his longevity and capacity, even on one ankle: After the harm, Mahomes completed 12 of 18 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.

in the stadium, as Mahomes ran lower back to the bench, the gang sang along with the Beastie Boys: "You gotta fight! on your right! To parrrrrrr-ty!"

The phrases rang truer than they had all season.


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