The Kansas City Chiefs won their Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday afternoon despite an injury scare to quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Midway through the first quarter, Mahomes’ right ankle was bent sideways between two Jaguars players.
Mahomes initially stayed in the game before exiting and heading to the locker room for X-rays.
“It was hard getting him out of the game, first of all,” recalled head coach Andy Reid. “He wanted to fight, and so we got him out, went to the X-ray, got an X-ray, looked at, taped. He came back, and he said he felt good enough to be protected, where he’s not going to get hurt. That’s obviously the primary thing.”
While backup Chad Henne was orchestrating a key touchdown drive to extend the Chiefs’ lead to 17-7, the Chiefs’ athletic training staff tested to ensure Mahomes could resume playing. As Reid noted, those tests apparently happened against the quarterback’s will.
“I didn’t want to go get the X-rays or whatever it was,” said Mahomes. “I wanted to just continue to play. I told them I would do it at halftime. Coach — in the best interest of me — he made me go back there and get that X-ray before he put me back in the game. For a while, I thought I could play through it — and then he said, ‘I’m not putting you back in, so you might as well get the X-ray. If it’s negative, I’ll put you back in.’
“I ran back there, got the X-ray and was able to finish the game.”
Mahomes admitted he was pretty nervous, and he turned to prayer as he went through the X-rays. Meanwhile, Henne wrapped up the half as the athletic training staff confirmed his tests were negative. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later reported no fracture but a high-ankle sprain. ESPN’s Adam Schefter added Mahomes would undergo an MRI sometime soon.
Mahomes reentered the game in the third quarter. Reid explained that he only felt comfortable once he knew Mahomes could put weight on an ankle that wasn’t broken.
“You felt like his mobility was good enough where he can do that,” said Reid. “We did a few little things with him on the sideline to see where he was at. [We] put him in and it was short leash. If I felt like he wasn’t able to handle it, he would have been out — and back in Henne [would go].”
Mahomes was 10 of 15 for 111 yards in the second half, finishing 22 of 30 for 195 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
“There were a couple throws here and there (in the second half) where I tried to plant off that foot, and it didn’t let me plant like I usually do — and so, a couple throws I didn’t make,” said Mahomes. “I told coach I want to still throw it downfield and so we were able to make some throws there after the first few drives, and I think he got a little confidence I could protect myself. Credit to our defense, holding us in that game — especially at the start of that second half when I wasn’t able to get stuff going. They held us in that game, made some big plays in the end, and we were able to score enough points to win.”
Mahomes felt good enough on the ankle to throw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to help win the game.
“I went down because I kind of jumped and landed on the same ankle, but I had to find a way to get the ball in the end zone, and Marquez was there and I needed to make the throw,” he said. “He stepped up and made a big play there at the end of the game to win it.”
About 45 minutes after the final whistle, Mahomes reported he was feeling good.
‘“It feels better than I thought it was going to be now,” said Mahomes. “Obviously, I have a lot of adrenaline going right now, so we’ll see how it feels. But I’ll hop right into treatment tonight, and try to do whatever I can to be as close to 100% by next week. Luckily for us, we played the early game on Saturday, so we get an extra half a day that I can let that ankle rest.”
Though Reid knows Mahomes won’t want to miss any time, the Chiefs plan to take the injury day by day.
“I don’t want to jump to things right now,” said Reid. “Let’s just see how it goes here the next couple days. It’s going to be sore, I know. Let’s see where he’s at. He’s had this before and he was able to keep pushing through — actually, against Jacksonvlle a couple years ago. The same type of deal. He pushed through that. The main thing is that he’s as safe as you could be on a football field. That’s the important thing.”
Reid referenced the Chiefs’ Super Bowl season when Mahomes played through an ankle issue he suffered in Week 1. The quarterback did not truly rest the ankle until a midseason knee injury cost him two games.
Of course, Kansas City went on to raise the Lombardi trophy.
“I’m not coming out of a playoff game unless they take me out, so I’m just going to play,” said Mahomes. “I love this sport too much. I love this game. I love playing with my teammates and being able to go out there and enjoy it together. We prepare all year to be in the playoffs and to play in these games. I’m glad that I was able to get back in the game. It’s something — I just love competing in this sport and pain is pain. You’re going to have to deal with it either way.”
“He’s a tough kid,” added Reid. “He wanted to be in there. He wanted to be competing. And that’s a tribute to him and his competitiveness. However, you got to make sure he’s OK, physically OK where he can protect himself, and if he can’t, then he can’t play. You have to go with the next guy. He’s a tough nut. And when I tell you he’s competitive, he’s very, very competitive.”