On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs completed the 2023 regular season with a 13-12 road win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Seven starters who dressed for the Week 18 game — whose result could have no bearing on the postseason — didn’t play a single snap.
Five more starters were on the Kansas City sideline in street clothes. One of those was quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“I’m getting old, man,” the 28-year-old father of two joked to reporters on Tuesday. “I need a break every once in a while.”
But Mahomes spoke seriously, too.
“You just get healthy,” he noted as his team began preparations for Saturday’s Wild Card matchup against the Miami Dolphins. “I mean, I think that’s the biggest thing. Everybody’s a little banged-up here at the end of the season — [so it was good] to get guys rested and preparing their bodies.”
Head coach Andy Reid was glad his first-line players got a much-needed break.
“Just from a physical standpoint, you’re not getting the hits and running and all that,” he noted on Tuesday. “You know, the physical part. So I think that that’s a positive.”
Mahomes also felt that watching the team’s reserve players notch a win was invigorating — something else that he and his teammates probably needed.
“I thought it was an energy boost just to get to watch these other guys that work day in and day out [and] don’t get those opportunities,” he explained. “They [finally] got to get those opportunities — and they found a way to win a football game. So definitely, it was exciting for me.”
The quarterback acknowledged that this wasn’t the ideal way to get some rest before the playoffs.
“Over future seasons,” he promised, “I’m going to try to get that bye [week]. This year, we didn’t get the opportunity to get it. But we had whatever you want to call it — the rest — and we were able to watch some other guys go out there and succeed.”
But then, on the flight home, Mahomes got right to work.
“I watched a couple of games from each team that we had the chance of playing — and just kind of got a head start in that sense,” he said. “Once we knew who we were playing — I mean, we didn’t really know until we landed [back in Kansas City] — I got a good night’s rest. [Then I] had a long day yesterday watching a ton of film on Miami — and getting the game plan kind of down.
“But now, you’re kind of back to your regular week schedule. You try to go over all the finer details and the small points — but at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and play.”