Despite sustaining a right ankle injury in the AFC Divisional Round, hobbled quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the #1 Kansas City Chiefs to a 27-20 victory against the #4 Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. The Chiefs advanced to the AFC Championship game for a fifth postseason in a row.
On Sunday, the Chiefs revealed that Mahomes has a high ankle sprain injury after he underwent an MRI and other testing.
The Chiefs will meet the #3 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship, which is a rematch of last year’s title game. This will be a revenge game for the Chiefs. They lost to the Bengals in overtime, 27-24, last year.
On the other side of the AFC Divisional Round bracket, the Bengals crushed the #2 Bills in a 27-10 road victory to secure back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship.
The Chiefs opened as -2.5 betting favorites versus the Bengals when oddsmakers posted the opening line last night. The line in the AFC Championship has since moved to -1 with early money backing the Bengals to defeat the Chiefs again.
On Sunday evening, the Chiefs were +250 odds favorites to win Super Bowl LVII, and the Bengals were +275 on DraftKings’ futures board. However, as of Monday morning, the Chiefs are +260 odds, and the Bengals are +270 odds.
Mahomes Plays Through Injury, Chad Henne Steps Up
The Chiefs and Jaguars traded touchdowns to start the game. With the score tied at 7-7, Mahomes suffered an ankle injury late in the first quarter. Two defenders sandwiched Mahomes after he unleashed a pass to tight end Blake Bell. He fell to the turf in an awkward manner and stood up in obvious pain. Mahomes remained in the game, and the Chiefs added a field goal to take a 10-7 lead.
The Chiefs ordered Mahomes to the locker room for an X-ray. A peeved Mahomes slammed his helmet on the sidelines in frustration as he exited the field. Backup quarterback Chad Henne took over as the signal caller for the remainder of the half for the Chiefs.
A calm and cool Henne completed 5-for-7 passes for 23 yards and a touchdown. He completed a 98-yard drive with a touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce. That score put the Chiefs up 17-7. The Jaguars added a field goal to cut the deficit to 17-10 heading into halftime.
The X-rays were negative, and Mahomes returned to action in the second half. Harrison Butker from the Chiefs drilled a six-yard field goal as the only score from either team in the third quarter. The Chiefs led 20-10 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Jaguars running back Travis Etienne scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-17. On the ensuing possession, Mahomes hooked up with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a six-yard touchdown, which extended the Chiefs’ lead to 27-17.
Despite a late-field goal from the Jaguars, the Chiefs held on for a 27-20 victory. Mahomes finished the game with 195 passing yards and two touchdowns.
— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) January 21, 2023
Mahomes Had Similar Injury in 2019
Most high ankle sprains could knock out a quarterback for two to three weeks, but Mahomes said he’ll only need one week of rest and treatment.
“t feels better than I thought it was going to be,” Mahomes told reporters after the game. “Obviously, I have a lot of adrenaline going right now. So, we’ll see how it feels. I’ll hop right into treatment, and try to do whatever I can to be as close to 100% by next week. “
Mahomes does not think the ankle injury will prevent him from suiting up next Sunday. He intends to start in the AFC Championship game against the Bengals.
“Luckily for us, we played the early game on Saturday, so we get an extra almost half a day that I can let that ankle rest, ” added Mahomes.
Mahomes had a similar injury in the opening game of the 2019 season, but he did not miss any time. However, the high ankle sprain clearly limited his mobility in the ensuing games.
If the Chiefs defeat the Bengals on Sunday, then Mahomes will have 13 full days to rest before the Super Bowl.
“Let’s just see how it goes here the next couple days,” said head coach Andy Reid. “It’s going to be sore. He’s had this before, and he was able to keep pushing through.”
For a fifth postseason in a row, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a berth in the AFC title game. In four previous trips, Mahomes and the Chiefs won the AFC Championship twice and advanced to Super Bowl LIV and LV. The Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, but were the runner up in Super Bowl LV.
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