New York Post
Hobbled Mahomes to play for AFC title, says coach
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday that Patrick Mahomes will play in the AFC title game against the Bengals, and that the high ankle sprain the All-Pro quarterback sustained against the Jaguars last weekend is less severe than the one he played through during the 2019 season opener.
“He’s going to play,” Reid told a group of local reporters. “That’s his mindset.”
Mahomes was hurt in the first quarter of Saturday’s win over Jacksonville when pass rusher Arden Key landed heavily on his right ankle. Mahomes finished the drive but was hobbling badly, and Reid and the training staff forced him to get an X-ray — it came back negative — and do some agility testing at halftime before allowing him back in the game.
In the meantime, backup Chad Henne led the Chiefs on a 12play, 98-yard touchdown drive in the 27-20 victory.
Mahomes played well in the second half, but the Chiefs dramatically altered their offense to account for his reduced mobility.
Mahomes rarely went under center and threw almost exclusively from the pocket, rather than scrambling to buy time and make the many off-schedule throws that have made him so dynamic over the years.
He still threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns, including the eventual clincher with about 7 minutes to play.
Mahomes said afterward that his ankle felt better than expected and he vowed to play in the AFC title game — the fifth consecutive one hosted by Kansas City and a rematch of last year’s game won by Cincinnati in overtime.
“Pain is pain,” Mahomes said. “You’re going to have to deal with it.”
Reid said it was too early to tell how much Mahomes will practice this week. The Chiefs typically spend Monday reviewing film and getting treatment, then the players get Tuesday off, before their first full practice on Wednesday.
“When we get to that Wednesday practice we’ll see where we’re at,” Reid said. “I’ve got to see how he feels.”
Asked whether Mahomes could play without practice, Reid replied: “Who the heck knows?”
“He’s done some amazing things with limited time,” Reid added. “I think so. He’s never had to do it.”
Mahomes sustained a similar ankle injury in the 2019 opener against Jacksonville, and Reid said “I think this one isn’t quite as bad as that one.”
In that case, Mahomes played the following week in Oakland, going 30 of 44 for 443 yards and four TD passes without an interception in a 28-10 win over the Raiders.
Regardless of whether Mahomes practices, Henne is likely to get more repetitions than usual. And while the quarterbacks have vastly different styles, Reid doesn’t believe they will dramatically alter the Chiefs’ game plan.
“We try to keep open communication with the quarterbacks as best we can,” he said. “We’ve had Chad here a while now. We know the plays he likes and doesn’t like. We also know the plays that Pat likes and doesn’t like. We try to blend it and make sure that we have plays that work for both of them.”