The Chiefs beat the Jaguars for the AFC title game, but Patrick Mahomes’ ankle is a major concern

the Kansas City Chiefs He won a divisional playoff. They will return to the AFC Championship game. There won’t be much celebration.

Part of the reason is that the Chiefs are so used to advancing to the NFL Final Four. It is their fifth consecutive trip to the AFC Championship match. But mostly because everyone in Kansas City will be talking about it for eight days Patrick MahomesAnkle.

Mahomes suffered a sprained ankle In Saturday’s 27-20 win over Jacksonville Jaguars, an injury that often takes weeks to heal. Mahomes missed one series and returned to play. But everyone saw Mahomes teeter on his bad ankle, and he even jumped off the field in pain after a massive fourth-quarter touchdown pass. Kansas City may have outrun the Jaguars with a healthy Mahomes for four quarters, but with Mahomes struggling to neatly off Plant’s injured ankle, Jacksonville stayed in the game until late.

Mahomes is the best player in the NFL And the best quarterback in the game, even if he’s 75 percent better than anyone else in the league. That’s why he was in the second half despite the injury. The Chiefs’ decision was rewarded when Mahomes came up with a big drive, capped by a touchdown pass to Marques Valdez-Scantling, after the Jaguars cut the Chiefs’ lead to 20-17 in the fourth quarter. It was an amazing moment.

But next Sunday night he will also face the Chiefs Joe Burrow affiliate Cincinnati Bengals Or Josh Allen from Buffalo bills, two of the few quarterbacks who are even close to Mahomes’ separation. “I’ll be fine,” Mahomes told NBC Saturday about starting the AFC Championship game. “But there will be some concern about how effective it will be.”

Patrick Mahomes was injured early

Bosses are built differently than everyone else. This is because there is only one Mahomes to go around.

Kansas City is average on defense and away from it Travis Kelsey They have a fine pool of skill position players. It doesn’t matter. Mahomes and coach Andy Reid are all-time greats, and they cover it all. We saw that early in the Jaguars game, when he made some amazing plays in the first quarter, including a Silly jump passon the way to give the Chiefs an early 7-0 lead.

This is why dropping Mahomes’ injury is such a big deal. When your operation relies heavily on one player, a major hit to that player changes everything.

Mahomes was dropped by the Jaguars’ linebacker Arden K, with the key landing on Mahomes’ right ankle. Mahomes limped for a while before the Chiefs sent him to the locker room for x-rays.

There was a key moment in the game when Mahomes returned to the locker room. The Jaguars made a downed punt at their own 2-yard line. Chad Heaney I entered the game. The Jaguars got a chance to get the Chiefs off the field and get into good position in a 10-7 game. instead, Henne and the running game led the Chiefs downfield for 98 yardscapped off by catcher Travis Kelsey.

When Mahomes returned on the restart, the offense wasn’t quite the same. Chiefs punted twice in a row to start the second half after not taking kicks once before halftime. It was clear that Mahomes was in pain. But Jaguar could not take full advantage.

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs led his team to victory over the Jaguars despite an ankle injury.  (Photo by David Youllett/Getty Images)

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs led his team to victory over the Jaguars despite an ankle injury. (Photo by David Youllett/Getty Images)

Defense heads come big

The Chiefs defense came out big when it had to. This will not be a game where Mahomes and the offense hit 40 points. Kansas City was facing quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and did well to limit the Jaguars’ offense.

The Jaguars caught an early touchdown pass to Christian Kirk to tie it 7-7 but Lawrence didn’t do much through three quarters. Kansas City kicked a field goal late in the third quarter and took a 20-10 lead.

Jaguars replied. Jacksonville had the best since the first quarter and Travis Etienne Jr He scored a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 20-17.

Mahomes had a big drive after that and made a signing. He had a jump pass on that bad ankle for a touchdown pass to Valdes-Scantling for a 27-17 lead. Mahomes jumped off the field after that play, his ankle visibly hurting. This drive and touchdown would add to Mahomes’ growing legacy. Mahomes battled through a grueling injury and delivered when the Chiefs were in danger of an upset.

The Jaguars had a small chance after that when they drove inside the Chiefs’ 10-yard line, but Jamal Agnew After fumbling inside the 5, the Chiefs recovered with 5:29 to go and that practically put the game away. When the Jaguars got the ball back, Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson picked off a forced touchdown pass by Lawrence.

The Jaguars got a late field goal but were unable to recover the onside kick.

Mahomes deserves credit for his toughness and leading the Chiefs on a key fourth quarter touchdown drive when they needed it. But the Chiefs aren’t worried about winning divisional rounds. Injury reports over the next week will go a long way in determining whether they go to another Super Bowl.

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