Kansas Metropolis Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (15) runs as Jacksonville Jaguars S Andre Cisco (5) defends throughout playoff recreation, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, AP Photograph/Ed Zurga
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes pleaded with Chiefs coach Andy Reid to let him keep within the recreation on Saturday.
He argued with trainers, assistant coaches and anybody else inside earshot on the Kansas Metropolis sideline to let him play via an injured proper ankle.
“I’m not popping out of a playoff recreation,” Mahomes would say later, “except they take me out.”
Effectively, the Chiefs did, forcing him to get X-rays late within the first half of their divisional recreation towards Jacksonville.
However once they got here again destructive, and Mahomes proved he might defend himself within the halftime locker room, Reid determined to let his All-Professional quarterback again on the sphere — and he gamely led them to victory.
Mahomes completed with 195 yards passing and two touchdowns, the second capping a 75-yard drive late within the fourth quarter, and lifted Kansas Metropolis to a 27-20 victory over the Jaguars and a spot in a fifth straight AFC championship recreation.
Mahomes additionally vowed to be prepared for subsequent week towards the winner of Sunday’s recreation between Cincinnati and Buffalo. If the Bengals win, they are going to be again at Arrowhead Stadium; if the Payments win, they’re headed to Atlanta.
Chad Henne led a 98-yard landing drive whereas Mahomes was out. Travis Kelce had a career-high 14 catches for 98 yards and two scores. Marquez Valdes-Scantling hauled within the eventual clinching TD move with about 7 minutes left within the recreation.
“It’s a credit score to the crew I’ve round me, the coaches round me and the group usually,” Mahomes stated. “We attempt to do no matter we are able to to be on this place, to get to the AFC championship recreation and discover a method to the Tremendous Bowl.”
The Jaguars, who rallied from a 27-0 deficit to beat the Chargers within the wild-card spherical, squandered two possibilities to mount one other late rally. The primary ended when Jamal Agnew had the ball pop unfastened contained in the Chiefs 5 with about 5 1/2 minutes to go, and the second when Jaylen Watson made a leaping, one-handed interception close to midfield.
The Jaguars’ last-gasp probability ended when Kansas Metropolis recovered an onside kick with 24 seconds to go.
Trevor Lawrence completed with 217 yards passing with a landing toss to Christian Kirk, who was briefly harm halfway via the fourth quarter however returned to complete the sport. Travis Etienne added 62 yards speeding and a landing.
“I don’t actually have the phrases proper now,” Lawrence added. “The Chiefs did extra in the present day than we did.”
Lengthy earlier than Mahomes hobbled to the sideline in ache, he was at his artistic greatest, driving the Chiefs downfield on their opening possession.
There was a shortstop-style sidearm sling to JuJu Smith-Schuster, a key third down move to Kelce as he was being dragged to the turf, and the flip move to his tight finish that gave Kansas Metropolis a 7-0 lead.
The Jaguars got here proper again, making the most of an enormous kickoff return and a brief discipline.
Lawrence, whose 4 landing throws helped to stun the Chargers final week, proceeded to hit Kirk for the matching landing.
Then, the complexion of the game changed.
Mahomes was transferring up within the pocket when Arden Key introduced the complete weight of his physique down on the quarterback’s ankle. Mahomes hobbled to the huddle and managed to get via three extra performs to finish the primary quarter, then was on the sphere two extra performs earlier than Harrison Butker kicked a 50-yard discipline purpose.
Throughout the Jaguars’ ensuing possession, Mahomes received right into a heated argument with Reid and the coaching employees. He then threw down his coat and headed to the locker room, forcing Henne to take over halfway via the second quarter, simply because the 37-year-old journeyman did two years in the past in a playoff win over Cleveland.
“Yeah, I didn’t wish to go, they usually sort of gave me the ultimatum that I wasn’t going again in except I went in there,” stated Mahomes, who cheered on Henne’s 98-yard drive from the sideline, sporting a puffy winter coat on a chilly, sleeting evening.
Because the second half started, although, that acquainted crimson No. 15 jersey was trotting again onto the sphere.
“It was a brief leash,” Reid acknowledged. “If I felt like he wasn’t capable of deal with it, he would have been out.”
His proper ankle closely taped, Mahomes struggled to maneuver round, however merely his presence appeared to calm the Chiefs — and their angst-filled fan base. Butker added a second 50-yard discipline purpose late within the third quarter to increase the result in 20-10, and when the AFC South champs answered with a landing of their very own, so did the Chiefs.
Mahomes drove them downfield for one final rating that proved to be the margin of victory.
“We all know that if it’s as much as Pat, he’s going to be in there. I’m certain he had some phrases with everybody on the sideline that he wished to be in there as quick as attainable,” Kelce stated afterward.
“It’s only a completely different feeling when one-five is in there. He could make something occur, even on one ankle.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Mahomes improved to 5-0 within the divisional spherical of the playoffs. He’s thrown 28 TD passes and three interceptions in 10 house playoff video games. … Henne was 5 of seven for 23 yards and a rating. … Jacksonville had eight wins as an underdog this season, tied for essentially the most within the Tremendous Bowl period.
The Chiefs wait to listen to whether or not they play the Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium or the Payments in Atlanta for a spot of their third Tremendous Bowl in 4 years. The Jaguars flip their consideration to the free company and the NFL draft.