Patrick Mahomes overcomes ankle injury, Chiefs beat Jaguars and reach fifth straight AFC title game
Even on one leg, Patrick Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Despite a right ankle injury, Mahomes helped the Kansas City Chiefs advance to the AFC Championship game with a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.
Mahomes threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to regain a double-digit lead with 7:08 left while the Chiefs defense forced two turnovers in a three-and-out stretch games to finish off the Jaguars late in the fourth to stay alive every quarter. .
Mahomes finished 22 of 30 for 195 yards with two touchdown passes to help the Chiefs reach the AFC title game for the fifth straight season. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce led with 14 catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, one by Mahomes in the first quarter and one by backup Chad Henne during Mahome’s absence in the second quarter.
ANOTHER SUPER BOWL? Patrick Mahomes’ injured ankle could define his pursuit of a second ring
Kansas City awaits the winner of Sunday’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills at 3:00 pm ET.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for two touchdowns in the divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
If the Bengals win, the Chiefs will host the AFC title game in Kansas City in a repeat of last season. The Bengals won 27-24 in overtime last January.
If the Bills win, they will face the Chiefs in a neutral AFC title game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Chiefs have eliminated the Bills in the last two postseasons.
The NFL made this adjustment after Bills player Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on January 2nd, leading to the cancellation of a game between the Bills and the Bengals. Buffalo finished the regular season 13-3 while the Chiefs were 14-3.
The AFC title game takes place next Sunday at 18:30
Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury takes center stage
Mahomes was clearly affected by the ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter.
Mahomes ran to and from the Chiefs’ touchline with a leap and threw many passes with his heavily taped right foot, which was planted throughout the game.
Mahomes was able to withstand the pain he showed on his jump-pass touchdown against Valdes-Scantling, which gave Kansas City a 27-17 lead with 7:08 left.
Mahomes suffered the injury when he was tackled by Jaguars linebacker Arden Key and defensive end Corey Peters on a pass play with less than two minutes left in the first quarter. Mahome’s leg went sideways during the takedown.
Mahomes stayed in the game early in the second quarter for a field goal that ended in a 50-yard field goal by Harrison Butker. But he was replaced for the remainder of the second quarter by Chad Henne, the Chiefs’ 37-year-old backup.
Henne threw his first career playoff touchdown and connected on a one-yard score with Kelce to extend Kansas City’s lead to 17-7 with 3:54 left in halftime.
The Chiefs offense drove four times in the second half and needed a second 50-yard field goal to go up 20-10 in the fourth quarter.
Jaguars fail to take control, fall short in the fourth quarter
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, playing in his second career playoff game, kept Jacksonville in contention until Mahomes’ final touchdown throw. Lawrence completed 24 of 39 passes for 217 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Travis Etienne ran in a 4 yard touchdown run to cut the score to 20-17, 11:49 into the game.
But the upstart Jaguars, playing under first-year coach Doug Pederson, fail on the course.
Jaguars receiver Jamal Agnew made a catch inside the 10-yard line, and Lawrence threw to Chiefs rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson with 3:55 left, ending Jacksonville’s comeback.
The Jaguars added a 48-yard field goal late but were unable to recover the onside kick with 25 seconds remaining.
The Jaguars, the AFC South champions, won a thrilling wildcard playoff game against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers last week, coming back from a 27-point deficit.
But they turned in the dynasty of the Chiefs.
Chiefs playoff preview
Mahomes, Coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs continued their playoff success with another trip to the AFC Championship – their fifth in a row, tying them with the Oakland Raiders, who also had five straight AFC title games from 1973-77.
The Chiefs are hoping to make the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons. They won the Super Bowl in the 2019 season and lost to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.
Only the New England Patriots have had more straight AFC title games, with eight appearances from 2011 to 2018.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes plays through ankle injury to win NFL playoffs