NFL

Mahomes overcomes injury as Chiefs beat Jaguars to reach AFC Championship Game

By Sports Desk January 21, 2023

Patrick Mahomes battled through an ankle injury to help the Kansas City Chiefs overcome the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Round.

Mahomes sat out the second quarter due to an injury suffered at the end of the first, but returned heavily strapped up as the Chiefs claimed a place in the AFC Championship Game with a 27-20 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.

The MVP favourite was ultimately crucial – his pass through to Marquez Valdes-Scantling restoring Kansas City's 10-point lead after Travis Etienne Jr had hauled the Jaguars to within touching distance in the final quarter.

Mahomes' speed and agility was too good for the Jacksonville defense early on, allowing Travis Kelce to go through.

Trevor Lawrence had his say with a 10-yard pass for Christian Kirk to level the scores at 7-7, when Mahomes suffered an apparent twist to his right ankle.

After attempting to return only to throw the ball to the ground for a field goal that was converted by Harrison Butker, Mahomes begrudgingly headed to the locker room and was listed as questionable.

He returned to the sideline to watch backup Chad Henne, a former Jaguars QB, send the brilliant Kelce over for his second touchdown.

Andy Reid gambled on Mahomes' fitness for the second half, and even though he was not moving freely, the 27-year-old soon scrambled for a first down.

A simple Mahomes pass to the open Kelce paved the way for Butker to drill over his second 50-yard field goal and nose the Chiefs further ahead, though Eitenne Jr's four-yard rush teed up a grandstand finale.

This was Mahomes' day, though, and he became the 11th player in NFL history with 30 or more passing TDs in the playoffs when he picked out Valdes-Scantling, with some superb defense, including a stunning interception from Jaylen Watson, getting the Super Bowl LIV champions into a fifth successive Conference Championship game, where they will meet the Cincinnati Bengals or the Buffalo Bills.

Riley Patterson's late punt made little difference as Chiefs coach Andy Reid reached 20 career postseason wins, moving level with Tom Landry. Only Bill Belichick has more (31).

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