By Adam Bakr
Once again with his high ankle sprain, Patrick Mahomes changed the game with a fourth-quarter scramble. Last time, a late hit turned his 4-yard run into a 19-yard gain to get into field goal range. In the Super Bowl, his season-long 26-yard-run put the Kansas City Chiefs in position to run out the clock.
At midfield, as the pocket was beginning to collapse, a lane opened up for Mahomes. Kyzir White left the middle of the field, presumably to keep Mahomes from scrambling outside of the pocket, and T.J. Edwards followed Travis Kelce in motion to the other side. With both linebackers out of the picture, Mahomes ran all the way into the red zone before White caught up to bring him down.
Coming into the game, it was a play you expected Mahomes could make with two weeks to rest after the AFC championship game. Going into the half, his health was again unknown. Mahomes hobbled off the field and was in visible pain on the bench after being taken down by Edwards.
“Once you have that high ankle sprain, any tweak like that really magnifies it,” Mahomes said. “Coming into the game, I felt way better than I did in the Cincinnati game. That happened, luckily we were able to get in at halftime, get some new tape on there and try to get some mobility back. It was something I was going to play through, but I’m glad I can get some rest on it now.”
Overall, Mahomes ran for his second-highest rushing total of the season. He finished with 44 yards and effectively had 51 yards on four carries before taking two kneel downs to set up the game-winning kick. His late run overshadowed it, but his 14-yard run early in the second half put the Chiefs inside the 5-yard line to set up the opening touchdown of the second half.
Now, after playing through that injury for the past 10 quarters, Mahomes can go into the offseason to fully recover. Last year, with a new receiving core, Mahomes started the offseason early and met with the receivers in Dallas before OTA’s. The injury should not change the outlook of this offseason too much.
“I’ll be ready for OTA’s and everything like that,” Mahomes said. “Obviously we’ll have to continue the rehab and treatment that we were doing and give it some rest. I think the best thing for it is going to be resting. Just try to make sure when we get to OTA’s, I’m ready to go. The one thing that might take a hit is my golf game. I’ll have to take a few weeks off from that.”
Adam Bakr is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter here.