Patrick Mahomes II brought the Kansas City Chiefs back to the Super Bowl with one good ankle, exceptional pain tolerance, and a surplus of grit and grit. He hopped, skipped, limped and stumbled past Burrow and the fearless Cincinnati Bengals. , at which point Bengals defensive end Joseph Osai’s lamentable thrust provided the yardage Harrison Butker needed to launch the game-winning field goal in the tiebreak from 45 yards.
With the Chiefs’ 23-20 victory, Mahomes reached his third Super Bowl in five seasons as an NFL starter, marking another career milestone for the 27-year-old already legendary quarterback. I was. A quarterback with an injury that would have sent many players off, after a week of constant rehab, Mahomes passed for his 326 yards and his two touchdowns, ultimately finishing him with 27 seconds. brought victory in The Chiefs reached another super-his bowl behind a string of memorable performances, starting with his rushing defensive tackle Chris Jones’ devastating pass. They won above all thanks to Mahomes’ unparalleled talent and irrepressible will.
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“He was in a lot of pain,” Mahomes Sr. said. “I’ve been texting him all week. He’s telling me, ‘Dad, I’m making progress, but I’m still hurting.'” I knew he was going to do it with guts. I’ve seen him do it in college. I’ve seen him do it. So I knew he was fine. “
Throughout the week, Mahomes needed constant care. He applied ice, heat, tape and resistance his band to his right ankle, which he sprained badly a week ago. That’s when Jacksonville’s Jaguars defensive Arden Key in his end slammed into his leg, bending it at a terrible angle. He lacked speed and mostly stayed in his pocket much like Michael Jordan stayed grounded in his prime. No one within the Chiefs organization doubted he would play, but that’s because he’s Patrick Mahomes.
Chiefs general manager Brett Beach said, “He was definitely more injured today than I thought.” “he had his ankles high [sprain]They are very painful. Some are absent for two or three weeks. But it’s no surprise that he’s able to pull it off and perform and play when he needs to. “
Mahomes’ playability began with a rare healing ability. In 2019, he sprained his left ankle in the first week and returned the following week. He dislocated his kneecap later that season and wanted to return soon. He missed only a few games with an injury that could threaten the player’s season.
“His mother has some different genes,” said Mahomes Sr., a retired MLB reliever. The athleticism comes from me, part of it comes from his mom.
“It’s just in his wiring,” Veach said. “From an early age he was always the ultimate competitor, and from an early age he was instilled with the will to win.”
Mahomes’ availability began with Chiefs assistant athletic trainer Julie Flameyer. She planned his rehabilitation and remained tethered to him inside the Chiefs’ facility. The focus was on increasing lateral movement.
“Thanks to Julie, I was on the field today!” Mahomes wrote on Twitter after the game. “We need everyone, but she’s been in control all week!”
Mahomes “lived in the training room,” said coach Andy Reed. Even at home, he added ice and heat constantly. Sometimes he asked his wife Brittany to come with him while he treated her ankle so he could see her children.
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At the end of Thursday’s practice, the Chiefs’ most intense session of the week, Mahomes decided the tape around his ankle was too restrictive. said Chad Hen of However, Mahomes needed tape to keep his ankle in place, so the trainer adjusted the tape application.
Even during rehab, Mahomes refused to take the snap off at practices.
Tight end Travis Kelce said, “There was no doubt that he was there.” I knew the fact that I was going to give everything I had.”
Mahomes knew the ankle would force him to make concessions. When he passed he relied strictly on the strength of his arms. “The hind legs, that’s all your power,” Henne said. Mahomes knew he would throw more quick passes and checkdowns than usual. The veteran Henne, who temporarily sacked Mahomes last week against Jacksonville, told the young quarterback, “Just hit the first open guy and don’t hit unnecessary.” Mahomes, usually a shoulder pad escape artist, stuck himself in a pocket.
“It didn’t have the usual burst,” said Mahomes.
Mahomes worked well in tight spaces, leading the Chiefs to a 13-10 halftime lead. The Bengals were gearing up as if Mahomes was going all out, but he adjusted his strategy as he found Mahomes tied to his pockets. No defender explained Mahomes’ scramble. On the rare plays where he tried to burst out of his pocket, his lack of acceleration prevented big gains. Before his final sprint, Mahomes had run for three yards he had only twice.
On the Chiefs’ second possession of the second half, Mahomes rolled to the left and escaped a blitz from linebacker Hakeem Davis Gaither. He saw Mekor Hardman open across the center and was forced to put down his right foot and twist his upper body to throw the pass. He knew stopping was his most painful act, he limped back into the huddle and his walking for the rest of the night was affected.
“They caught me [as] We got as close to 100% as we could,” said Mahomes.
The worst pain Mahomes felt in all of his matches came after the ball slipped out of his hands while attempting a quick pass. Unable to protect his ankles, he dived into the pile of his body. The Bengals came out with football. Mahomes staggered off the field. As the game progressed, he seemed to think about the position of his ankle with every step he took.
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“Today was much warmer than usual,” Henne said. “I always try to keep my feet loose just in case.
Mahomes operated with a reduced receiving force. Kelse injured his back in practice Friday and was unsure if he would play when he woke up on Sunday. Mahomes’ top two of his wide receivers, Juju Smith Schuester and Kadarius Toney, were sidelined with injuries. On his second drive from the end for the Chiefs, Mahomes scored a first down on a pass across his body, drifting left and passing wide to his receiver Marcus Kemp. Mahomes said Kemp was a rookie with him in 2017, so he was happy with Kemp.
The Chiefs’ defensive line overwhelmed Burrow and stalled Cincinnati’s final drive in the final minute of the fourth quarter. When the score was tied at 20, rookie Skye Moore returned Drew Chrisman’s ill-fated line drive punt 29 yards to Kansas City’s 47-yard line. Mahomes rushed onto the field with 30 seconds remaining.
Butker has one of the strongest legs in the NFL and can typically hit field goals from nearly 70 yards. Conditions have reduced his range. By the end of the game, the wind had dropped to near zero degrees, and the cold air made the football deflated on the inside and hard on the outside. In the warm-up, Butker said he fell short with a 55-yard try. He told coaches he has a 53-yard limit and he’s not sure he’ll make it.To give Butker a realistic chance, the Chiefs need the Bengals to get him 33 yards out his line. Until he has to go at least 20 yards.
The drive started with Mahomes’ lateral pass to Isaiah Pacheco. The Chiefs burned the final timeout. An incomplete pass put them in 3rd and 4th with 17 seconds remaining.
Mahomes took the shotgun snap and went back to his own 41. The Bengals’ defensive tackle Mahomes scooped it into his pocket as his tackle BJ Hill approached. He saw an open receiver and shuffled right around defensive end Sam Hubbard. A space opened up towards the sideline. If he ran, he would need to reach both the Cincinnati 43-yard line and the sidelines to sustain the drive. he ran.
“It’s just the heart,” Henne said. “He knew he needed to play there and put us in field goal position. It’s just heart and determination.”
As Mahomes approached the bystanders, Hubbard dove into him from behind and was unable to reach him.
“We have a family motto: players play,” said Mahomes Sr. “And he played.”
After Mahomes took two steps, Ossai pushed him to the ground. Officials threw flags at Mahomes as he slid across the yellowed grass near the Bengals’ bench, adding 15 yards and the Chiefs got the ball for his 27.
“You saw it all come together on that last play,” Kelce said. “Moments like that make being his teammate all the more special.”
Backer stepped onto the field. He swung his leg and hit a kick that he believed traveled about 65 yards on a normal day. Holder Tommy Townsend immediately hugged him, but Butker asked for confirmation.The ball floated just above the crossbar. Mahomes waved to his teammate off the field and realized he had three seconds left. The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl after the Bengals’ desperate kick return went nowhere.
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Mahomes arrives in Arizona to take on the Philadelphia Eagles with a fresh perspective. At 24, the Chiefs won his first Super Bowl in 50 years and won MVP. Since then, he’s been collecting competition scars. He suffered a crushing loss in the next Super Bowl, with the Chiefs blowing his 21-3 lead to the Bengals in his AFC championship last year.
“When I first entered the league, everything happened so quickly,” Mahomes said. “I won the MVP, I won the Super Bowl, and I thought that was exactly what it was. Now that I’ve dealt with failure, I know how much hard work and daily effort it takes.” So I’m excited to be in that game with the teammates I have.”
Mahomes climbed a podium built in the middle of the field, surrounded by teammates and Chiefs officials. After the televised ceremony, he hobbled over his railings, spotted his family below him, and waved. Brittany and Mahomes’ brother, Jackson, held the quarterback’s baby girl, Sterling, to him.
A few minutes later, Mahomes grabbed the side railing with both hands as he descended the stairs. For a moment he cradled the Lamar Hunt trophy in his left hand and his right arm around Brittany as she held the sterling. I posed for a photo that was the final image of the night that once again showed what it was like.