Patrick Mahomes has had some stellar performances throughout his career, but as far as gutsiness goes, Sunday might have been his magnum opus.
The Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback played through an ankle injury to help lead the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl in four years. He threw for 326 yards with a pair of touchdowns in the 23-20 win over the Bengals, also rushing three times for eight yards. Five of those yards came on a third-down scramble that, with the help of Joseph Ossai’s unnecessary roughness penalty, set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal.
Given Mahomes' style of play, an ankle injury is about as bad a scenario as you could draw up for him. But he gutted it out, making clear after the game that he was in plenty of discomfort. It’s unclear where his health now stands with just under two weeks now to prepare for the Super Bowl, but he laid it all on the line Sunday and it paid off.
Ross Tucker thinks it was a legacy game.
“I thought yesterday was huge for his legacy. Huge,” Tucker said. “There’s a big difference between going to the Super Bowl three times in four years versus being 0-4 against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Huge difference. And then it’s the way he did it. I was picking the Bengals on every show I went on last week because I thought he’s not going to be able to be himself. He’s not going to be the full Mahomes. …
“To play the way he did -- he was clearly in pain, you could tell after a couple of those plays where he was hopping or whatever -- to gut it out, play the way that he did, I don’t have a ranking of Mahomes games, but it’s got to be top two or three for me. I’m extremely impressed. I think he’s the best player in the sport, and I don’t think it’s by a small margin.”
The Chiefs need Mahomes as close to 100 percent as possible if they want to beat the red-hot Eagles for the Lombardi Trophy. Mahomes probably won’t get a clean bill of health prior to Super Bowl Sunday, but he made clear against the Bengals that he doesn’t need to be in peak form to have a big impact against elite teams.
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