Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to make progress from the high ankle sprain he sustained last Saturday and he doesn’t expect any serious challenges in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
Mahomes said Thursday that the real test will come later in the week.
“We’ll see as we get closer and closer and we’ll see during the game,” he said. “You can’t fully do exactly what you’re going to be in those moments in the game but all I can do is prepare myself the best way possible.
“When we get in the game, you know adrenaline is going to take over and you can make those throws when you need to.”
Mahomes was injured when Arden Key of the Jacksonville Jaguars landed on his right leg during the first quarter of the divisional round. Mahomes fell awkwardly under the weight of Key’s body and missed the second quarter before returning for the second half of the 27-20 victory.
Mahomes tested the leg in practice on Wednesday and was encouraged and feels he will be close to full health on Sunday.
“You try to go as hard as you can and do exactly what you’d normally do on a normal Wednesday practice,” Mahomes said. “Luckily, Wednesday isn’t the hardest practice of the week but you’re able to do some stuff and move here and there. Today will be another test. It will be a little harder practice for speed.
“But like I said, you’re not going to be able to 100 percent prepare yourself for the game, but you do the best you can of putting yourself in those positions and hopefully by the end of the week you’re in a better spot and you can go out there and do what you need to do to win.”
Kansas City coach Andy Reid also said Mahomes is on the right track.
“He did a nice job and was comfortable with what we did,” Reid said. “… Just continue to work, not just with the ankle, but with the game plan and do what he has to do there.”
Reid wants Mahomes to use his normal mechanics when it comes to his throwing.
“His feet are doing OK right now,” Reid said. “He can still move them so he’s not throwing with all arm. But he’s got a good enough arm. You’ve seen him do it where he will throw some balls flat-footed.”
Mahomes is a finalist for NFL MVP honors after passing for 41 touchdowns and a career-high 5,250 yards during the regular season.
The sixth-year pro is getting advice on many fronts about how to handle the ankle situation. One call he received was from the legendary Tom Brady.
“I talked to Tom. I have a good relationship with him now,” said Mahomes, the emphasis on “now” prompting laughter in the room. “He gives me good advice to help me. Why would you not to want to hear from the G.O.A.T., man?
“Anytime somebody like that wants to give me advice, I’ll take it in. It’s cool to see the guys you watched growing up all your life be able to talk to you on that type of platform.”
With so much focus planted on Mahomes’ ankle, there hasn’t been a lot of chatter about Kansas City’s recent problems with the Bengals. Cincinnati has won the past three meetings, including a 27-24 overtime win in last season’s AFC title game, also in Kansas City.
Perhaps due to that track record, there are some who view the Bengals as the team most likely to win Sunday.
“Every time I walk on that field, I don’t think I’m the underdog, especially when I walk on Arrowhead’s field,” Mahomes said. “I just go in with the mindset that we’re expecting to win. We know we are playing a great football team that has beaten us the last three times. So we have to learn from the mistakes in the past and be better in order to be able to win against a great football team.”
–Field Level Media