Already recognized as the NFL’s best quarterback, Patrick Mahomes added to his legendary status in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday by leading his Kansas City Chiefs to a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. The success sends the Chiefs to the Super Bowl next weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles.

It should be noted that I will preview the Super Bowl matchup in next week’s issue.

First of all, let me remind you that Mahomes, in the previous week’s playoff win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, sustained a high right ankle sprain, an injury that usually sidelines players for a minimum of two weeks and usually more than that.

It was clear that Mahomes was still feeling the effects of the injury. Still, he put up his normal passing stat line.

But it was a running play by Mahomes that added to his legacy. With less than a minute showing on the fourth quarter clock and Kansas City having already spent its final timeout, he performed more magic. Mahomes, on his gimpy ankle in a game tied at 20-20 and on third-and-4 from the Cincinnati 47-yard line, took off down the sideline for a first down run. Watching the play, you would not have known Mahomes was injured. He ran like it was his last play of the year while having to know he was risking further injury.

A late-hit penalty was called, adding 15 yards to the 5-yard Mahomes scramble, setting Kansas City up for the potential win. Harrison Butker nailed a 45-yard field goal to send the Chiefs to a third Super Bowl in the past four years.

Mahomes is playing in his fifth season as a starter and is headed to his third Super Bowl after having played in his fifth consecutive conference championship. He’s already been a league MVP and is likely going to win the award again this year.

Playing on the ankle that would have sidelined 90 percent of quarterbacks, Mahomes completed 29-of 43 passes for 326 yards and two TDs. Simply put, he gutted it out on essentially one leg and produced numbers that most NFL quarterbacks would produce on their best days.

Mahomes carried his team. He did so with his running backs rushing for 34 yards on 17 carries and with three of his top receivers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney, all leaving the game at points with injuries. Still, he completed passes to 10 different players.

The Mahomes legend continues to grow.
Patrick Mahomes