Mahomes, the consensus best quarterback in the NFL, had a rough day in his team’s divisional round playoff win against this year’s surprise NFL surprise package, first appearing to injure his foot in the first half before he was removed from the game after taking a heavy tackle from Browns linebacker Mack Wilson in the second half of Sunday’s pivotal game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Mahomes stayed down on the turf after what looked to be an innocuous hit by Wilson but concerns were amplified when Mahomes seemed to lose his footing as he attempted to stand, resembling more a punch-drunk boxer than a superstar NFL signal-caller.
The former NFL MVP was taken off the field and placed in concussion protocol before it was announced on the broadcast that his condition has been downgraded to ‘out’, leaving Mahomes’ backup Chad Henne – a man who has started just 4 games in the past 7 seasons – to carry the baton to the finish line and quell any hopes of a Browns comeback.
Mahomes’ injury will have been the source of heart palpitations for many of those watching the game at home – not least his mother, Randi, who quickly made her opinion known online.
The target of Mrs. Mahomes’ ire, Mack Wilson, quickly took to Twitter after the game to defend himself from accusations of dangerous play after being singled out by Randi Mahomes and legions of angry Chiefs fans.
But judging by the reaction of the man at the center of the media storm, Patrick Mahomes himself, it seems as though the issue has been left in the rear-view mirror.
If there was a last laugh to be had, it fell squarely with Mahomes and the Chiefs. Henne, suddenly cast into what was – by far – the biggest game of his life appeared to breathe life into Cleveland when he soared a long pass into the endzone directly into the waiting arms of Browns defender Karl Joseph.
But any signs of a late Browns resurgence were stifled when Henne rushed on a long 3rd and 14 to secure the game-winning first down to advance his team to the AFC Championship game where they will take on the Buffalo Bills.
The Browns, meanwhile, will take a pinch of comfort in the 22-17 defeat in their first trip to the playoffs in two decades, and just three years removed from their catastrophic 0-16 season.
Meanwhile, Chiefs fans now face an anxious wait on the status of Mahomes’ concussion ahead of next weekend’s season-defining game against the Bills.