As if it was ever really in doubt.
Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes confirmed on Friday that he had cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and would be ready to suit up and start in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium.
Head coach Andy Reid confirmed that Mahomes has been practicing in full throughout the week, taking all of the first-team snaps at Wednesday’s practice and the majority of them during Thursday’s session as well.
There was never really much doubt that a week-old concussion would hold the best player in football from leading his team on the field come Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Mahomes and the Chiefs’ third straight.
There, they will meet the surging Bills, who are playing in their first Championship game in over 25 years. Though the Bills will clearly not be happy just to be there, it’s tough to envision a scenario in which Mahomes plays and Buffalo wins. Don’t overthink it, just take the Chiefs -3 point spread at -125 odds on Betway.
Though the return of Mahomes for Sunday’s showdown was a foregone conclusion, that was certainly not the case last Sunday when the 25-year-old first went down with his concussion in the Divisional game against the Cleveland Browns.
Up 19-10 in the third quarter and driving for more, Mahomes took a quarterback keeper around the edge to pick up a short third-down conversion. However, the way Cleveland’s Mack Wilson wrapped Mahomes up resulted in the quarterback becoming extremely woozy, barely able to stand up. Chad Henne stepped in and finished off a field-goal drive before Mahomes was unsurprisingly ruled out for the rest of the game, much like Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson near the end of their playoff game the day before.
The Browns then drove down the field for a touchdown to make it 22-17. Then Henne threw a pick. The sky seemed to be falling for Reid and the Chiefs. There seemed to be only one possible scenario in which the Chiefs could lose this game, and it was playing out before eyes. But then, a stop by the defense. Then, on 3rd and 14, Henne scrambled for 13 yards, setting up a 4th and 1 near midfield. Reid was not going to punt it, he was going to go for the jugular: this was it.
Thanks to a combination of Tyreek Hill’s speed, Henne’s composure, Andy the Walrus’ belief in his players and especially the Walrus’ larger-than-average cajones, the Chiefs got the first down and sealed the win without Mahomes. The Browns only had a prayer to beat those Mahomes-less Chiefs, and now that the future greatest player of all time is back, the Bills are going to be in even more trouble.
Not to mention the fact wideout Sammy Watkins (calf), running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (hip, ankle), and Bashaud Breeland (concussion, shoulder)—the first two of which didn’t play last week—were all present and participating in Friday’s practice alongside Mahomes. We’re predicting a long Sunday night for Bills Mafia.