Despite ankle injury, Patrick Mahomes posts strong first half in AFC Championship Game
Patrick Mahomes entered Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at less than 100% after injuring his ankle in last weekend’s Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even so, the Kansas City quarterback played a mistake-free half against the Bengals, giving his team a 13-6 lead at the break.
Kansas City kicked field goals on its first two drives, then showed a bit of trust in the banged-up star quarterback by letting him throw on a fourth-and-1 in the red zone.
Mahomes, who had no backfield help on the play, rolled to his right, patiently waited and found tight end Travis Kelce for the lone touchdown of the first half.
Mahomes. Kelce. Every time.
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— NFL (@NFL) January 30, 2023
Mahomes ended the first half completing 13 of 19 pass attempts (68.4%) for 165 yards and a touchdown. He also had a couple notable plays that did not show up on the stat sheet, such as the third-down completion that preceded his touchdown throw.
On that play, Mahomes avoided pressure in the backfield and managed to get back to the line of scrimmage. It was an important play for the hobbled Mahomes, as it allowed the Chiefs to go for it on fourth-and-short.
As for other notables from the half: Mahomes launched a 29-yard deep ball to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had two catches for 40 yards in the half. Kelce was Mahomes’ top receiver through two quarters, tallying four catches for 55 yards and the touchdown.
Mahomes did not have a rushing attempt in the first half.