By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes returned to Kansas City’s divisional playoff game against Jacksonville after halftime Saturday, bouncing onto the field on the balky right ankle that was heavily taped during the first half.
Mahomes was hurt late in the first quarter when he moved up in the pocket and Jaguars pass rusher Arden Key landed on his ankle. The All-Pro quarterback managed to make it to the end of the quarter, when the Chiefs training staff wrapped his ankle, and Mahomes then led his teamto a field goal to regain a 10-7 lead.
It was clear that Mahomes was struggling, though. On third down, he was unable to scramble for what would normally have been an easy first down, instead flinging a pass incomplete into the turf in front of him.
During the Jaguars’ ensuing possession, Mahomes appeared to get into a heated argument with Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his training staff. He eventually threw down his jacket and headed up the tunnel to the locker room, where he spent a few minutes while longtime backup Chad Henne headed onto the field.
Mahomes, who was 12 of 15 for 84 yards with a touchdown when he departed, stood behind Reid and quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy as the Chiefs began their drive at their own 2-yard line. Henne proceeded to lead the Chiefs on a 98-yard drive that Henne finished with a short touchdown fling to Travis Kelce with 3:45 left in the half.
Mahomes began warming up on the sideline in the waning minutes of halftime, and he looked to be moving much better on his ankle. And it became clear he was headed back into the game when he began taking snaps from Creed Humphrey.
The crowd roared when Mahomes trotted onto the field for the first snap of the second half.
For the 37-year-old Henne, it wasn’t the first time he’s been pressed into duty in the playoffs.
During a divisional-round game against the Browns in January 2021, Mahomes went into the concussion protocol during the third quarter. Henne went 6 of 8 for 66 yards down the stretch, including an audacious fourth-down pass to Tyreek Hill that helped the Chiefs to a 22-17 victory and a spot in the AFC championship game.
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