Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo spoke with his unit Friday before the AFC Championship game and wanted to pass on a thought.
The topic: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, especially his ankle. The Bengals were unsure about the high ankle sprain Mahomes suffered a week earlier in a divisional playoff game, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.
But the Bengalis thought it would be limited.
“I have to be honest,” Anarumo told the players, according to King. “It seems to me that he has some rubber that he loses and goes flat at some point.”
It was clear to anyone watching the game that Mahomes was in pain, especially in the fourth quarter on a freezing night at Arrowhead Stadium.
With 17 seconds remaining and the score tied, the Chiefs faced a third-and-4 from the Bengals 47-yard line. Mahomes was desperately trying to get the team within range.
Mahomes ran back to pass and knew he couldn’t find an open receiver. So he started running, despite the “flat tire” and collected 5 precious yards to give the Chiefs the opportunity to at least shoot for a field goal.
After Mahomes went out of bounds to stop the clock, the Bengals’ Joseph Ossai pushed him, moving the ball 15 yards closer for kicker Harrison Butker. He drilled the attempt and the Chiefs won 23-20.
Mahomes delved into the game. NFL Next Gen Stats showed Mahomes hit a top speed of 18.14 miles per hour on the dash, which marked his fastest speed hit in any game this postseason. His previous high was 14.87 mph.
The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore spoke with former MLB pitcher Patrick Mahomes Sr. after the game, and he mentioned that gutsy run.
“We have a family motto: Players play,” Mahomes Sr. told Kilgore. “And so he made a comedy.”
That Mahomes was able to play was a miracle to many. After the game, he gave credit to Chiefs assistant fitness coach Julie Frymyer, who outlined a plan to prepare the ankle for Sunday’s game.
Mahomes’ father believes his son possesses an incredible healing ability, which the Chiefs quarterback got from his mother, Randi.
“His mother has different genes,” Mahomes Sr. told the Post. “She’s double-jointed and all. She gets it from her mother. Athletic ability comes from me. That part comes from his mother.
These are some good genes to have.