The Kansas City Chiefs lost their leader in Patrick Mahomes on Thursday night. Instead of wilting, they rose up and blew out the Denver Broncos.
Patrick Mahomes no longer had a normal right knee. After a 4th and short quarterback sneak, Mahomes was left in agony on the Denver turf, looking down at a kneecap on the outside of his leg. Mahomes’ season, and the Chiefs’ season, was apparently over.
Instead of quitting, the rest of the Kansas City roster perhaps defined its season with a resounding statement of resilience instead. From that point on, Kansas City outscored the Broncos 17-0 to win 30-6, moving to 5-2 and furthering its AFC West lead.
If Mahomes is lost for the season — early reports state Mahomes didn’t break the kneecap, which was relocated on the field before he walked off — the Chiefs are finished as a contender. If he’s out a month or so, the response of his teammates on a short week might say more about Kansas City than any regular win ever could.
So often, the leader of a team gets injured and the rest of the group sags. Instead, the Chiefs rose up. A defense used to giving up 180+ rushing yards per game in recent weeks somehow shackled Denver, allowing only 71 yards on 3.4 yards per attempt. The unit also sacked Joe Flacco nine times and surrendered just 205 yards while scoring a touchdown in the second quarter.
Offensively, Kansas City managed 10 points without Mahomes but effectively bled the clock and controlled tempo. Now with a mini bye before hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, Matt Moore will have a tailored gameplan and all the first-team reps.
Will it matter against Aaron Rodgers and Co.? Impossible to know, but Andy Reid figures to have some tricks waiting.
Again, much of this is moot should Mahomes’ MRI on Friday reveal ligament damage. The Chiefs would be afloat but without hope of saving.
But, if Mahomes can come back, the toughness put on display Thursday night could be the calling card of a team many believed to be a one-man band.
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