On Saturday, we witnessed Patrick Mahomes hobbling up and down the field at Arrowhead Stadium to lead the Kansas City Chiefs back to their fifth consecutive AFC Championship in a 27-20 win against the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars. We also saw the Philadelphia Eagles tie their biggest margin of victory in a playoff game in franchise history with their 38-7 curb-stomping of their NFC East rival, the New York Giants.
Sunday around the NFL was pretty wild as well. The Cincinnati Bengals marched into Buffalo and trounced the Bills, 27-10, to prevent a neutral site AFC Championship Game. The Cowboys had multiple chances, but they couldn’t overcome an injury to running back Tony Pollard, as well as their poor execution, in their season-ending 19-12 loss at the San Francisco 49ers.
The second week of the NFL playoffs included the league’s eight most elite teams, so there was obviously some high-level football being played. However, there was also plenty of confounding football as well across the weekend. Here are some of the head-scratching decisions that occurred this divisional round weekend.
Every Chiefs player, coach and fan experienced their worst nightmare in the Chiefs’ 27-20 win in the opening game of the divisional round playoffs on Saturday afternoon: an injury to Mahomes. The 2022 first-team All-Pro passer got sandwiched by two Jacksonville Jaguars defenders as he threw a pass, causing his leg to bend at a painful angle. Mahomes initially grabbed both his right knee and ankle in agony after the play.
Even though Mahomes asked head coach Andy Reid to stay in the game, it was head-scratching to see him skip around like he was playing hop-scotch to execute basic, under-center handoffs to his running backs. He did not receive any brace before going back out for the next play, not missing any time. Mahomes then got his ankle taped and came back in the game, continuing to not miss any plays.
Eventually, the Chiefs inserted back up quarterback Chad Henne into the game. Henne, who led Kansas City to victory in the 2020 AFC divisional round against the Cleveland Browns after a Mahomes injury, led Kansas City on a 98-yard touchdown drive that he capped off with a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce. That pass marked Henne’s first touchdown in his playoff career.
The game was tied at 7-7 when the injury occurred. The Chiefs turned that drive into a field goal to make it 10-3 and extended their lead to 17-7 after Henne’s first-career postseason TD pass. Yet, Mahomes went back on to the field to start the second half. Mahomes was still hopping around while running under-center handoffs near the goal line in the fourth quarter. The presumptive league MVP’s mobility was clearly hampered by the injury, as none of his 18 passes were outside of the pocket following the injury.