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KANSAS CITY — Patrick Mahomes, battling a high ankle sprain, didn’t pass for the win. He ran.
The gimpy Chiefs quarterback ran for nine yards and then picked up a 15 yard flag for being hit out of bounds to put the Chiefs in field goal range.
And when Harrison Butker kicked the 45-yarder, the Chiefs won this AFC Championship Game.
Four times the Cincinnati Bengals had trailed the Chiefs in the four games the teams have played the past calendar year. And four times the Bengals overcame the deficit.
But this time the Chiefs got the last word.
Kansas City will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57 in Glendale, Arizona in two weeks.
Thank Mahomes for much of this.
Mahomes played this game with a sprained right ankle that rose to the level of a more serious high ankle sprain. Typically those injuries require between 4 and 8 weeks of recovery and rehabilitation. Mahomes had eight days.
And despite coming off the field limping. Or limping back to the huddle after certain plays. And definitely not being able to scramble as he often does when healthy, Mahomes was still fabulous.
He delivered a 14-yard touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce in the second quarter to give the Chiefs a 13-3 lead. This was after a perfectly delivered pass to Kadarius Toney was dropped by the receiver in the end zone. The Chiefs settled for a field goal.
The scoring pass to Kelce really should not have been at all. Aside from the fact Mahomes was playing with his high ankle sprain, Kelce was playing with a back injury that also put his status in doubt. He injured the back on the next-to-last play of Friday’s practice and was questionable.
But Kelce fought through the tightness and pain to not only play but come up with 78 receiving yards.
Mahomes came back with his second touchdown pass of the evening on a 19-yard throw to Marquez Valdes-Scantling that reached the receiver’s hands one blink before cornerback Mike Hilton arrived to knock the ball away.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero