Left tackle Orlando Brown has insisted the fact that quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an injured right ankle will boost other Kansas City Chiefs players during the AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“When something like that happens, it forces us up front to play even harder to make sure he doesn’t get hit,” Brown told NBC Sports’ Peter King for Monday’s “Football Morning in America” column.
“That’s one thing about it—you get motivated to up your game even more.” Mahomes suffered a nasty-looking high ankle sprain in the first quarter of what became Saturday’s 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. As noted by ESPN’s Adam Teicher, veteran backup signal-caller Chad Henne orchestrated a touchdown drive.
But the one-time NFL MVP ultimately returned and played with a noticeable limp throughout the contest’s second half.
Brown told King that watching Mahomes argue with coaches to play through a concerning physical setback fired up others on the Kansas City sideline.
“We have a ton of grit instilled in us here, and we love the sport and love each other,” Brown remarked. “I don’t know how to explain it, but we just want to rally behind 15. He’s the epitome of what our team is.” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio elaborated on Brown’s take.
“For the Chiefs, the combination of Mahomes gutting it out while being injured and being impaired by his injury gives Brown and the rest of the offense a kick in the a–,” Florio wrote.
“That mentality surely impacts the defense, too.” Mahomes admitted shortly after Saturday’s victory that he had “a lot of adrenaline going right now” that allowed him to play through pain against Jacksonville. He’ll have no such lift during the midweek and almost certainly won’t be anywhere near 100% when a seemingly ticked-off Bengals team travels to Kansas City this coming weekend with a Super Bowl berth on the line.