Chiefs, led by hobbled Mahomes, stop Jags
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hobbling along on an injured ankle, Patrick Mahomes threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and a spot in their fifth straight AFC title game.
Mahomes missed most of the second quarter after his ankle was landed on by a Jacksonville defender. But the All-Pro quarterback returned in the second half and, relying on guts and guile, led the Chiefs on a 75-yard TD drive in the fourth quarter that helped to ensure a date with the Bengals-Bills winner for a spot in the Super Bowl.
If Cincinnati wins Sunday, the AFC title game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium. If Buffalo wins, it will be in Atlanta.
“I mean, it’s a credit to the guys around me,” Mahomes said. “The offensive line kept me clean in the pocket, knowing that I couldn’t move, and guys made plays around me. That’s what a great team does, is when somebody gets a little banged up, everybody around them steps up.”
The question on everyone’s mind — Will Mahomes be available next week? — might be no question at all.
“Yeah, X-rays were negative and they haven’t diagnosed anything yet,” he said, “but I’ll be good to go.”
Travis Kelce had a career-high 14 catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas City. Isiah Pacheco ran for 95 yards, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling hauled in the eventual clinching touchdown with about seven minutes left in the game.
The Jaguars, who rallied from a 27-0 deficit to beat the Chargers in the wild-card round, squandered two chances to mount another late rally. The first ended when Jamal Agnew had the ball pop loose inside the Chiefs 5 with about 5 1/2 minutes to go, and the second when Jaylen Watson made a leaping, one-handed interception to take the ball away again.
The Jaguars’ last-gasp chance ended when Kansas City recovered an onside kick with 24 seconds to go.
Trevor Lawrence finished with 217 yards passing with a touchdown toss to Christian Kirk, who was briefly hurt midway through the fourth quarter but returned to finish the game. Travis Etienne added 62 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Eagles rout Giants
PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hurts erased lingering doubts about the state of his right shoulder by throwing two touchdown passes and running for a score during a dominant first half, and the Philadelphia Eagles overwhelmed the New York Giants 38-7 on Saturday night in an NFC divisional playoff game.
Hurts is back, and so are the Eagles as a Super Bowl threat. Top-seeded Philadelphia will host the NFC championship game next Sunday against either Dallas or San Francisco.
Hurts missed two late-season losses with a sprained right shoulder and then showed the Giants nothing in the season finale when the Eagles ran a vanilla offense designed to protect the Pro Bowl QB.
Under bright postseason lights at the Linc, the Eagles unleashed an offense designed to clobber the Giants. Hurts dazzled early with his arm and Philadelphia’s offensive line opened big holes for Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell as the Eagles finished with 268 yards on the ground.
Hurts finished 16 of 24 for 154 yards. He showed he was fine when he aired out a pass on the second play of the game and hit DeVonta Smith in stride for a 40-yard reception. The fun was just starting in Philly.
Gainwell finished with 112 yards on 12 carries, including a late 35-yard touchdown. Sanders had 17 rushes for 90 yards.
The game was briefly stopped in the opening quarter because of a broken first down chain.
The NFL still uses chains connected to two signal poles to measure the distance to a first down.