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HomeNFLAchilles' ankle? How Patrick Mahomes' injury could factor into Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship...

Achilles’ ankle? How Patrick Mahomes’ injury could factor into Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship Game

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While Mahomes should be more comfortable with a week of treatment, a high ankle sprain typically takes weeks to recover from — and the ominous risk of a more severe injury looms large. As such, it is likely that Andy Reid and the Chiefs will design a game plan that gets the ball out of Mahomes’ hands quickly and minimizes the stress on his ankle. Mahomes also suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1 of 2019, although it was to his left (non-planting) ankle. On the very next Sunday, he torched a porous Raiders defense for 443 yards and four touchdown passes — but given the quality of the opponent, that production should be taken with a grain of salt. The more important takeaway from that game is that Mahomes threw a career-low 4.5 percent of his passes on the run and averaged just 4.9 scramble yards per dropback (fourth-lowest). His time to throw was 2.59 seconds, almost a third of a second quicker than his career average (2.88 seconds).

In the likely case that the Chiefs do embrace the quick game to protect Mahomes, they certainly have enjoyed past success in doing so. Mahomes led the NFL in success rate (58.4 percent) and passing EPA (+94.6, the only QB over 70) on passes taking under 2.5 seconds this season. Unfortunately for Kansas City, Cincinnati was a brick wall against quick passes this season. At first glance, it could make sense for the Chiefs to lean into the run game and take the load off Mahomes. However, K.C.’s offense has been significantly more efficient rushing this season when Mahomes lines up under center, rather than out of the shotgun. In order to minimize the stress on Mahomes’ ankle, the Chiefs will probably stick him in the ‘gun and limit his movement per play. No matter how you split it, the offense will be more one-dimensional. And if anyone can take advantage of that, it is Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

Image & Story Credit: nfl.com

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