KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With 90 seconds left in the first half and the Kansas City Chiefs trailing by a touchdown, quarterback Patrick Mahomes came up gimpy.
Mahomes, who suffered a sprained right ankle in the AFC Divisional win against Jacksonville, struggled with limited mobility in an AFC Championship Game tussle with Cincinnati.
The two weeks off before Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles helped Mahomes’ recovery.
He looked loose, limber and mobile in pregame warmups and through much of the first half.
But trying to scramble from a collapsing pocket in the closing minutes of the second quarter, Eagles linebacker TJ Edwards rolled up Mahomes’ injured ankle on an open-field tackle.
He never missed a play and even went on to win MVP.
“You’re in the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said. “You can worry about getting it healthy in the offseason, so I fought through.”
But in that moment, Mahomes slowly got to his hands and knees then limped with visible pain on his face as he made his way to the sideline.
Once on the bench, Mahomes leaned back, still in visible pain, as trainers attended to the ankle.
“I felt really good and then that happened,” Mahomes said. “I had a lot of soreness going through into halftime. At halftime, I was able to move it around and get it taped up a little bit. That second half, it didn’t feel good, but I was going to leave it all out there and I’m glad it was enough for the win.”
Defensive end Chris Jones scoffed at the comparison between Mahomes' performance and Michael Jordan's famed "flu game."
"Patrick is a dog," Jones said. "Next year, y'all will be like, 'Is this the flu game?' We've got to stop comparing and just accept it. ... We've just got to appreciate Pat, man."
The Chiefs trailed 24-14 at halftime and Mahomes didn't miss any time. He took the field for the opening drive of the third quarter going 3 of 3 for 26 yards and adding a 14-yard scramble on a 10-play touchdown drive.
Kansas City rallied for a 38-35 win behind Mahomes, who won Super Bowl MVP after completing 21 of 27 passes for 182 yards with three touchdowns and added 44 yards rushing.