KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes’ blindside might be vulnerable for Super Bowl LV.
Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher left Sunday’s AFC Championship Game win against the Buffalo Bills with an Achilles injury, which coach Andy Reid said “doesn’t look good” after the game. He confirmed Monday that Fisher suffered a torn Achilles.
Cameras caught Reid walk back to Fisher, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, as he sat on the bench and give him a hug after the injury occurred.
NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport was the first to report Monday that Fisher suffered a torn Achilles tendon and wouldn't be available for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
As #Chiefs coach Andy Reid insinuated, LT Eric Fisher tore his Achilles last night and faces a long road of recovery, source said. KC heads to another Super Bowl, but it will do so without its standout O-lineman.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2021
Fisher’s absence leaves a massive hole in the Chiefs’ offensive line, which has been in flux throughout the season with right tackle Mitchell Schwartz out since October.
The Chiefs are 39-6 in games since the 2017 season finale when Fisher starts at left tackle with Mahomes behind center. The 6-foot-7 two-time Pro Bowler missed eight games during the 2019 season.
During the last two seasons, the Chiefs are 27-1 with Fisher in the lineup, including the playoffs. The Chiefs went 4-4 during the eight games he missed last season.
Veteran tackle Mike Remmers, who joined the Chiefs during the offseason to provide depth, replaced Fisher at left tackle during the AFC Championship Game.
Remmers has started 10 of the last 11 games for Kansas City at right tackle. He took over the starting job when Schwartz aggravated a back injury.
“He’s dirty tough ...,” Reid said, lauding Remmers’ toughness and football IQ. “He’s really fit in well with the whole program."
Starting right guard Andrew Wylie bumped out to right tackle after Fisher’s injury, which forced the Chiefs to shuffle three spots on the offensive line.
“They just kind of flipped and it was a pretty seamless move for them," Reid said. "They practice that during the week. (Offensive line coach) Andy Heck does a great job maneuvering them around and giving them a chance to play all the positions.”
Veteran Stefen Wisniewski — who joined the Chiefs for last year’s Super Bowl run, signed with Pittsburgh during the offseason then rejoined Kansas City midseason after being cut — took over at right guard for Wylie.
Chiefs fans shouldn't count on Schwartz's return ahead of the Super Bowl.
"If Mitch can work it out where he can go, that's great," Reid said. "There's nobody that wants to be there more than him, but I can't tell you that I'm that optimistic about it."
Reid credited General Manager Brett Veach for bringing back Wisniewski to provide much-needed depth up front, which is being tested at the most critical juncture of the season.
“He (Veach) doesn’t miss a beat, and that’s much appreciated by the coaches and the players,” Reid said.
But pass protection up front will be critical against a Tampa Bay pass rush led by Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett, who combined for five sacks Sunday during the NFC Championship Game win at Green Bay.
No matter who gets the start, Reid said Kansas City will be confident for Super Bowl LV.
“They are talented guys and, in some cases, we’ve had some young ones step in — one of Missouri’s finest (undrafted rookie Yasir Durant) — and we’ve had some older guys step in, but that combination has helped us get through some games here,” Reid said.
He said the trust Mahomes and the running backs have in all the linemen helps.
Fisher’s injury may also impact the Chiefs’ offseason decisions. Recovery can take up to a year, which may put his availability to start the 2021 season in doubt.