Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he wasn’t trying to get a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty from officials with a sideline spill late in Kansas City’s 23-20 win during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
Instead, Mahomes said there was a good reason he failed to slow his momentum after Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Joseph Ossai gave him a shove once he’d gone out of bounds: his high-ankle sprain injury.
“The most pain I had was stopping. So once he pushed me, it would have been hard to put my foot in the ground and try to stop. So I rolled through it,” Mahomes said. “You get over there with the heaters and the benches and people, that’s where a lot of times, people get hurt. I think that’s the reason why there’s a flag for getting pushed out of bounds like that late.”
Some Bengals fans have complained this week that Mahomes dramatized the play, which moved the Chiefs into position for Harrison Butker’s 45-yard game-winning kick. Others argued that it shouldn’t have been a flag at all.
Mahomes was clear on Thursday that Ossai’s contact was a penalty.
“I mean, I was pretty far out of bounds. It was probably the furthest I’ve been out of bounds before I’ve been hit,” Mahomes said. “So I rolled through it. The flag was thrown the right way, and that got us into field-goal range.”
NFL Next Gen Stats highlighted how fast Mahomes moved on the third-and-4 snap. Its data showed the Chiefs quarterback reached a peak speed of 18.14 miles per hour on the five-yard run, which topped his previous best mark in the playoffs of 14.87 mph while playing on his injured ankle.
“It was a big moment, obviously. So you have some adrenaline pumping, and I had to get the first down,” Mahomes said. “And I had a pretty fast dude chasing me. I’ve always said I’m just faster than the guy chasing me. So that was probably the reason I ran that fast.”
Mahomes, when asked for an update on his ankle injury Thursday, said it had not gotten worse following Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.
Then again, the Chiefs quarterback admitted he needed some time to recover after playing a “physical game” against the Bengals.
“My whole body was a little sore. I don’t think I had any step backwards or anything like that — no re-aggravation of the ankle — just the general little bit of pain I had playing with it,” Mahomes said. “But other than that, I feel like I’m in a good spot.”