If you heard a noise after Patrick Mahomes’ leg got rolled up on in the Chiefs’ playoff win against the Jaguars on Saturday, it was probably America’s collective groan as the best quarterback on the planet suffered a high ankle sprain. It’s an injury Mahomes plans to play through on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game, but one that could rob us of watching Mahomes pull off iconic escapes and jaw-dropping throws. The domino effect could also alter championship hopes and legacies across the league.
The spread has already swung 2.5 points at Caesars Sportsbook. The Chiefs opened as a one-point favorite on Sunday night and are 1.5-point underdogs as of Wednesday.
Here’s how Mahomes’ style of play could be impacted:
The most obvious change will be a lack of mobility from arguably the most dangerous (and entertaining) passer from outside the pocket in the league. Before suffering an injury on Saturday, Mahomes was putting on a master class of quarterback improvisation, from jump passes and side arms throws to impressive darts while on the run.
Six of his 12 passes were from outside the pocket before getting hurt. None of his 18 passes were from out of the pocket after suffering a high ankle sprain that forced him to hobble the rest of the game. He was relegated to quick throws from between the tackles, as his average time to throw dropped by a half second.
Patrick Mahomes before/after injury vs. Jaguars
Attempts outside pocket
Average time to throw
Taking away Mahomes’ mobility is kind of like taking away Steph Curry’s three-pointers. Mahomes led the NFL in both dropbacks and efficiency (EPA per dropback) outside the pocket this season (tied with Justin Herbert). So in terms of quality and quantity, Mahomes is on another level, which is why you’ll see his image in the upper right below, looking at the…