Cleveland Browns 17-22 Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes suffers concussion as Chiefs hold on to reach AFC Championship game

Backup quarterback Chad Henne orchestrated an incredible final drive as the Kansas Chiefs survived the loss of Patrick Mahomes to a second-half concussion to hold on for a 22-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns and set up an AFC Championship game showdown with the Buffalo Bills. 

Mahomes had inspired the Chiefs to a 19-3 lead in a commanding first half from the reigning Super Bowl champions, before being knocked out of the game in the third quarter after being left shaken up on a hard hit while attempting to convert on third-and-one.

Momentum subsequently swung in Cleveland’s favour as they moved within 22-17 in the fourth quarter on a Kareem Hunt touchdown and then intercepted Henne with eight minutes remaining to give themselves an opportunity to win the game.

Kansas City followed up with a crucial stop on defense on the back of the pick, before Henne thought he had won it on a heroic scramble on third-and-14 with two minutes to play, only to come up a yard short. Andy Reid saw to on the next play though, electing to go for it on fourth-and-one as Henne delivered a five-yard pass to Tyreek Hill to break Cleveland hearts.

  • Chiefs passing: Patrick Mahomes, 21/30, 255 yards, 1 TD
  • Rushing leader: Darrel Williams, 13 carries, 78 yards
  • Receiving leader: Tyreek Hill, eight catches, 110 yards

Reid had flexed the depth of his offensive arsenal early on as the Chiefs marched downfield on an authoritative 10-play opening drive capped by Mahomes’ one-yard touchdown run, only for Harrison Butker to fire wide on the extra point attempt.

The Browns replied positively with Mayfield finding time behind strong pass protection, which was soon dealt a blow when the injured Jedrick Wills had to be replaced by Kendall Lamm. After two third-down conversions, Cleveland were forced to settle for a 46-yard Cody Parkey field goal having seen L’Jarius Sneed’s sack for a loss of eight halt their progress.

Travis Kelce then left Denzel Ward in his wake with a sharp route to bundle over for a 20-yard touchdown via a piggy-back off Mecole Hardman, who had spring-boarded the drive with a 42-yard catch-and-run. Mahomes subsequently headed to the blue tent for treatment on a toe injury.

  • Browns passing: Baker Mayfield, 23/37, 204 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Rushing leader: Nick Chubb, 13 carries, 69 yards
  • Receiving leader: Rashard Higgins, five catches, 88 yards

The issue didn’t stop him from scrambling for 13 yards to convert on third down after the Chiefs had rescued a second-and-23 situation. Adrian Clayborn’s tackle for a loss of five on third-and-10 eventually limited the hosts to a 50-yard Butker field goal.

There was late agony in the half for Cleveland when Rashard Higgins fumbled through the endzone under contact from Daniel Sorensen while diving for the pylon, with the Chiefs safety fortunate to get away with a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play. Kansas City added to their lead following the resulting touchback with a 28-yard Butker field goal.

    Scoring summary

    A Mayfield interception on the third play of the second half went unpunished as Butker missed his 33-yard field goal attempt.

    The Browns unleashed Nick Chubb in response with back-to-back tackle-breaking gains of 23 and 18 before Mayfield made amends for his pick with a beautifully placed four-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry to help Cleveland move within 19-10.

    Then came what threatened to be a defining moment when Mahomes suffered a game-ending concussion after being visibly shaken up under a tough hit on a third-and-one run. He was replaced by Henne under center as Butker’s 33-yard field goal made it 22-10.

    Sensing an opportunity to capitalise, the Browns launched an 18-play drive ending in Hunt’s three-yard score after two fourth-down conversions, including a stunning diving catch from Austin Hooper at the Chiefs’ seven-yard line.

    The Chiefs defense came up with a huge stop to foil the Browns after Henne’s interception with eight minutes to play. Mahomes’ replacement was then a yard short while attempting to scurry for a game-winning first-down on third-and-14, before he finished it on the next play with a five-yard pass to Hill on a gutsy fourth-down call from Reid.

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