In eight days, Patrick Mahomes went from being injured, to limping, to becoming immobile, to having a weakened right ankle that could fail to hold the enormous weight of his team’s fate. He became the weeklong obsession of gamblers, had to listen to hearing all about the wonder of Joe Burrow, to having to lug Kansas City’s three-game losing streak to the Bengals into Arrowhead Stadium for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

And then three of his receivers got knocked out of the game, and the momentum shifted, and Burrow found his strike zone against a rookie-filled Kansas City secondary. And then the Chiefs were in trouble.

But on the eighth day Mahomes got his limp on, kept going, and ignored the physical discomfort and other factors that should have made him the losing quarterback in the showdown vs. Burrow. Mahomes would have none of that. He made the plays that set up KC’s 23-20 victory that catapulted the Chiefs into the Super Bowl 57.

With Mahomes accounting for 334 of Kansas City’s 357 total yards and both of KC’s touchdowns via scoring passes to Travis Kelce and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the quarterback and his Chiefs reaffirmed a few essential truths:

1. Mahomes does not acknowledge pain – let alone succumb to it. He’s done this before, refusing to be disrupted by injuries to lead his team to success. But Mahomes took it to a new level this time. His 19-yard TD throw to Valdes-Scantling, landing with 9:54 left in the third quarter, came soon after he’d reaggravated the ankle. But that didn’t matter. Mahomes shook it off to lead the Chiefs on an 11-play, 77-yard touchdown drive for a 20-13 lead.

Though not as quick as usual, Mahomes scrambled around to move away from the pass rush, steal a few seconds and extend plays. He made throws on one foot. He used the sidearm and other of his unconventional throwing angles. In the final minute, the game tied at 20-20, and seeing his receivers covered, Mahomes made his move, outran two defenders, and closed out a 5-yard run – with a late-hit penalty tacked on. Mahomes’ daring escape set up the relatively easy game-winning field goal for Harrison Butker.

2. Mahomes’ mobility is freakishly amazing, even on a limited basis. According to NextGenStats, he completed every pass he threw from outside the tackle box, from on the run, and when holding the ball for longer than four seconds. It breaks down this way: 6 for 6 passing outside the box, 6 for 6 passing when on the run, and 6 for 6 passing when extending time on his dropbacks. My goodness.

“People don’t realize how hurt he was,” Chiefs GM Brett Veach told reporters after the game. “We all saw the injury. High ankles are terrible injuries and sometimes guys miss two or three weeks.”

3. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid is so brilliant that he’ll be coaching against his own legacy in Super Bowl 57. Those words were written by the fantastic Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders, and he’s absolutely correct. You have to be a special coach to go into the Super Bowl with the distinction of having directly or indirectly shaped both teams. Kansas City we know about, but Reid’s lasting impact on the Philadelphia franchise carries into the upcoming Super Bowl even though he coached the Eagles for the final time on Dec. 30, 2012.

As Tanier pointed out, current Eagles Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Jason Kelce all played for Reid in Philadelphia. Reid’s chosen personnel savant, Howie Roseman, is Philly’s astute GM. When the 2017 Eagles upset New England to win the Super Bowl, they were coached by Doug Pederson – who played quarterback for Reid, and coached on Reid’s staff, in Philly.

As Tanier wrote: “At their foundation, the Eagles remain the franchise that Andy Reid built and his descendants and their descendants remodeled.”

4. Not that anyone needs convincing, but Mahomes is still the NFL’s top quarterback. Period. For overall play and winning at a high level, Mahomes has been on top for much of his five seasons as a starter, and has answered challenges offered up by Josh Allen, Burrow, Justin Herbert and any other young slinger you’d like to name. Mahomes has overtaken the NFL royals, Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers. He soared above Ben Roethlisberger, and now Russell Wilson. Mahomes’ performance has removed Dak Prescott from any credible “best quarterback” discussion.

With the three-straight triumphs over the Chiefs, all by a field goal, Burrow was encroaching on Mahomes’ top-QB status. But Burrows’ advance on Mahomes was stalled by his one-touchdown, two-interception night in the conference title matchup. Had Burrow defeated Mahomes for a fourth consecutive times during a little more than a calendar year, there would have been a lot more talk about Burrow moving to No. 1. But that won’t happen now.

Mahomes wasn’t in maximum form physically but he outplayed Burrow. After the Bengals tied the game 20-20 early in the fourth quarter, Burrow struggled the rest of the way – completing 4 of 9 passes for 20 yards, an interception and an intentional-grounding penalty.

Over the last two seasons, Burrow is the only quarterback in the league to damage Mahomes in a meaningful way. But minus the Burrow-driven 3-0 win streak over the Chiefs – which ended Sunday – Mahomes is 27-2 in his last 29 games including postseason. Burrows is an elite quarterback. But minus the three wins over Mahomes, Burrow and the Bengals are 17-5 against all other opponents in their last 22. It’s great to knock off the Chiefs three times in a row — but the games against other teams matter.

As a Kansas City’s starter Mahomes is 64-16 in the regular season, 10-3 in the postseason, and will be competing in his third Super Bowl over the last four seasons. He’s also led the Chiefs to a spot in the last five AFC Championship Games.

Since the start of the 2018 season Mahomes leads NFL quarterbacks in regular-season wins, postseason wins, passing yards, touchdown passes, passer rating (minimum 50 starts) and total offense. And he’s a lock to win his second career league MVP award when the results are announced the night before the Super Bowl.

Mahomes is a lot more than a stats compiler. In their five full seasons with Mahomes as their starter, the Chiefs have the NFL’s most regular-season victories, the league’s top regular-season winning percentage (.780) and the second-best winning percentage (.769) in the postseason.

If the Chiefs prevail on Super Bowl Sunday, it will be their second Super title in the last four seasons. And at age 27, Mahomes would become the 13th quarterback to win at least two Super Bowls.

5. Kansas City is the league’s No. 1 team because of the Reid-Mahomes partnership. But here’s the thing: KC may not be the NFL’s best team at the moment. After winning its first two postseason games over the Giants and 49ers by by an average of 21 points, NFC champion Philadelphia will have a chance to make its case when the Super Bowl kicks off on Feb. 12. The Eagles, an early 2.5-point favorite, will have to prove it. As we found out Sunday, The Mahomes Era is still going strong. Even on one leg.

Thanks for reading …

— Bernie

Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated and analytical sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app.

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

All stats used here were sourced from Football Reference, NextGenStats and Football Outsiders.