KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs escaped with a narrow 27-24 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday but they didn’t manage to evade the injury bug impacting at least three players, including Pro Bowl left guard Joe Thuney.
Head coach Andy Reid said Thuney will undergo an MRI to determine if there is any new damage in his right ankle.
“We’ll just have to see where it goes from here,” Reid said.
Reid said it’s a re-aggravation of the injury that Thuney suffered earlier this season that kept him out of two games in Week 12 and 13 against the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. Thuney briefly exited Sunday’s contest and returned to the lineup after the athletic trainer staff rewrapped his injured ankle. After one drive he left the game a second time and was ruled out. Nick Allegretti stepped into Thuney’s position at left guard.
Rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore also left the game in the second half and did not return.
“(He) had a laceration on his hand, right on the inside of his hand,” Reid said. “They’ll have to take care of that too. We’ll just see how he does here in the next couple of days.”
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (hip) also left the game and departed for the locker room but later returned to he contest late in the second. Linebacker Nick Bolton left the game for one play after getting shaken up in the first half but quickly returned.
Mahomes faults mechanics
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes opened Sunday’s game with nine straight complete passes but it was the next pass that briefly put a lump in the throat of Chiefs’ fans.
Facing a third-and-1 from his own 30-yard line, Mahomes attempted a jump pass to Travis Kelce that the tight end caught as it hit the ground for an incompletion. With Mahomes in mid-air, Broncos defensive tackle Mike Purcell hit Mahomes below the waist, forcing the passer backward and to land awkwardly on his left leg.
Mahomes walked gingerly to the sideline and after a brief conversation with Rick Burkholder, the team’s vice president of sports medicine and performance, returned to the bench with his teammates.
Reid said he didn’t see his quarterback suffer any physical fallout from the play.
“I thought initially he might but it didn’t seem to bother him, I don’t think,” Reid said. “He seems to be good now.”
Mahomes was 9-of-10 passing for 73 yards before the hit. He completed 20-of-32 passes for 255 yards, three touchdowns and an interception afterward. The errant throw on the interception and an underthrown deep ball to receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the second half raised questions about whether the hit affected him but Mahomes dismissed the notion.
“I don’t know if (the hit) impacted at all,” Mahomes said. “It’s just my mechanics – I lost my mechanics in that second half and I was trying to find a way to get back into them. I think you saw in even some of the completions, at least I felt like my feet were in the right spot, I was kind of throwing off my back foot. Whenever I get into that mode is when I can struggle.
“I have to be better at kind of correcting that stuff in game,” Mahomes said.
Reid said he felt Mahomes lost his rhythm at one point in the game.
“There’s some plays that he’d definitely like to have back but that’s how picky we are,” Reid said. “You start nitpicking these things as he does, but that’s what great players do.”
Blake Bell back
After a preseason hip injury required surgery, tight end Blake Bell wasn’t certain if his 2022 campaign was over before it began.
“I didn’t know at first, and then I kind of talked the doctors, and if everything went right then I would be (able to play),” Bell said. “That was kind of my mindset, and I kept that in my head because I obviously wanted to come back and play.”
Bell is back now and making the most of his opportunities, hauling in a 17-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter against Denver to put the Chiefs ahead 20-17. While Bell scored a touchdown in the AFC Divisional Round game during the 2019 season against Houston, this catch marked Bell’s first regular-season touchdown in his eight-year career comprising 99 games.
Getting the score in his second game back felt good, Bell said.
“Anytime you get in the end zone, and especially for me getting off the injury,” Bell said. “Took a long time to come back. Like I keep telling people, credit to the strength staff and the training staff for really digging deep and getting me back as quick as possible.”
“It’s been fun, I’m just happy to be back in the locker room, happy to be with the boys on the field and we got the W,” Bell said.