KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A restrained Patrick Mahomes faced Tennessee back in Week 10 of the regular season in his first game back from dislocated kneecap, but the Titans won't be so fortunate in this Sunday's AFC Championship Game, the quarterback said Wednesday.
“Definitely more comfortable, I think that's the biggest thing,” Mahomes said on how he feels now versus during the earlier meeting between the two clubs. “Being that first game back off of the injury, you don't know exactly what to expect.”
Mahomes didn't always look comfortable in his team's 35-32 loss to the Titans earlier this season after suffering the dislocation of his right kneecap in Week 7 against Denver. He a bulky brace on his knee yet still posed gaudy passing numbers. He finished with a season-high 446 yards on 36-of-50 passing with three scores but Mahomes didn't venture out of the pocket much except for designed moving pockets and rollouts.
In his team's 51-31 win over the Houston Texans in last weekend's Divisional Round playoff game, Mahomes finished an efficient 23-of-35 passing for 321 yards and five scores, but more importantly he scrambled seven times for 53 yards while displaying his patented ability to extend plays and throw on the run.
Reid says he notices a difference between Mahomes then and now.
“I think he's – not more willing – but he feels more comfortable obviously because he had the brace and all those other things going on there,” Reid said. “I think he's more comfortable getting out there right now.”
Mahomes entered the game against the Titans unsure what to expect from his injured knee and how it might limit him.
“You trust the trainers, you trust all the doctors who say you're good to go but you still don't know,” Mahomes said. “You haven't ran at that speed with the pads on in game speed.”
Injuries have hounded Mahomes this season, starting with a sprained ankle in Week 1 against the Jacksonville. He also bruised his right throwing hand in Week 14 against New England.
Mahomes finished the season on a roll, however, and the playoff bye week also seems to have rejuvenated him.
“Definitely feel more comfortable now kind of having the games under my belt and been lucky enough to been healthy this late in the season,” Mahomes said.