Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes never got a chance to take the field in the overtime period of the AFC Championship Sunday.
After tying things up at 31 apiece to force overtime, the Chiefs lost the all-important coin toss to the Patriots — giving Tom Brady and company the first crack at getting on the board. Sure enough, Brady guided his team on a game-winning, 75-yard drive to advance to his third straight Super Bowl.
“It’s just how the coin tosses, I guess you would say,” Mahomes said after Kansas City’s 37-31 loss.
So, what if roles were reversed? And the Chiefs had the opportunity to take the ball? Would they also have scored?
“No doubt at all,” Mahomes said. “But that’s just like ifs and buts. You can’t look at that. But at the same time, I felt like we were rolling.”
After starting slow and coming up empty-handed in the first half, Mahomes and the Chiefs tallied all 31 of their points in the third and fourth quarters. Mahomes finished the game with 295 passing yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions but was sacked four times for a loss of 46 yards. Despite the early struggles, he said he stuck with the team’s game plan.
“You can’t try to do too much,” Mahomes said. “You’ve just got to trust in the process and not try to do too much.”
While the loss undoubtedly stings for the 23-year-old, who led the league in touchdown passes (50) during the regular season, Mahomes said the defeat “could be a building block” for the future. With a 12-4 record and their third straight AFC West title, the Chiefs earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed and advanced to their first conference championship since January 1994.
“You have to take in the hurt,” Mahomes said. “You have to accept that this hurts. It’s supposed to hurt. You put in work for this, you’re doing everything you can to get to the Super Bowl and for this opportunity to fall short, it’s going to hurt. You have to go through that, but, at the same time, when you look back and then you come back and look at the bigger picture, you know that you can build off this, use this feeling of motivation to go out and find ways to win next time.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid echoed his quarterback.
“He’s hurt,” Reid said. “He’s a competitive kid, so he’s emotional right now. But he’ll get through that. He’ll grow from this. He knows that. But it’s not easy right at this minute.”
Amid the whirlwind of postgame emotions, Mahomes did have a message for Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman in the hallway of Arrowhead Stadium.
“Good luck to y’all,” he told his opponent. “Go get it.”
The Patriots will play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.