MIAMI -- Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said his quarterback Patrick Mahomes had shown "pure grit" to battle through an ankle injury and lead his team to an AFC Championship win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Mahomes limped at times, showing the lingering impact of the injury he suffered in last week's divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars but was able to deliver key plays down the stretch.
The Chiefs' worries were doubled before the game with top tight-end Travis Kelce picking up a back injury in practice on Friday but the pair were able to play and combined on a first-half touchdown.
"It was pure grit, he and Kelce. For Pat to do what he did, with that run at the end, I can't say enough, he is the MVP in my eyes," said Reid, referring to Mahomes' scramble for a first down that set up the game winning field goal.
"For our guys to grit up like that, it was beautiful, and beautiful to do it at home," said Reid.
The Chiefs coach said there was never any real doubt during the week that Mahomes would be out on the field.
"He gave me no opportunity to think that he wasn't going to play, he never missed a snap and our players, our team, our coaches, we are all lucky to have him in that position and that whole mindset, it carries over to everybody and there was no question he was going to play," he said.
- Great job -
Reid praised the team's medical and training staff for getting Mahomes ready, and the quarterback was quick to credit their work too, singling out physical therapist Julie Frymyer.
"I didn't expect to be able to run very much, just from the way it felt, the training staff, Julie, did a great job of giving me enough mobility that I was able to protect myself ...and at the end of the game, I had a run to get the first down and it got us into field goal range," said Mahomes.
"They got me as close as they could to 100% and I just battled through and I've got a few more weeks to get ready," he added.
The quarterback said that taunts in the build-up from Bengals players and even the mayor of Cincinnati, who created a provocative video, had helped the team to be fully fired up for the clash.
"I think guys were the most pumped up I've ever seen going into a football game. A lot of trash talk from a lot of different places," he said.
"The mayor came at me, I understand he is the mayor of Cincinnati so he has got to think about something, you've just got to play the game and let your play do the talking." he added.
Kelce had also hit back at the mayor Aftab Pureval during his on-field interview.
"I’ve got some wise words for that Cincinnati mayor. Know your role and shut your mouth, you jabroni," he yelled to cheers from the crowd.
© Agence France-Presse