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Chad Henne’s gutsy plays saved the Chiefs after Patrick Mahomes’ playoffs injury

Chad Henne and Andy Reid kept the Chiefs’ Super Bowl dreams alive vs. the Browns.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs are heading back to the AFC Championship, and they did so behind a quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes.

In Sunday’s Divisional Round clash between the Chiefs and Browns, Mahomes was knocked out of the game after suffering a concussion in the third quarter with his team leading 19-10. They finished the drive with a field goal that would be their final points of a thrilling affair at Arrowhead.

Mahomes’ injury paved the way for journeyman Chad Henne to enter the game and log the first playoff snaps of his 11-year career. Though he’s started 54 career games, Henne started just once in the last five years, which came in Week 17 this season when the Chiefs were resting starters in their regular-season finale vs. the Chargers.

It looked like Henne would end up being the dunce of this game after he threw a brutal fourth-quarter interception with Kansas City in field-goal range and clinging to a 22-17 lead. But the Chiefs defense would eventually force a punt, giving Henne the ball back and needing just a couple of first downs to ice the game.

Henne came so close to icing the game himself with this wild scramble on 3rd-and-14. Who knew Henne could still do this at 35 years old?

The ball was marked a yard short of the first down, but Reid wasn’t about to punt. On 4th-and-inches at midfield, Reid made a gutsy decision to let Henne throw, and he found Tyreek Hill for the conversion to clinch the win in arguably the best game of the postseason thus far.

It was an incredible sequence that was encapsulated by announcer Tony Romo losing his mind in a moment of pure football nirvana.

This is why we love football. It was a risky call not many coaches would have made, first by going for it, then by putting your backup QB in the shotgun to attempt a pass. It was the right decision by the numbers, and it paid off for Reid and his Chiefs.

The cojones Reid had to make these calls with his backup quarterback was unbelievable, and Henne rewarded his faith with a moment the journeyman will cherish forever.

Now, the Chiefs turn their attention to the Bills in what would have already been a great conference title game between the AFC’s best teams. The Mahomes injury will certainly have a major impact, but even if he’s out, the Chiefs clearly have the coaching and personnel to win at home and advance to a second-straight Super Bowl.

Still, a battle between Mahomes and fellow NFL MVP candidate Josh Allen is must-see TV that we’ll hopefully get.