One of the biggest storylines from last Saturday's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars was Patrick Mahomes' injury. Once Mahomes went down, fans feared that it might be the end of the season, but Chad Henne eased their minds quickly with a 98-yard touchdown drive.
"I think you just stay ready," said Henne, who was asked to explain his steadiness in the moment. "When your number is called, you just go in there and do what you did in practice and in the meeting rooms. You just take it to the game."
Henne came into the game backed up into the Chiefs' own end zone, with 98 yards standing between the offense and the opposite goal line. Most backups would wilt in this situation – especially in a playoff game – but Henne exuded confidence and composure. He led the offense all the way down the field, finishing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce.
In a time of desperation, and lacking their starting quarterback, Henne stepped up and executed. He trusted the coaches and his teammates, which proved to be the deciding factor in this drive. With Mahomes out, the team needed a leader, and Henne filled that role perfectly.
"The best part about that is everyone trusted Chad," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "[It showed] the confidence that the guys have in him – I thought they all stepped up. The guys love Chad, and they play for him."
Henne has been put in this situation before, as he had to come into the Divisional Round of the 2020-21 playoffs and preserve the Chiefs' lead over Cleveland. It's reasonable to assume that his experience two years ago provided the confidence required to go in and do it again.
Additionally, Henne's 98-yard touchdown drive – which marked the longest series in franchise postseason history – was particularly important to this game's outcome. The Chiefs beat the Jaguars by seven points, making Henne's drive crucial. Who knows how the game might have ended without this touchdown drive in the second quarter?
Considering the type of competitor that Mahomes is, he didn't want to exit Saturday's game. However, Mahomes knew that the team was in good hands with Henne in command, and he showed nothing but respect and admiration for what Henne was able to do with that drive.
"He [was faced with] a 98-yard drive, backed up in a playoff game against a great opponent, and was able to drive the ball down the field," Mahomes said. "[Henne] made some big throws versus some pressure looks – I mean they brought some heat whenever he came into the game. He made some big throws, and he was able to get us in the end zone."
Henne has proven that he is a great backup quarterback to a great QB1. Having Henne support Mahomes is just another special aspect of this team. The Chiefs never want to be without Mahomes, but when needed, it's clear that the entire organization is comfortable knowing that Henne can come in and make plays.