With nothing significant to play for on Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs have made the final decision on whether QB Patrick Mahomes will take the field in Week 17.
According to head coach Andy Reid during his Wednesday media availability, it will be veteran backup Chad Henne who gets the start against the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers.
Chad Henne will get the start this weekend against the Chargers. pic.twitter.com/zpjCFMVzzc
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 30, 2020
"I think he's excited…He's all in. It's a great opportunity for him."
– Coach Reid on Chad Henne getting out there on Sunday.
— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) December 30, 2020
Reid also announced a handful of players who did not practice during the team’s first session of the week, while one contributor, LB Dorian O’Daniel, did return to the practice field.
RB Le'Veon Bell (knee), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring) among those not practicing for Chiefs today. LB Dorian O'Daniel return to practice.
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) December 30, 2020
Matt Moore Likely to Be Called Up, Too
The 35-year-old Henne will make his 54th career start (first with the Chiefs) and first since September 21, 2014 — a 44-17 Week 3 loss while with the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he was replaced by then-rookie Blake Bortles making his NFL debut.
Henne says he got the official phone call that he was starting yesterday, but says QB coach Mike Kafka told him to “be ready” after the Falcons game, so it wasn’t a real surprise. #Chiefs
— Breland Moore (@BrelandKCTV5) December 30, 2020
Reid also suggested that practice squad QB Matt Moore is also likely to be called up for the season finale, per ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
Moore, 36, saw action in place of an injured Mahomes last season, leading the team to two wins while completing 59-of-90 passes for 659 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in Week 7 relief duty and two consecutive starts following.
Patrick Mahomes Could Still Lead League in Passing
Mahomes, who is in a tight race for the league’s MVP award with Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and to a lesser extent Buffalo’s Josh Allen, will see his regular season end with 4,740 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, six interceptions and a career-best 66.3% completion percentage.
At present, the 25-year-old leads the league in passing yards by 282 over the next closest signal-caller, Houston’s Deshaun Watson. While the Texans star suffered an ugly-looking arm injury against the Cinncinati Bengals in Week 16, he told reporters after the game that he expects to play this coming weekend against the Tennessee Titans, who are vying for the AFC South title with the Indianapolis Colts, both currently at 10-5.
While Mahomes finishes 260 yards shy of the 5,000 mark for the second time in three seasons as the full-time starter, he also misses out on a potential beatdown from a solid Chargers pass rush and secondary featuring Joey Bosa, Chris Harris and Casey Hayward. With the Chiefs offensive line, specifically its starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mike Remmers, still recovering from tight backs, the smart money was always on Mahomes to sit Week 17 out.
With Kansas City locking up the AFC’s No. 1 seed and a first-round playoff bye week, he’ll next line up under center in the AFC Divisional Round on January 16 or 17.