The Kansas City Chiefs were holding their breaths all week awaiting the injury news regarding Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes left the AFC divisional-round game last weekend with a head injury, and he’s also been dealing with a nagging toe injury. Thankfully for Chiefs fans, Mahomes cleared the concussion protocol and will be under center for the AFC Championship Game this Sunday, and he wasn’t the only question mark who received good news this week.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who hasn’t suited up since Week 15, will also be returning to the lineup this Sunday, and he’ll provide Mahomes a much-needed safety blanket against the Buffalo Bills.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s impressive rookie season
As if the Chiefs needed more offensive firepower after winning the Super Bowl last season, Kansas City added LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Edwards-Helaire was a crucial part of the Tigers’ historic championship run last year, and he jumped in as the immediate starter next to Patrick Mahomes in the backfield.
The rookie exploded for 138 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut against the Houston Texans. At the same time, you could hear the collective groan emanating from the other 31 teams in the league. Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and now this guy? It was just downright unfair.
Edwards-Helaire finished his rookie campaign with 803 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded 36 catches for 297 yards and a touchdown through the air. Edwards-Helaire served as Mahomes’ safety blanket on third downs and broken plays, so the Chiefs needed him in the lineup for their playoff run.
Edwards-Helaire hasn’t played since Week 15
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a dependable weapon for Patrick Mahomes all season long. But in Week 15, the rookie running back tweaked his ankle and missed the rest of the regular season.
The Chiefs were hopeful Edwards-Helaire could make it back in time for their divisional-round matchup against the Cleveland Browns, but he wasn’t healthy enough to make his return. Edwards-Helaire was again listed on the injury report all week with ankle and hip injuries ahead of the AFC Championship Game this Sunday.
The Chiefs receive a crucial boost to their offense
After missing three games due to his ankle and hip injuries, Edwards-Helaire is expected to return to the Chiefs’ lineup this Sunday for the AFC Championship Game against the Bills. With Le’Veon Bell expected to miss the game due to a knee injury, Kansas City will need Edwards-Helaire to carry the load in the running game.
Edwards-Helaire had his best game of the season in Week 6 against the Bills. He rushed for 161 yards on 26 carries and caught four passes for eight yards in the 26-17 win.
If he can repeat that performance from earlier in the year, Edwards-Helaire might just lead the Chiefs to their second straight Super Bowl appearance.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference