You can count Tyrann Mathieu in for the AFC Championship game against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pro Bowl safety exited the AFC Divisional Round matchup against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills after taking a blow to the head and was ruled out not long after, putting his availability for championship weekend in doubt — assuming the Chiefs could hold off the wave of haymakers from Allen and wide receiver Gabriel Davis to advance.
Thanks to the magic of Patrick Mahomes, they’d do just that, buying Mathieu time to recover for this weekend.
He did not practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant on both Thursday and Friday, putting him on track to take on the Bengals, and he’ll reportedly clear concussion protocol ahead of Sunday’s bout and start — per James Palmer of NFL Network — being needed in a big way to help contain a high-flying Bengals offense that isn’t wildly dissimilar from the one from Buffalo that the Chiefs narrowly escaped in overtime a week ago.
Mathieu is the definitive leader of the Chiefs’ defense, and the three-time First Team All-Pro was missed over the remainder of that battle, both from a mental aspect as well as physically, the latter being a nod to his ability to play all over the defensive secondary to provide support in both passing and run defense. Having him on the field against the Bengals will be paramount to increasing the odds of stamping their ticket to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium — which would mark their third consecutive appearance in The Big Game.