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Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes to Sit Regular-Season Finale against Chargers

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By Dave Skretta

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes will sit out the Kansas City Chiefs’ regular-season finale against the Chargers on Sunday in Los Angeles with their eighth straight AFC West title secured and the No. 3 seed in the playoffs already locked up.

The Chiefs can do no better or worse in their postseason positioning after last week’s win over Cincinnati clinched the division, so coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Mahomes would get a week of rest.

Veteran backup Blaine Gabbert will start and second-year pro Chris Oladokun, who has spent the season on the practice squad, will be the primary backup.

Gabbert was signed in the offseason to replace Chad Henne, who retired after last year’s Super Bowl triumph. The Chiefs have long valued having a veteran behind Mahomes, and Gabbert has started 48 games and appeared in 68 over 12 NFL seasons.

“He works so stinking hard in practice. It’s great to have that opportunity to go out and play,” Reid said. “He’s been a starter in the league. We have confidence he knows what to do, and he’ll go in there and do well.”

The Chiefs (10-6) have struggled with offensive consistency this season, whether because of dropped passes, penalties or missed assignments. But while they finally played well in a 25-17 victory over the Bengals — despite drives fizzling and Harrison Butker kicking six field goals — Reid said he didn’t consider giving Mahomes any snaps to keep the momentum going.

Mahomes instead will turn most of his attention to the five potential opponents that Kansas City could face the following week, and Gabbert and Oladokun will split practice reps as they prepared to head to Los Angeles.

“Ultimately the reason we play football is to play in the games, right? And it’s a great opportunity not only for myself but others to play in different positions than they have been in throughout the year,” Gabbert said. “It’s great to get reps under your belt so when your number is called in the playoffs, if it is called, you’re ready to go.”

Reid indicated he was aware of some looming milestones, but he declined to say whether they would matter in playing time.

The biggest might belong to Travis Kelce, who needs 16 yards receiving for his eighth straight 1,000-yard season. That would extend his own club record and the NFL record for a tight end, and be the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.

“That’s not how Travis plays. He wants team success first and he’s always been that way,” Gabbert said. “If it’s Coach Reid’s decision to have him rest, he’ll rest. But if he’s out there, we’ll do our damn best to get him those yards.”

Wide receiver Rashee Rice needs 58 yards receiving to break Dwayne Bowe’s franchise record for a rookie, while defensive tackle Chris Jones needs a half sack to trigger a $1.25 million bonus in the revised contract he signed prior to the season.

Asked how the conversations about those milestones might go, Reid said with a smile: “Probably one-sided.”

NOTES: Jones (groin spasm) and Rice (tweaked hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. RB Isiah Pacheco (bruised quad) and CB L’Jarius Sneed (strained calf) also did not practice. … WR Kadarius Toney (hip) was back after missing two games.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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