FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Kansas City Chiefs wore the T-shirts and baseball caps they had ready for the occasion after they clinched their fourth consecutive AFC West championship with Sunday's 23-16 victory over the New England Patriots.
But not all the news was favorable for the 9-4 Chiefs afterward. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was scheduled to have X-rays after injuring his passing hand early in the game.
"It doesn't feel great right now," said Mahomes, who played the whole game and threw for 283 yards and a touchdown. "It's something you play with. In this sport you're going to get hurt. You're going to bang something. For me, it's about going out there and competing and relying on my teammates to help me out when maybe I'm not feeling 100 percent."
Mahomes landed awkwardly after throwing a pass and being hit. Mahomes still managed to throw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman, but the Chiefs didn't score after taking a 23-7 lead with a field goal six minutes into the third quarter.
"I just kind of hit the ground weird when I was kind of throwing that ball away and got hit," he said. "I got tackled right as I threw it away. I knew something was wrong but I didn't know for sure and I tried to fire that next pass and it didn't look too pretty. So kind of let the trainers look at it. They gave me the 'Good to go.' So I went out there, battled, figured out ways to throw the ball across the middle, maybe not shoot those longs shots I usually throw."
Mahomes said he never asked to come out of the game, and coach Andy Reid said it was never a consideration to take him out.
"We think it's OK," Reid said. "We'll see how it goes. It was hard for him to grip the ball and do the things he needed to do. But he powered through it. ... He kept messing with that hand. I could tell he wasn't gripping it all that well."
Winning the AFC West was cause for celebration for the Chiefs, who will play at least their first playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. They would also get a first-round playoff bye if they can make up one game through the rest of the regular season on the 10-3 Patriots.
The Chiefs had never won back-to-back division championships in their history until the current streak, though they had won 10 such titles in their first 56 seasons.
But there was also a been-there, done-that feel to winning the AFC West. The Chiefs had bigger things in mind for this season after advancing to the AFC championship game and losing to the Patriots in overtime last season.
Defensive end Frank Clark was among Chiefs players who in the locker room after the game wore a T-shirt that read, "The West is Not Enough."
"We haven't done [anything] yet," said safety Tyrann Mathieu, in his first season with the Chiefs. "It seems like the Chiefs win the division every year. The goal is to get back to where we were last year and win that game. So we still have big goals out there."