The Kansas City Chiefs' Divisional Round contest against the Buffalo Bills didn't get off to the best of starts, as the team saw itself go down by a score of 7-0 early on. Safety Tyrann Mathieu also exited the game with an apparent injury.
On the Bills' opening drive of the game, Mathieu was seen limping on the field and but remained in the game for a very brief period of time. Shortly thereafter, he exited the field for the blue medical tent and was then sent to the locker room for further tests. It was later revealed that Mathieu was being evaluated for a concussion.
Later in the first quarter, during the in-game broadcast, reporter Tracy Wolfson announced that Mathieu was questionable to return due to the head injury that made him take himself out of the game:
"He took himself out after the next play, went right into the blue tent, he was definitely struggling. ... He is in the locker room right now."
Mathieu also visited with an independent neurologist. Without him, an emphasis will be placed upon Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen to replace his production as the Chiefs' primary safeties. Armani Watts, a 2018 fourth-round pick, was also spotted working into the mix on defense.
Mathieu, one of the most versatile safeties in the game, has battled injuries to his knee, hand and quad this season. He remains an integral part of Steve Spagnuolo's defensive attack, as he tends to move Mathieu around at different pre- and post-snap alignments. His routine playmaking prowess helps make the Chiefs' defense go and without him, his peers will have their work cut out for them.
IN-GAME UPDATES: Midway through the second quarter of Sunday's game, the Chiefs announced that Mathieu will miss the rest of the game and is in the NFL's concussion protocol. At the same time, defensive tackle Jarran Reed also exited the game and went to the blue medical tent for further evaluation. He returned to the game shortly thereafter and even recorded a sack later on.
With a handful of minutes left in the game, cornerback Charvarius Ward was bulldozed by Bills quarterback Josh Allen on a third-down rushing attempt and then entered the blue tent, being replaced by Deandre Baker. He re-entered the game a few plays later.