Chiefs' Chad Henne goes from backup QB to playoff stage

Full Screen
1 / 2

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne celebrates after a run during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Chad Henne came off the bench cold in the heat of a tense playoff game and delivered the game-sealing plays for Kansas City in his most consequential performance in a win since 2013.

Henne became just the latest understudy quarterback to deliver a memorable performance in the postseason when he relieved an injured Patrick Mahomes and closed out a 22-17 win over Cleveland on Sunday that sent the defending champion Chiefs into the AFC championship game.

If Mahomes remains in concussion protocol and can’t start this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Henne will get the nod as he tries to follow in the footsteps of other playoff fill-ins at quarterback.

The most recent success story came three years ago, when Nick Foles replaced an injured Carson Wentz in December and led the Philadelphia Eagles on a magical postseason run that culminated in their only Super Bowl title.

Jeff Hostetler blazed a similar path in 1990 with the New York Giants when he took over for an injured Phil Simms late in the season and also won the championship.

“Everyone had jumped off the bandwagon,” Hostetler recalled three years ago when Foles was making his run. “We were completely shot as a team. That was the outside looking in. Inside where we were at, we just rallied the wagons. It was us versus the world. We just rallied around each other and it showed.”

There are others as well, including Earl Morrall keeping the 1972 Dolphins perfect long enough for starter Bob Griese to finish the job in the Super Bowl, and Frank Reich staging the epic playoff comeback against Houston 28 years ago while Jim Kelly was out injured.

Here’s a look at some of the most memorable playoff performances by backup quarterbacks: