Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions for the second time in four years after Patrick Mahomes threw a game-winning touchdown to secure a 38-35 victory over an overmatched Philadelphia Eagles team throughout much of the game.
Mahomes, who entered his third Super Bowl in four seasons nursing a sprained ankle and appeared to re-grade the injury at the end of the first half with the Chiefs at their lowest point, completed 21 of 27 passes with for 182 yards, three crashes and no. interventions, saving his best for the biggest moments as the Chiefs roared back from a 24-14 deficit at half time.
The two-time NFL Most Valuable Player broke 26 yards on the final drive, gimpy leg and all, before Harrison Butker kicked a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds left to win the game, making Mahomes the first a player who won the Super Bowl. in the same season he was named MVP after nine straight players before losing.
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In doing so, the 28-year-old surpassed the great Jalen Hurts, the young Philadelphia signal-caller who threw for 304 yards, ran for three touchdowns and set a Super Bowl record with 70 rushing yards in the first Super Bowl matchup featuring two. Front quarter black.
The heart-stopping affair lived up to its pre-billing under an open retractable roof and pristine 70F (21C) conditions.
The Chiefs won the toss and called it back, as they have all but once this year, putting the ball in Hurts’ hands to start it. The 24-year-old promptly led an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, plunging into the end zone on fourth down. This was the first time in a quarter century that a team received the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl and drove down the field for a touchdown. Philadelphia’s vaunted offensive line – all five of whom were named to the Pro Bowl – made a statement early in the battle of the trenches and sent the determined pro-Philadelphia crowd into bedlam.
Then, in a game centered around best roster v best player, it was Mahomes’ turn. He quickly marched down the Kansas City field before finding Travis Kelce on a great fade route for an 18-yard touchdown. Chiefs coach Andy Reid has been the kind of scripted front-drive that has become his hallmark since he entered the head coaching ranks with Philadelphia, of all teams, back in 1999.
Then, on the first play of the second quarter, Hurts took his shot down the field and connected on a 45 yard touchdown to Brown. The runner-up in the MVP ballot started in his first Super Bowl, completing eight of his first 10 passes for 116 yards with no interceptions and a pair of touchdowns: one on the ground and one through the air.
The Eagles got the ball back soon after a Chiefs drive was stopped. And that’s when disaster struck. Hurts made a spectacular non-touchdown fumble under duress, allowing Kansas City quarterback Nick Bolton to scoop up the ball and scamper 36 yards for the game-tying score. It was the kind of moment when Super Bowls are won and lost – and it would be costly.
Of the seven quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl before their 25th birthday entering Sunday’s game, only two have even remotely played: Tom Brady in the 2001 season and Mahomes in 2018. Hurts after his miscue. , he immediately put it to rest on the subsequent drive. He ran 14 yards on the first play from scrimmage, converted a third down with another run up the gut into Kansas City territory, before capping a 12-yard, 75-yard march with a four-yard touchdown run from the tackle left, putting the Eagles back in front at 21-14 amid chants of “MVP! MVP!” from the Philadelphia faithful.
The Eagles scored again before halftime on a 35-yard field goal from Jake Elliot, opening up a 10-point halftime lead as they controlled the ball for nearly 22 minutes. But the biggest question for the Chiefs was Mahomes, who limped off the field after tackling TJ Edwards re-graved the high ankle sprain he suffered in the divisional round.
Mahomes quickly ended any promise of a stress-free finish for the Eagles, who led the Chiefs on a long scoring drive that was capped by Isiah Pacheco’s one-yard touchdown run, closing the deficit to 24-21 .
The Eagles avoided disaster moments later when Boston’s apparent slump Scott was brought back for a crash – again by an opportunistic Bolton – only to have it overturned by a replay. The Eagles marched methodically down the field from there, going 60 yards on 17 plays — including a highlight-reel catch from Dallas Goedert along the Philadelphia sideline — before settling for another Elliott field goal and a 27-21 lead in the dying minutes. the third quarter. .
That’s when Mahomes led a nine-play, 75-yard drive, punctuated by a four-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Kadarius Toney, who sprung free as the Chiefs used Kelce as a decoration.
For the first time in Philadelphia’s marauding postseason run, in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, they found themselves behind. And that’s when it all went pear-shaped. Hurts completed a pair of short passes but was sacked by Carlos Dunlap on the next play, forcing a three-and-out. Toney then returned Aaron Siposs’ second punt of the game around the field and down the Philadelphia sideline, a 65-yard return that put the Chiefs within five yards of the end zone: the longest punt return in Super Bowl history. Two plays later, the Chiefs scored again, extending their lead to 35-27 after the extra point.
The Eagles looked grim. But clinging to their last hope, Philadelphia fired back with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by Smith’s 49-yard reception on the penultimate play then Hurts another touchdown run – his third of the night. Needing a two-point conversion to tie the score, the Eagles again turned to their dual-threat star under center, who ran into the end zone down the left side.
That set the stage for Mahomes: tied at 35-35 in the Super Bowl with five minutes left and 75 yards from the end zone. After milking a couple of Pacheco putbacks and a seven-yard Kelce connection over the middle, Mahomes went 26 yards down the middle of the field to the Philadelphia 17: his longest run of the season. The Eagles’ flickering comeback hopes were all but extinguished when a highly controversial defensive holding call on cornerback James Bradberry on third-and-8 gave Kansas City a first down that allowed them to burn even more precious seconds away .
Butker’s field goal left the Eagles with a last ditch effort with six seconds left. With Hurts barely trying, the Chiefs’ third Super Bowl title was sealed after a 50-year wait for a second. Only once in 56 previous Super Bowls had a larger halftime deficit been overturned.
“He’s the MVP,” Reid said of Mahomes. “That’s all there is to say. MVP. And you saw it tonight.”