Kansas City Chiefs beats San Francisco 49ers in epic overtime (25-22)

Patrick Mahomes led the reigning champion to victory Sunday night for his second straight Super Bowl title and his third ring overall

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LVIII as Travis Kelce celebrates.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LVIII as Travis Kelce celebrates.BRIAN SNYDER (REUTERS)
Luis Pablo Beauregard

It couldn’t have happened any other way. Sunday’s Super Bowl was decided in the world’s entertainment capital and in front of a global pop star. Taylor Swift may have made a million-dollar industry out of bouncing back, but no one breaks hearts like Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback won his third championship in five years in an epic overtime. At 28 years of age, Mahomes has become an even bigger legend, leading his team’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers, just as he did in the same showdown four years ago. On Sunday in Las Vegas, the Chiefs became the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back championships. The last team to achieve the feat was Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Mahomes and Andy Reid are closing the gap on the New England dynasty.

“Just know that the Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs,” Mahomes said, as he held up the Vince Lombardi Trophy. “Just know that.” It is hard to believe that the Chiefs were not the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Bookmakers gave the 49ers slightly better odds thanks to its solid season led by Brock Purdy. The quarterback earned the unwanted title of Mr. Irrelevant, as the final pick in the 2022 NFL draft. If anyone was the underdog on Sunday, it was Purdy, who coolly took on the NFL’s best. It was Mahomes, though, who won the Super Bowl MVP for the third time in his career.

Patrick Mahomes (C) celebrates after the Chiefs defeated the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Patrick Mahomes (C) celebrates after the Chiefs defeated the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.CAROLINE BREHMAN (EFE)

The Chiefs’ victory on Sunday was reminiscent of their Super Bowl win in 2020, when the team came back after trailing by 10 points to win a first championship since 1970. But Mahomes’ performance on Sunday was even more epic. This time, the opposition was stronger and there were more mistakes in the game, including six turnovers. Mahomes reminded everyone that he performs best when he is doubted. In overtime — the second in Super Bowl history and the first in which both offenses got onto the field — he ran 19 yards to bring his team closer to the end zone on the final drive. Seconds later, he set off the shower of yellow confetti with a three-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman. Overall, he completed 34 of 46 passing attempts.

One of the oldest sayings in the NFL is that defenses win championships. And indeed, defensive backs were the stars of the showpiece game. Chase Young and Randy Gregory cornered Mahomes and also hampered Isaiah Pacheco and his explosive runs. The strong defense made it hard to score points. It was the first Super Bowl in five years — and the 10th in history — in which no one scored in the first quarter. The last time that happened was in Super Bowl LIII, between Brady’s Patriots and Jared Goff’s Rams, when only 16 points were scored in total.

The 61,000 fans at Allegiant Stadium thought this game would produce a similar outcome. The score began to rise thanks to San Francisco kicker Jake Moody’s 55-yard field goal. Minutes later, Coach Kyle Shanahan showed his creativity by using a trick play. Purdy slung the ball to wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who threw it back across the field to Christian McCaffrey for a 21-yard touchdown. Jennings had the night of his life. He threw a touchdown pass and scored a touchdown himself, something only one other player has done in a Super Bowl.

Taylor Swift kisses Travis Kelce after the game.
Taylor Swift kisses Travis Kelce after the game.MIKE BLAKE (REUTERS)

Not even the celebrities in the stadium could hide their boredom at the sluggish start. Ahead of the Super Bowl, a thousand private planes had landed in Nevada, and many of those passengers were at Sunday’s game. Actor Jeff Goldblum was caught on camera looking at his phone, Ariana Grande was curled up on a friend’s shoulder, Leonardo DiCaprio was distracted, and Taylor Swift preferred to end the tedium with a stiff drink. The singer flew from Japan to see her boyfriend, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, play. Kelce got off to a slow start, catching only one pass and advancing just one yard by the third quarter. Only Usher’s halftime show, featuring guests such as Alicia Keys, HER, Ludacris and Lil Jon, was able to bring back some excitement to the stadium.

But the game took a turn in the final quarter. Pacheco initially struggled to overcome San Francisco’s defense, but found new ways in the closing stages of the game. He was the most active player on the ground, rushing for 59 yards on 19 carries, second only to Mahomes, who clocked up 66 yards. Kelce also bounced back after halftime, advancing the Chief’s offensive drive and keeping the ball away from the 49ers. By the end of the game, he had 93 yards on nine receptions.

The most important catch, however, came from Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who scored the touchdown that gave the Chiefs a chance to go to overtime. Only Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman scored on the ground. The rest of the points came from kicker Harrison Butker, who scored 13. One of his field goals, a 57-yarder, set a record as the longest in Super Bowl history.

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