FOR three and half quarters Patrick Mahomes looked very unlike Patrick Mahomes, with Andy Ried once again facing the brutal prospect of missing out on an elusive championship. However, it took just 17 plays, 148 yards, 14 points, and 349 seconds in the fourth quarter for the Kansas City Chiefs to flip Super Bowl LIV on its head eventually running out 31-20 winners against the San Fransisco 49ers. The first title for Kansas City in 50 years was certainly worth the wait.
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OF all the storylines around this game, the Chiefs’ head coach/quarterback combo was one of the biggest. Andy Ried was forced to wait 21 seasons to ultimately taste Super Bowl glory, but it only took his starting QB 31 career games. For a lot of us, the idea of San Fransisco finding a defensive gameplan that shut down the 2018 MVP was a pipedream and eventually, we found out it was merely impossible to keep him down for four quarters.
MAHOMES was far from oozing confidence early on, however, he did help direct the first touchdown drive of the game. It wasn’t the first score of the Super Bowl, that came via a 38-yard Robbie Gould field goal on the Niners opening drive. KC answered back straight away thanks to a ballsy 4-and-1 call from Andy Ried inside the 5-yard line and three plays later Mahomes found the endzone with his feet for his 3rd postseason rushing score. Garoppolo threw his first interception on the ensuing drive, which lead to another field goal for Kansas City and a 10-3 lead.
SAN Fransisco wasn’t about to let the Cheifs cruise though, with Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel pivotal in moving the chains as Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started to find his rhythm. That culminated in the first of two Niners touchdowns – coming on a 15-yard passing play to none other than fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Up until that reception, the veteran FB only had seven catches in the last eight games with his Super Bowl TD the first postseason score of his career!
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WITH the score locked at 10 apiece both teams went into the locker room eager to wrestle momentum their way once Shakira and J-Lo had finished shaking their hips. Early on in the second half, it was the 49ers who looked the better unit scoring on two straight possessions while forcing back-to-back KC turnovers. Those turnovers were a pair of Mahomes interceptions, marking the first time since November of 2018 that he had thrown two picks in a game.
LOOKING like a shell of himself and with all the momentum on San Fransisco’s side, time was running out for the Chiefs, but luckily, they were handed the ball back with 8:53 on the clock. A few short plays later, Mahomes and Kansas City were facing a 3rd-and-15 after an overturned first down that went against them. So naturally, they went out and gained 44 yards, finding Tyreek Hill deep on just the 11th big play San Fran had given up all year. A costly pass interference later left them on the 1-yard line which led to Travis Kelce finding the endzone and drawing Kansas City with one score, still trailing 17-20.
Image from startribune.com
A quick four and out later from the Niners gave the ball right back to the Chiefs who by now were well and truly back in the contest. Having come back from a pair of double-digit margins already this postseason, a calm, poised Kansas City outfit once again marched down the field and took the lead. A beautifully lofted pass to Sammy Watkins from Mahomes for 38 yards was the main catalyst of the drive, but the games MVP in a lot of people’s eyes Damien Williams was the one who capped it off with a 5-yard TD reception.
A shellshocked 49ers team tried their best to mount a comeback, but the mental damage had already been done. On a 4th-and-10 with less than 90 seconds on the clock, Garoppolo took a sack that would give KC possession back only 42 yards away from the endzone. Two rushes from William late – one for four yards, the other for a game-clinching 38-yard TD – it was all over.
ONE final gut-punch came for the 49ers when Garoppolo threw his 2nd pick of the game and allowed Kansas City to possess the ball as the clock struck triple zeroes. The loss stung all the more for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator when they sacrificed a 25-point lead against the Patriots three years earlier in Super Bowl LI. He wasn’t the only Niner hurting with arguably the most complete outfit in football crumbling under the pressure to end KC and Andy Ried’s suffering, while potentially starting Patrick Mahomes’ quest to be an all-time great.
EVERY man, woman and child knew that the winner of this match could perhaps be triggering the start of a dynasty with both outfits bolstering a ton of young, promising talent. It was the Chiefs who rose to the top on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean San Fransisco will be down and out for long.
DESERVNGLY so, when the market opened for Super Bowl LV betting Kansas City was atop the food chain, but they won’t have long to celebrate before they get back to work. Had it not been for a Dee Ford offside in the 2018 AFC Championship, they might have claimed back-to-back titles and one thing’s for sure, as long as they have Mahomes under center and Ried calling the shots, they have the potential to fulfil that quest in Tampa Bay 12 months from now.
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