Patrick Mahomes on Sunday conjured another Super Bowl comeback as the Kansas City Chiefs snatched a thrilling 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers to win their third NFL championship in five seasons.
In a perfectly scripted finale before a celebrity-studded Las Vegas crowd including pop icon Taylor Swift, Mahomes found Mecole Hardman in the end zone with just three seconds remaining in overtime to seal a dramatic win in what was the longest Super Bowl in history.
The victory makes Kansas City the first team to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004, cementing the franchise’s right to be regarded as the NFL’s newest dynasty.
“It means a ton,” said Mahomes, who was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player for the third time after the win. “With the adversity we dealt with this year and to come through, the guys never faltered.”
Mahomes warned the Chiefs’ rivals that their latest win was just the start of their reign of dominance.
“We’re not done,” he said. “We’ve got a young team. We’re going to keep this thing going.”
For long periods it looked as if Kansas City would be denied by San Francisco’s ferocious defense.
Chiefs star Travis Kelce, whose romance with Swift has captivated the NFL this season, had a nightmare start to the game, at one stage blowing up on the sidelines at Kansas City head coach Andy Reid in an extraordinary outburst, but with Mahomes pulling the strings, the Chiefs finally battled through a below-par performance to deliver when it mattered.
It marked the third time that Mahomes has led Kansas City back from double-digit deficits to win the Super Bowl, sealing his reputation as the heir apparent to the legendary Tom Brady.
It was also the third time that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has finished on the losing side in a Super Bowl after seeing his team go 10 or more points ahead.
“We all hurt,” a deflated Shanahan said after the defeat. “Everyone knows how it feels. Don’t have a lot of words for it. Obviously, we’re hurting. Our team’s hurting. That’s how it goes when you put yourself out there.”
The Chiefs fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter after San Francisco struck first through a 55-yard Jake Moody field goal and a brilliantly worked trick play that ended with a touchdown for running back Christian McCaffrey.
Kansas City were left with just a Harrison Butker field goal to show for their first-half efforts to make it 10-3 at the break.
Kelce went berserk on the Chiefs bench, with the tight end screaming at head coach Reid in apparent frustration at being kept off the field for the play when an early Kansas City drive ended with an Isiah Pacheco fumble.
Kansas City’s offense fared little better after the restart, with Mahomes giving up an interception to 49ers safety Ji’ayir Brown after an overthrown pass intended for Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
However, San Francisco were unable to turn the possession into points as defenses stayed on top, forcing punts on the next three possessions.
Kansas City added to their tally with a monstrous 57-yard Butker field goal that crept over the bar to eclipse Moody’s record-long first-half effort.
With San Francisco’s defense still on top, Kansas City needed a stroke of luck and they got it when a muffed punt between 49ers defenders Darrell Luter and Ray-Ray McCloud allowed the Chiefs to recover deep in the red zone.
Mahomes wasted no time cashing in, hitting Valdes-Scantling in the end zone from 16 yards, Butker’s extra point making it 13-10.
However, the 49ers came roaring back on the next drive, Purdy showing great composure to lead a 12-play 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a Jennings score.
A potentially costly missed extra point left San Francisco 16-13 ahead and the Chiefs drew level on their next possession with Butker’s third field goal to tie it at 16-16.
Moody kicked a 40-yard field goal to restore San Francisco’s lead at 19-16.
That set the stage for Mahomes to lead the Chiefs to another Super Bowl comeback with just 1 minute, 53 seconds left on the clock.
As the tension mounted, Mahomes found Kelce for a 23-yard gain that took the Chiefs into kicking range. After once again failing to get the ball into the end zone, Butker stepped up to level it at 19-19 with three seconds left, forcing overtime.
San Francisco scored a Moody field goal on the opening possession to make it 22-19, but Mahomes was not done.
The quarterback coolly marched Kansas City upfield to the three-yard line and then popped the winning pass to Hardman to seal victory.
“Just the whole game was our whole entire season, the defense just keeping us in there and then the offense making plays when it counted,” Mahomes said. “I’m just proud of the guys. They kept believing. And I’m proud of the coaches for calling up those plays that got us some touchdowns there at the end.”
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