By Nick Athan
On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the favored Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 to claim their second Super Bowl win in four seasons. Despite trailing by ten points at half with a hobbled quarterback, and a defense that was gassed with one Jalen Hurts play after another, Patrick Mahomes simply would not allow his team to lose.
The narrative heading into Super Bowl LVUU before the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles swayed heavily towards the NFC team has a better offense and defense. All season long the Eagles were labeled as the best team in the NFL, despite the fact, the Eagles didn’t face teams anywhere near as talented as the Chiefs.
Still, the Eagles had the Chiefs’ defense on its heels. Even after the Hurts fumble that Linebacker, Nick Bolton converted into seven points, KC’s defense was on the field most of the first half and much of the third quarter.
However, Patrick Mahomes, despite injuring his ankle at the end of the first half, the Chiefs showed their mettle by slowing down the Eagles’ offense to get the ball back into the hands of their MVP Quarterback. Over the last 30 minutes of the Super Bowl, the Chiefs never punted. KC had four drives and outscored the Eagles 24-11.
Mahomes was electric and showed why he’s the best player in the NFL. The Eagles tried to contain Mahomes, but he was never sacked, and for the most part, they had their way with the heralded, yet overrated, Eagles’ defense.
Forget the numbers or the stats, or even which team had the edge, after the injury to Mahomes, this team collectively came out firing on all three phases. The offense was at its Mahomes best, and the special teams were nearly flawless. KC’s defense started forcing Hurts to throw the ball, to which he responded by slicing up the Chiefs’ secondary, but in the end, it was his defense that failed Hurts. After he led the Eagles on an eight-point drive trying the game, he didn’t get the ball back until .08 seconds were left on the clock, and his team was trailing by three points.
There are so many stars in this game not named Mahomes. Tackles Orlando Brown, Jr. and Andrew Wiley dominated the Eagles’ pass rushers. All we heard all week was how talented edge rusher, Haasan Reddick, was and what he was going to do in this game against KC’s tackles. He had zero sacks and a single tackle.
What people failed to understand is he’s undersized. He has speed but beyond that, he can be manhandled. Brown and Wiley took it personally. As good as they were, a big assist goes to the Chiefs’ tight ends and running backs. They chipped at the Eagles’ end rushers giving Mahomes more time in the pocket
So why did the Chiefs really win? In my view, this was the best offensive play calling, I’ve seen from Andy Reid, and Eric Bieniemy on Sunday. Mahomes’ second-half touchdowns to Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore were executed brilliantly. They were savage calls by Reid and Bieniemy to call the same play knowing the Eagles would make the same mistake in coverage after the first touchdown.
Again, it’s probably true the Eagles had better overall talent than the Chiefs, but that means very little in games of this magnitude. For the Chiefs, who have been underdogs all season, their success boiled down to the heart of their championship quest. Granted it was Mahomes that led them, but he was hardly alone.
Once the tied had turned in the third quarter, the Chiefs knew they had the experience to close out the win. The Eagles simply did not. Much of it was coaching, and some of it was just pure will to beat the man in front of you. Yet, it required a team to come together after an emotional come to Jesus moment at halftime by both Mahomes and Kelce.
In summary, this game was about the emotional heart, and desire of this 53-man roster, that came together in the season’s most crucial moments. Since opening day, so many things had to go right for this team. But each time, especially after things went wrong at times since the postseason began, it’s remarkable this team overcame the odds every time.
I waited 50 years between super bowl victories from my beloved football team. With two on the books in four seasons, I’m pretty sure it won’t be another half decade before Mahomes guides this team to another Super Bowl in the next couple of years.
So as Chiefs fans, now that we are officially the Patriots, let’s enjoy the success during a rebuilding year when nearly half the roster was turned over after losing the AFC Championship to the Bengals a year ago.
Take a breath and realize the best is still yet to come!