Chiefs reign as NFL champions once again

After a nail-biting game for the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs win their second consecutive Super Bowl in overtime 25-22.
After a nail-biting game for the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs win their second consecutive Super Bowl in overtime 25-22.
Courtesy of Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated

“How bout a little Viva Las Vegas?” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce shouted into the microphone as he stood on the podium with Taylor Swift smiling at him. The Kansas City Chiefs had just beat the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 25-22 in their latest Super Bowl victory.

Not even five years after Tom Brady left the Patriots, there is a new dynasty in the AFC. The Chiefs have won three of the last five Super Bowls and have appeared in four of the last five games. After becoming the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back Super Bowls, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes are already thinking about next year. “I am going to celebrate tonight, celebrate at the parade and then work my way to get back in this game next year. I am going to do whatever I can to be back in this game next year. Three-peat,” Mahomes said.

Out of all the playoff runs in the Mahomes era, which began in 2018, this might have been the hardest way for the Chiefs to win it all. For starters, they didn’t have a first-round bye. They had to play road playoff games against teams led by Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, arguably the second and third best quarterbacks in the league behind Mahomes. They were 1.5 point underdogs for the big game for the first time. After the win, Mahomes reminded the world: “The Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs. Just know that.”

It’s not fair to say that this is the worst Chiefs team in the Mahomes era. Their defense was spectacular all season and they turned it up a notch in the postseason, holding their opponents to an average of 15.8 points. But it is fair to say that the Chiefs offense is the least talented that Mahomes has been around. With no real No. 1 wide receiver at the helm, the Chiefs led the league in drops and high-profile errors that lost them regular season games such as Kadarius Toney’s offsides vs the Bills wiping away a touchdown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s drop that cost them the game against the Eagles to name a few.

Just like Mahomes’ other two Super Bowl victories, the Chiefs went down ten points and needed a comeback.

49ers kicker Jake Moody hit a 55-yard field goal in the second quarter to put San Francisco up 3-0, breaking the previous record for longest field goal at a Super Bowl. Later in the second, wide receiver Jauan Jennings would toss a touchdown to running back Christian McCaffrey and the Niners were up ten. With the Chiefs slated to get the ball back after halftime, they drove down the field for a field goal.

Then, it was time for Usher. From H.E.R. to to Lil Jon, the performance was filled with roller skates, fancy acrobats and electric guitars. Alicia Keys made a special appearance on the piano to sing “If I Ain’t Got You.” Usher’s night ended with him being wedded to longtime girlfriend Jennifer Goicoechea.

The second half of the game started with a Chiefs three-and-out. Eventually, the Chiefs scored another field goal, cutting the 49ers lead to 10-6. Harrison Butker kicked a

57-yard field goal, breaking Moody’s record for the longest field goal in Super Bowl history from earlier in the game.

Shortly after, the Chiefs special teams awoke to make a game-changing play. Chiefs Tommy Townsend boomed a 40-yard punt to 49ers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III, but the ball bounced off of 49ers cornerback Darrell Luter Jr.’s foot. Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson recovered the punt, setting Kansas City up deep in 49ers territory. On the play after, Mahomes found Valdes-Scantling in the end-zone for a touchdown, letting the Chiefs take a 13-10 lead.

For a Chiefs offense that was struggling to move the ball, this was a huge turning point according to wide receiver Rashee Rice. “It was a huge momentum swing, especially Tommy got a foot on it, got a leg on it. I don’t know what you say for punters but he can kick. It was a great kick from him. We knew being able to get a head start down there in the red zone, just being able to take advantage of it,” he said.

The 49ers offense woke up as quarterback Brock Purdy threw a touchdown to Jennings, bringing the 49ers back in front. However, the Chiefs special teams made yet another play, blocking Moody’s extra point attempt, so the score would remain 16-13.

The Chiefs tied it up with another field goal before the 49ers drove down the field and got another field goal of their own. The score was 19-16. The Chiefs answered with a game-tying field goal, sending the game into overtime.

The 49ers won the toss and took the ball. With the new overtime rules where both teams get a chance at possession, the 49ers took the ball because, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, they “wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win.”

Thought, according to Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones that wouldn’t have mattered. “If they scored, we was going for two at the end of the game. We rehearsed it.”

Purdy led the 49ers down the field in 13 plays, getting all the way to the 9-yard line before the drive stalled and San Francisco banged another field goal through the uprights, making the score 22-19.

When the Chiefs got possession, it was 4th and 1 in 49ers territory. After a timeout, Mahomes ran for 8 yards keeping the Chiefs alive. A few plays later, he found wide receiver Mecole Hardman in the endzone for a touchdown. Shanahan’s hope for a third possession never materialized, and the Chiefs were crowned four-time Super Bowl champions.

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