The Chiefs appeared doomed until their young quarterback Patrick Mahomes took over Super Bowl LIV and guided them to a thrilling come-from-behind 31-20 victory over the 49ers on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
If the Chiefs can continue to surround Mahomes with talent, they figure to be in Super Bowl contention for the next decade.
“I mean obviously I’ve had a good start to my career,” Mahomes said. “I’ve been blessed to be in a great organization with a lot of great players around me that make my job a lot easier, but I know it’s going to take a long time of consistency if I want to be where I want to be at in the end.
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“And I’m lucky enough that I have a lot of great people around me, that I have a chance to go out there every single year and compete.”
Here are five things we learned from Super Bowl LIV:
1. Mahomes power. Mahomes now has a career record (including postseason) of 28-8 as an NFL starting quarterback.
“He did a great job,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He kept firing. That’s what he did.”
Mahomes struggled early and had to shake off two interceptions to lead the rally.
“The guys around him just believed in him, we all did, all the coaches, likewise,” Reid said. “Then our defense had a couple of great stands in there. We knew it’d be a close game. ... We’d have to battle through and nobody lost their poise.”
Mahomes said the 44-yard completion to wide receiver Tyreek Hill on third down-and-15 was the key to the rally.
"They were playing this kind of robber coverage all game long where the safety was coming down and kind of robbing all our deep cross routes, and we had a good play call on it where we had (Travis) Kelce do a little stutter deep cross,” Mahomes said. “We had Tyreek getting one-on-one with that safety, but the biggest thing was we needed really good protection.
“It was a long route, and it was actually the same play we ran against New England in the playoffs last year where I hit him down the sideline. So, we got good protection by the offensive line. They gave me enough time, and I put it out there and Tyreek made a great play."
2. Damien Williams show. Chiefs running back Damien Williams rushed 17 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. He also has four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown reception.
With San Francisco dropping back deep to try to contain Hill, Williams had some room to work underneath.
Mahomes said the 49ers were running some “robber” zones that took away their crossing routes.
Hill finished with nine catches for 105 yards and Kelce had six catches for 43.
Williams and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who had five catches for 98 yards, were left in one-on-one situations and came through.
“Damien, I thought, did a great job,” Reid said. “I thought Sammie (Watkins), Damien, Tyreek (Hill), the offensive line rallying around the guys. Damien has put together three games now that have been powerful. When needed,”
Williams closed out the scoring with a 38-yard touchdown run.
“That 95-weak there at the end in the backfield, that’s an old-school formation, double tight (ends) and two backs,” Reid said. “It’s nothing but power football. For him to pound it in like that, that was great.”
With Williams ready to run, the Chiefs had running back LeSean McCoy inactive for the game.
3. Shananhan’s play-calling gets questioned. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan was the Falcons offensive coordinator when they blew a 25-point lead in Super Bowl LI.
The 49ers blew at 10-point, fourth-quarter lead in Super Bowl LIV to the Chiefs and Shanahan’s handling of the clock at the end of the first half and his play-calling late in the game were questioned after the loss to the Chiefs.
Shanahan ran out the clock instead of trying to score against the Chiefs late in the second quarter with the score tied 10-10.
With a 20-17 lead, Shanahan was asked if he should have been running the ball more.
“No, not at all,” Shanahan said. “The last thing you’re thinking about when you’re up and there is that much time left, the clock is not an issue at that time, especially with the timeouts.
“The issue was moving the chains. If you move the chains, then you will wind the clock.”
4. 50-year drought is over. With the victory in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs become the 13th franchise with multiple Super Bowl victories. Their first and second wins are a record 50 years apart (50 years, 22 days since Jan. 11, 1970 in New Orleans).
“I’m happy for the Hunt family most of all,” Reid said. “They’ve been through a lot over the years. For them to have (the Vince Lombardi trophy) back in their hands, I think is tremendous. And for the city of Kansas City, it’s great.”
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With the win by the Chiefs, the AFC has now tied NFC in Super Bowl victories at 27-27. It is the fifth win in the last six Super Bowls for the AFC (three by the Patriots) and sixth in the last eight.
5. Comeback power. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs were the first team to win three games in a postseason in which they trailed by 10-plus points at some point.
“We could be down 24 points,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “Give us a quarter, Pat Mahomes in there, receiving corps going to make it happen. Defense, we're going to step up, make a few stops to put them in a position to make it happen."
The comeback from 10 points down matches the second biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. After the 25-point comeback by the Patriots against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, it is one of four 10-point comeback victories.
“We’d done it before,” Reid said. “We’ll just do it again and we did.”
The Chiefs believe the driving power behind their Super Bowl run started with a narrow loss to the New England in the AFC title game last season.
“I think the effect that it had on the guys they felt it getting that far and then being that four inches off, it wasn’t just Dee Ford, it was all of us,” Reid said. “We were all four inches. We could’ve done four inches better.”
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