OGUN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) –Even for people who have trouble understanding its intricate playbooks and systems, the NFL is starting to become simple to comprehend. Really, all you really need to know is that the squad that wins will almost certainly include Patrick Mahomes. And so it was in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Against the San Francisco 49ers, Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to their third Super Bowl championship in five years with an exciting 25-22 overtime win.
When asked what winning his third title meant to him, Mahomes responded, “It means a ton,” to CBS. “Dude, I’m proud of my guys; this is fantastic. It is renowned.
The Chiefs’ chances of making it to the Super Bowl appeared little to none for the majority of the season. Mahomes was surrounded by receivers who had two traits, except from rookie Rashee Rice and his preferred target Travis Kelce: they couldn’t get open or catch. That meant fans were met with a first in the Mahomes era: a Chiefs team that lent on its defense, masterminded by the team’s brilliant defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
The Chiefs won the toss and elected to kick, giving the 49ers the first possession. Perhaps the Chiefs thought their defense could stop the 49ers and scratch out an early psychological advantage. It soon did: George Karlaftis, born in Athens to a Greek father and an American mother, forced a fumble from Christian McCaffrey , who days earlier had been voted the NFL’s offensive player of the year, in the Chiefs’ half and the ball was in Mahomes’s hands. The 49ers’ run defense had looked shaky so far in the playoffs but it got a boost of its own, stopping the Chiefs’ percussive running back Isiah Pacheco for a three-yard loss. Short completions from Mahomes weren’t enough to maintain the drive and the Chiefs punted.
While Mahomes’s opposite number, Brock Purdy, has been helped this season by talented teammates on offense, such as McCaffrey, receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and offensive tackle Trent Williams, he is much more than the game manager his critics have painted him to be: he led the league in passer rating in the regular season, threw the third-most touchdowns and has an appetite for spectacular, risky plays. It took Purdy less than 10 minutes to attempt one in this game: on the 49ers’ next possession he scampered about before throwing the ball across his body – something quarterbacks are told never to do as it disrupts their finely tuned throwing mechanics – to George Kittle for an 18-yard gain. The catch was called back for a holding penalty but Purdy had shown he was going to play the game his way.
The first quarter ended scoreless, a testament to the strength of both defenses. It was San Francisco who opened the scoring shortly afterwards as Jake Moody converted a 55-yard field goal, the longest in Super Bowl history The Chiefs looked like they would hit straight back when Mahomes found Mecole Hardman for a 53-yard gain – a rare example of the 49ers pass rush giving Mahomes enough time to complete a throw of more than 10 yards – that took Kansas City to the 49ers’ nine-yard line. But the 49ers forced a fumble of their own as Decommodore Lenoir punched the ball from Pacheco’s grasp and Javon Hargrave recovered.
It had not been, it was safe to say, a classic so far for the viewing public. The Chiefs didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves either as Kelce roared at his head coach, Andy Reid, on the sidelines as he came off the field.
“I was just telling him how much I love him,” Kelce said after the game.
Something unique was needed to turn the tide of the game, and that thing arrived in the form of a crafty move. Purdy tossed the ball to Jauan Jennings, the receiver, who then passed it to McCaffrey. The pass seemed to flutter in the air for an eternity, and it was as harsh as you’d expect from a man who makes his living as a ball receiver. However, the startling realization that McCaffrey was in space—something he mercilessly takes advantage of—led him to charge into the end zone, giving the 49ers a 10-0 lead.
Source: The Guardian