Patrick Mahomes rallied his troops in overtime to secure a 25-22 victory over the 49ers, and not only won his third Super Bowl as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs but claimed his third Super Bowl MVP Trophy. Below, we discuss the top three reasons why the Chiefs defeated the 49ers in this year’s big NFL game.
1. Patrick Mahomes vs. Brock Purdy
If there was one primary reason why I bet on the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII, it’s because Patrick Mahomes is in a class all by himself. This is in no way intended as disrespect to Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft who was deemed Mr. Irrelevant, who has exceeded all expectations and is a more than capable starting NFL quarterback.
However, if Patrick Mahomes retired today at the age of 28, they would already be polishing up his bronze bust in Canton. He’s got a Tom Brady-like will to win and refuses to lose in the biggest moments. While others wilt, he shines and he did so again in the final drive of overtime with his team down by a field goal.
“As soon as they kicked that field goal, we knew we were going to go down the field and score,” Chiefs center Creed Humphrey told the media after the game. “We knew we could come back … that was just another chance to face adversity”
It took 13 plays and a little over seven minutes for Mahomes to plant the dagger in the 49ers’ hearts with a three-yard flare to Mecole Hardman that clinched the 25-22 Super Bowl victory. Mahomes proved yet again that he is the X-factor and now with three Super Bowl rings, he is chasing legends like Terry Bradshaw (4), Joe Montana (4) and, of course, Tom Brady (7).
“We prepare for the deep moments when it gets hard,” said rookie receiver Rashee Rice. “Just stick to the plan, stick to everything that we prepare for.”
“It’s been amazing. (I’m) super grateful to Pat (Mahomes), I’m blessed to play in the Super Bowl with that man,” Rice said.
“The whole game was our whole entire season,” Mahomes said from the victory stage after the game. “Just know that the Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs.”
2. KC Defense Shuts Down McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey is a game-changing, dual-threat tailback and keeping him in check was a top priority of the Kansas City defense. The Chiefs did that as well as anyone could have possibly expected, limiting the First Team All-Pro to 80 rushing yards on 22 carries, a 3.6 yards per carry average and 80 receiving yards on 8 receptions with one touchdown.
Although McCaffrey’s stats in Super Bowl LVIII would be considered superior for most backs, it is a sterling example of Kansas City’s ability to contain him, knowing they could not stop him entirely. Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo understood the mission and conveyed it seamlessly to his charges.
Spagnuolo’s Strategy Pays Off
We should also note that Spagnuolo tinkered with the defense after the first half and turned up the heat on Purdy, bringing the blitz on over 51% of Purdy’s passing plays. It undeniably affected the young quarterback, as Chris Jones was turned loose and caused Purdy to make several errant passes.
Cornerback Trent McDuffie also dazzled with several perfectly timed pass swats that would have resulted in big plays or even touchdowns. San Francisco’s star wideout, Deebo Samuel, was rendered ineffective by the smothering coverage, catching only three passes for 33 yards.
And when it came to big plays, the Chiefs buckled down and held the 49ers to just 3 of 12 third-down conversions which consistently kept the Niners on their heels. That was just the beginning of the Niners’ struggles as they couldn’t consistently maintain a threatening offense although they continued to get the ball in the hands of McCaffrey who was stymied by KC’’s run-stop defense.
“Defense played out of their mind … special teams jumped up there and dominated right at the end,” coach Andy Reid said. “I’m so proud of the whole group.”
3. Harrison Butker Sets Record
We can’t talk about Kansas City’s veteran kicker Harrison Butker without first mentioning San Francisco’s rookie booter, Jake Moody. The third-round pick out of Michigan in last April’s draft clearly has ice water in his veins. He was a perfect 3-for-3 and set a Super Bowl record with a 55-foot blast early in the second quarter.
However, that record didn’t last long as the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker blasted a 57-yarder in the third quarter to bring the Chiefs to within four points. The kickers’ duel was fascinating to watch, but Moody’s blocked PAT proved to be a seismic shift in the game. However, Harrison was perfect on the evening and his steely resolve helped the Chiefs capture their third Super Bowl title in the Patrick Mahomes era.