Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have done it. They are back-to-back champions after outlasting the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Kansas City found itself down 22-19 in overtime after Brock Purdy led the 49ers down the field for three to open the extra stanza.
That’s when Mahomes drove the Chiefs down the field 75 yards on 13 plays, culminating in a touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman from three yards out for the walk-off win.
San Francisco played off coverage for most of that drive before head coach Kyle Shanahan seemingly overruled defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. It’s this that the 49ers were burnt on fourth-and-one as well as third-and-long on the drive. Mahomes completed 7-of-7 passes for 38 yards on that final drive.
As the Chiefs were creating a dynasty inside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the 49ers came up small again. This represents San Francisco’s second loss to the Chiefs in the big game over the past half-decade. Shanahan simply has not been able to get over the hump.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort from a 49ers team that was impacted due to a first-half injury to star linebacker Dre Greenlaw. But a Jake Moody missed extra point coupled with some questionable coaching decision led to the 49ers coming up short again. Here are five winners and loser from the Chiefs’ epic overtime win over San Francisco.
Winner: Patrick Mahomes does it again for Kansas City Chiefs
Three-time Super Bowl champion. Mahomes has now entered the chat as one of the greatest of all-time with Tom Brady and Joe Montana. Three Super Bowl titles in four years. Three Super Bowl MVP awards.
The feeling of dread was certainly there for 49ers fans as Mahomes took his Chiefs on to the field in overtime. A field goal lead. Seventy-five yards standing in the way of San Francisco’s sixth Lombardi Trophy or a Chiefs dynasty.
That’s when Mahomes came up absolutely huge. Facing pressure throughout the game, he was spreading the ball all around the field. Mahomes ended up completing 34-of-46 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He continually converted on third down. He hit big pass after big pass. It was a legacy game for Mahomes, and he was more than up to the task.
Loser: San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan comes up small again
San Francisco found itself up 10-3 at the half against Kansas City Sunday evening. The team then went three-and-out on its first three possessions in the second half. Those nine plays saw Shanahan call eight passes compared to one run with reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey.
We’re not 100% sure what Shanahan was thinking there. Why not ride your best offensive player as you look to take a multi-score lead? Like clockwork, San Francisco would score a touchdown on its fourth drive in the second half. McCaffrey touched the ball five times on that drive. Simple, right?
Shanahan is now 0-2 in the Super Bowl as San Francisco’s head coach. Both losses saw the team blow double-digit leads to the Chiefs. He just has not been up to snuff. It’s now fair to ask if Shanahan can ever win the big game.
Winner: Brock Purdy shows he’s not a game manager for the San Francisco 49ers
Down 19-16 late in the fourth quarter, this sophomore quarterback led the 49ers down the field 40 yards on seven plays for the go-ahead field goal with less than two minutes left. After a Mahomes drive led the Chiefs down the field for a game-tying field goal, Purdy opened the overtime period with a 66-yard field goal drive to put the 49ers up.
Purdy did everything that he could do in order to lead San Francisco to the win. Those two drives saw him 6-of-9 passes for 73 yards. Sure, he missed on third down both times. But that’s because the pressure Kansas City brought to the table.
Purdy ended the game having completed 23-of-38 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions in defeat. He played stellar football outside of some struggles in the second an third quarters. He came up big when the 49ers needed it the most. Unfortunately, their defense just couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
Loser: George Kittle’s disappearing act
Kittle entered Super Bowl LVIII talking a big game. The tight end knew that what he did in San Francisco’s loss to Kansas City back in February of 2020 just was not acceptable (four receptions for 36 yards). About that? Kittle came up even smaller this time around with two catches for four yards on three targets.
Sure, Kittle was asked to block more. He also suffered a should injury an briefly exited in the second half. But he was not in any way part of the 49ers’ offensive attack in a game that they needed him to be. It was an ugly all-around performance from the “people’s” tight end.
Winner: Travis Kelce dominates for Kansas City Chiefs in second half
The injury to 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw certainly played a role in Kelce getting it going in the second half on Sunday. The Pro Bowler caught one pass for a single yard in the first half. The 49ers’ defense did a great job in coverage against Kelce.
That’s when things changed. In the second half and overtime, Kelce hauled in eight passes for 92 yards on eight targets. We’re talking huge first down after huge first down as his better half was chearing him on from a luxury suit. Kelce talked a good game heading into this one, and he backed it up big time inside Allegiant.
Loser: Isiah Pacheco almost caughs up game for Kansas City Chiefs
Losing a fumble near the red zone in a Super Bowl can’t be seen as a good thing. Almost losing another fumble certainly is not a good thing. If it weren’t for Christian McCaffrey’s game-opening fumble and Jake Moody’s extra-point miss, we might be talking about this former seventh-round pick as an absolute loser of Super Bowl LVIII.
Pacheco also averaged a mere 3.3 yards per rush while missing multiple blocking assignments throughout the game. At the very least, he was picked up by the star duo of Mahomes and Kittle.