By Garrett Glaeser, Sports Editor
Last night the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 to win Super Bowl LIV, the franchise’s second ever and first in fifty years. Down ten points to start the fourth, the Chiefs amounted yet another playoff comeback led by game MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes to score twenty-one unanswered.
Mahomes did not play particularly well for his standards, going 26/42 for 286 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions amounting to a measly QBR of 61.6. The Chiefs’ usually subdued running game was surprising as the team rushed for 129 yards with Damien Williams accounting for most with 104.
For the first three quarters of the game of the game the 49ers’ amazing season that started 8-0 seemed like it would be capped off by a Super Bowl win. Jimmy G was throwing relatively well, the only blemish being a single interception, the running game was solid but not outstanding, and the stout defense held one of the league’s most prolific offenses to just ten points at the half.
Tied at halftime, the momentum continued in the 49ers favor after a relatively well received halftime show by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. On the Chiefs first two possessions Mahomes threw interceptions that led to a 49ers touchdown and extension of the lead to ten.
On the drive following Mahomes’s second pick the 49ers punted, and the Chiefs found themselves in an almost insurmountable situation. Down two possessions with 7:13 left on the clock head coach Andy Reid was left with a tough play call for 3rd and 15.
An obvious passing situation and potentially even four down territory, Reid called a deep route that seemed to have receiver Tyreek Hill as the intended first option. The 49ers pass rush forced Mahomes to scramble but he still found Hill for a 44 yard gain to put the Chiefs on the 49ers 21 yard line. A pass interference call on the following 3rd and 10 put the Chiefs on the one yard line and a quick slant to tight end Travis Kelce made it a three point game.
The next possession largely determined the game. If the 49ers could just possess the ball and run down the clock, they would have a decent chance at winning. A touchdown on the possession would have all but sealed the win. Yet the Chiefs defense showed up and stuffed the 49ers on three straight plays forcing a punt and giving the now heating up Mahomes the ball back with great field position.
Unsurprisingly Mahomes led yet another game winning drive with a clutch pass to Sammy Watkins for a 38-yard gain. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Mahomes found Damien Williams for the go-ahead touchdown.
Even though the 49ers got the ball back with almost three minutes left to play their attempt to regain the lead fluttered and they turned it over on downs after gaining only 27 yards.
Taking over at the San Francisco 42 following a sack, all the Chiefs had to do was run out the clock and force the 49ers to burn their remaining timeouts. But to ice the game, Damien Williams broke free on 2nd and 6 for a 38-yard touchdown run, solidifying the Chiefs’ victory.
In a last-ditch long pass attempt the following possession Garoppolo was picked off for the second time and the Chiefs simply kneeled down to end the game.
The win marked Andy Reid’s first Super Bowl win, one that many would argue was long overdue. For 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, the loss was reminiscent of his offensive coordinating days in Atlanta, where the Falcons blew 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots a few Super Bowls ago.
Kansas City has opened up favorites to repeat again next year as is customary with most Super Bowl winning teams but the 49ers themselves are largely expected to make a run back to the biggest stage in sports.
The NFL will take a break for a little while before the draft in late April, but football season is not over. The revived XFL is scheduled to start next week with a slate of four games on Saturday and Sunday.
The Seattle Dragons will take on the DC Defenders, the LA Wildcats will scrap it out with the Houston Roughnecks, the Tampa Bay Vipers duel against the New York Guardians, and the St. Louis Battlehawks conclude the weekend against the Dallas Renegades.