By: Nick Grunewald
Patrick Mahomes has cemented himself in NFL history. At just 27 years old, his gold jacket is already being tailored for canton. He joined Tom Brady and Joe Montana as the only players in league history to win multiple MVPs and Super Bowl MVPs, quite the elite company.
Sorry to anyone who took the under, this game was fireworks from the start as both teams found their rhythm early.
Jalen Hurts, who was the best player on the field, found the endzone for one of his three rushing touchdowns in the game on the first drive. Mahomes answered right back with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. Three drives later the Eagles were right back in the end zone as A.J. Brown came down with a 45-yard bomb to retake the lead.
In what was nearly a perfect game offensively for Philadelphia, their one mistake came back to bite them. On 3rd and 5, Jalen Hurts took a sack and fumbled the ball which was scooped up and taken into the endzone by Kansas City’s Nick Bolton to tie the game once again.
Philly would respond by going on a 10-0 run with another Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown, a forced punt defensively, and then a field goal by Jake Elliott to give themselves a 24-14 lead after two quarters.
With a 10 point deficit at the half, history was not on the Chiefs side. Teams that trailed by 10 or more points at the half were 1-26 in the Super Bowl. The last team to come back? Tom Brady and the Patriots when they came back from down 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Anyone banking on that record moving to 1-27 wasn’t taking into account the extra 20 minutes Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy had during halftime for adjustments.
The second half was a completely different Chiefs offense.
An Eagles defense that had looked dominant all season and had two All-Pro corners (though don’t ask Deebo Samuel about that) was being exposed. Kansas City used more motion and the threat of motion to open up favorable matchups.
Patrick Mahomes got the Chiefs into the end zone on three of his four second half drives, the fourth drive leading to the eventual game winning field goal. He was as perfect as you could be, completing 13 of his 14 second half attempts (the one incompletion was a throw away to avoid a sack) and getting points every time he touched the ball. Even with how efficient he was passing the ball, his biggest play was picking up 26 yards to put the Chiefs comfortably in field goal range for Harrison Butker to kick the eventual game winner.
For as well as Kansas City played in the second half to come back from 10 down, Philadelphia was not going to roll over. They were in the Super Bowl for a reason.
When the Eagles fell behind for the first time all day, they could have lost all hope and rolled over. Instead, Jalen Hurts did his best superman impression and put the team once more on his back. Hurts went on an eight play, 75 yard drive which ended with him punching in his third rushing touchdown of the day capped with a game-tying two point conversion.
This game always felt like it was going to be decided by which team had the ball to finish, and that’s what happened. Patrick Mahomes led one last miraculous drive that ended with his Chiefs reclaiming the top spot in the NFL as Super Bowl champions. (Technically the Eagles finished with the ball, but a one play drive that ends with a hail mary 20 yards short of the endzone does not count, so I am right.)
For the Eagles, the bitter taste of coming so close to a championship and ultimately falling short will hang with them for a while. They will have tough decisions to make in regards to some impending free agents such as Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Miles Sanders and C.J. Gardner-Johnson (who they traded for with the Saints a year ago). There is also the Jalen Hurts contract situation looming over them as he will enter into the final year of his four year rookie contract (he does not have a fifth year option as he was a second round pick) and the team will likely want to lock him up long term. Any long term deal Hurts signs will cut into the available cap space significantly. Luckily, they do have the tenth overall selection in this year’s draft to work with and if there is any GM who has proven he can make things work when they seem difficult, it’s Howie Roseman.
For the Chiefs, let the talks of dynasties commence. In five years with Patrick Mahomes under center, the Chiefs have gone to five straight conference championships and three Super Bowls while winning two. After trading away Tyreek Hill most people thought the Chiefs reign of dominance would be over. Mahomes proved that as long as he is there, they will have a shot to win it all. Mahomes is under contract until 2032 and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The important part will be keeping their own. Chris Jones has one year left on his contract, do they risk letting him hit free agency in one year, especially after he just recorded 15.5 sacks this season? Orlando Brown Jr. will be a free agent this summer and he is someone the Chiefs will certainly look to retain.
Super Bowl Numbers
Jalen Hurts rushing
The Eagles loss is on anyone except Jalen Hurts. Hurts set a Super Bowl quarterback record with 70 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns (also a rushing two point conversion). For as many questions as they were before the season started regarding an extension, you’d think his play all year long would have shut people up. Somehow, it did not and people are still questioning if he’s done enough for a massive contract. Hurts could be looking at an extension north of 45+ million per year.
“Zero sacks, put it on a f—ing T-shirt” – Orlando Brown Jr. (Kansas City Chiefs LT)
The talk all week was about how the Chiefs offensive line would fare against one of the most historically dominant pass rushes. Fair skepticism, as the Eagles boasted a league high 78 sacks throughout the season and had four players record double digit sacks on the year. That group was completely isolated Sunday as the Chiefs O-line gave up zero sacks and left Patrick Mahomes with plenty of time in the pocket.
The quarterback play in Super Bowl 57 was otherworldly with both guys under center combining for over 600 total yards of offense. Jalen Hurts finished with 304 passing yards and tacked on another 70 on the ground. Patrick Mahomes numbers were not as eye popping but he played as efficiently as you possibly could. He completed 21/27 passing attempts (13/14 in the second half) for 184 yards and three touchdown passes while rushing for 44.
Kelce’s playoff dominance
Just as Patrick Mahomes has cemented himself amongst the all-time greats, Travis Kelce has done the same exact thing. Kelce finished Sunday’s game with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown reception moved Kelce past Rob Gronkowski with his 16th playoff touchdown reception, now trailing only Jerry Rice at 22.