February 26, 2024

2024 Super Bowl Winners and Losers: Patrick Mahomes was legendary

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The dynasty also known as the Kansas City Chiefs is here.

The Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58 on Sunday night in Las Vegas, 25-22, becoming the first team in 19 seasons to repeat as Super Bowl champions. They have won three titles in the last half decade. And behind that lie the constants: coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who took home his third career Super Bowl MVP award and became just the third player in NFL history to do so.

It’s heartbreak again for the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan. There’s plenty to blame, but one thing the 49ers should take solace in is that quarterback Brock Purdy shined on the sport’s biggest stage.

CHIEFS FANS: You can purchase the commemorative Super Bowl 58 cover here

Here are the winners and losers of Super Bowl 58.

WINNERS

Legendary Patrick Mahomes

If he hadn’t already made his greatness undeniable, go ahead and crown Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who removed any doubt that he’s among the best to ever do it. His uncanny feel for the game and his pocket presence, his inventory of the open spaces on the field, his ability to run with a dual threat and throw every pass required of him – these have made the Chiefs the first team that wins consecutive Super Bowls in 19 seasons. In each of Kansas City’s three Super Bowl victories, he has brought his team back from a 10-point deficit.

Against the 49ers, Mahomes was in complete control, save for the errant double-coverage interception. He avoided forcing plays. He surveyed the field and liked to bombard the 49ers with underpasses that were available as the Niners fell into the zone. He is Michael Jordan, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Serena Williams. The scary part – at least for the rest of the NFL – is that Mahomes is only 28 and reaching his peak.

Let’s explain Mahomes’ mobility in more detail

While San Francisco dictated the line of scrimmage in the first half, Mahomes made a small adjustment to his play to generate some momentum for Kansas City in the third quarter: He used his legs more. In the first half he only ran the ball seven meters twice. In the third quarter alone, he rushed for 26 yards three times, including a 22-yarder on a third down that set up a field goal.

Mahomes actually finished as Kansas City’s leading rusher with 66 yards on nine attempts. When he becomes a threat against the rush, he compromises the defense because he is still a threat to throw the ball down the field even when he is in motion. Frankly, it’s a huge task to defend.

Kansas City’s ability to work through blowouts, penalties and turnovers

This Chiefs team, perhaps the least talented of the Reid-Mahomes era (at least on offense), faced trials throughout the regular season. In the first half alone, tight end Travis Kelce blew up Reid and bumped him on the sideline, star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed committed a completely avoidable unnecessary roughness penalty and running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled in the red zone.

Despite all that, a series of events that would almost certainly cause many teams to implode, the Chiefs corrected course and returned to their strengths. They rallied behind their leaders as defensive tackle Chris Jones, who gathered the entire defense on the sideline for a meeting. And above all, they focused on football. Call it championship courage, call it whatever you want, but Kansas City’s ability to work through everything made for a productive second half.

Brock Purdy

He wasn’t the winning quarterback, but Purdy’s play (23 of 38 for 255 yards and a touchdown) should answer any questions San Francisco might have about his ability to win at the highest level. Now, Purdy is a player who certainly needs a certain level of talent around him in order to thrive. He’s not the type to elevate the average receiver like Mahomes, but he’s more than capable of winning a Super Bowl if he’s in the right system.

Purdy especially excelled when he was under pressure. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 131 yards and the score when the Chiefs blitzed and he faced blitzes on more than half (51.2%) of his dropbacks. He was measured, played with poise and took care of the ball. He is a polarizing player, but whatever you may think of his abilities, he has shown that he can handle the game’s toughest tests.

Kansas City O-line

Although they had been in control for most of the game, Kansas City’s offensive line parried the 49ers’ pass rushers in the second half. Mahomes’ increased mobility certainly helped offset some of San Francisco’s pressure, but Kansas City’s front more than protected Mahomes on Kansas City’s 13-play, 75-yard game-winning drive.

The Chiefs gained 208 of their 455 yards – 45.7% of their total offensive output – in the fourth quarter and overtime alone. It’s no coincidence that this is the moment the Chiefs’ offensive line took over.

LOSERS

Kyle Shanahan

The reasons for the Niners’ collapse are numerous, but the person who ultimately carries the most weight is the head coach. As an attacking player, he orchestrated a decent game at times, but he also made some glaring mistakes. The 49ers completely ignored star running back and AP Offensive Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey in the first three drives of the third quarter.

San Francisco recorded three consecutive three-and-outs to start the second half. Shanahan’s 49ers also struggled on third downs and couldn’t adapt to the pressure Chiefs coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was generating. San Francisco converted just three of 12 (25%) third down attempts. One who came out of the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter and one who had possession during overtime, setting up field goals when touchdowns were needed. In all three Super Bowls in which Shanahan was head coach or offensive coordinator, his team had a lead of at least 10 points. His teams are 0-3 in those games.

Not to pile on… but: his decision to receive first in OT

This may have been divisive, but it still gave the Chiefs an unintended advantage. With the overtime rules change, both teams had a chance to possess the ball and Shanahan chose to receive first. He said in post-game comments that he wanted the ball if the game went to sudden death on the possible third possession of overtime.

The problem: When you faced a team like the Chiefs, who have a quarterback like Mahomes, allowing that offense to play second-down essentially gave it the freedom to run in four-down situations throughout the entire possession. to stand. It’s hard enough to face Mahomes when he has three downs. By giving him one more, while he’s flourishing in stages like the Super Bowl, he inadvertently placed an unnecessary burden on his defense, which — at this point — was already gassed. To that point, the 49ers defense had was just on the field before the start of extra time. Still, it’s deeply flawed logic to give that offense – an offense that had seized all the momentum – the chance to score a winning touchdown.

Steve Wilks and zone coverage

This is tricky, because how exactly do you stop a player like Mahomes? San Francisco controlled the line of scrimmage in the first half, rushing Mahomes and surrounding him in the pocket.

However, when San Francisco’s defense appeared to be struggling with fatigue late in the game, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks relied far too much on zone coverage with 49ers players lined up too far from the line, leaving a comfortable cushion for Mahomes to utilize to make. This was most evident during overtime. What made matters worse was that when those defenders dropped back, it often created a vacuum that Mahomes exploited with his rush. Wilks had a solid game overall and losing Dre Greenlaw was a huge blow. Honestly, most of the blame here should be placed on an offense that left points on the field and completely bogged down in the third quarter. But when the game started to turn late in the fourth, the 49ers could have made defensive adjustments in the form of more pressure to slow the avalanche of Mahomes and the Chiefs.

You simply can’t donate points to the Reid-Mahomes Chiefs

Yet late in the third quarter, that’s exactly what the 49ers did. It’s so demoralizing for a defense to get stopped, especially against a quarterback like Mahomes, only for the special teams unit to botch the punt return. When Tommy Townsend’s punt came off the foot of rookie corner Darrell Luter Jr. ended up in the hands of Chiefs corner Jaylen Watson.

The Chiefs thrive when teams give them these types of opportunities, and on the next play, Kansas City scored the first touchdown of the Super Bowl. It also gave them momentum; the Chiefs would score on every possession after the failed return.

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