If there’s one thing that the Kansas City Chiefs did consistently on their way to a Super Bowl Championship, it was stress their fans out. In all three playoff games, the Chiefs were down by at least 10 points, and were forced to claw themselves back. In the first two contests against the Texans and Titans, they were down early in the game, and you still had a feeling that they would come back and at least make the game close. Yesterday had a slightly different feeling, especially after a 4th quarter throw from Patrick Mahomes deflected off Tyreek Hill’s hands and into the arms of a 49ers defensive player as Kansas City was driving into the red zone.
The score was 20-10, there was 12 minutes left, and San Fransisco had the ball. If you’ve watched any 49ers games this year, you’d know how dominant their running game has been all season. So you’d think that they’d just run the ball and bleed the clock for a while, right? Surprisingly, that’s not how it happened. In fact, the 49ers held the ball for only 3 minutes before punting it back to Kansas City. In just 10 plays, the Chiefs marched down the field, and all of the sudden it was a game again. A few minutes later, they would score another touchdown to take the lead and never give it back, ending in the franchise’s first Super Bowl win in 50 years.
Although the game was going well for San Fransisco for most of the night, the last ten minutes showed us the difference in these 2 quarterbacks, and how Jimmy Garropolo simply couldn’t hang around with Patrick Mahomes. When the Chiefs were in trouble and needing a score, it was Mahomes who got it done. The best example of this was a 44 yard pass to Tyreek Hill on 3rd and 15 when they were still down 10. The team’s classic big pass offence had been practically invisible all day, but when the game was on the line, Mahomes completed the longest completion of the day to his superstar wideout. When the 49ers got the ball and needed to complete big passes, Garropolo just wasn’t able to get the offence moving. In the fourth quarter, they ran just 16 plays opposed to Kansas City’s 36. San Fransisco had relied heavily on their run game all year, and their lack of a passing game ending up coming back to hurt them in the biggest game of the year.
Lastly, I would feel bad if I failed to mention the play of Chiefs running back Damien Williams. The run game was being used more often than usual by Kansas City, and they were able to stick to it because of Williams. He carried the ball 17 times, which was a number he’d reached in only 2 other games this year. After scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just over 2 minutes left, he got to put the game on ice with a 38-yard touchdown run after the 49ers turned the ball over. Williams ended up with 104 yards on the ground, his third highest output for the year. Although Mahomes winning MVP made sense, Damien Williams would have been an equally deserving recipient.
And so ends another great NFL season. Enjoy the win while you can Kansas City, because next year that Lombardi trophy is coming back to Seattle.