Courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are world champions.
Kansas City rallied to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday night to win Super Bowl LIV and secure the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy in 50 years.
Trailing by 10 points with just under nine minutes remaining, Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City to 14 unanswered points to take the lead with a little over two minutes left in the game.
Mahomes first found tight end Travis Kelce for a one-yard touchdown to narrow the deficit before slinging a five-yard score to tailback Damien Williams for the Chiefs’ first lead since midway through the second quarter.
It was then up to the defense to protect the advantage, and facing a fourth-and-10 at midfield, defensive end Frank Clark sacked 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to effectively secure the victory. The Chiefs took back over offensively, and Williams found the end zone yet again on a third-down, 38-yard touchdown scamper to seal it.
The Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions for the first time in a half-century behind Mahomes, who was named MVP post-game, as the 24-year-old became the second-youngest starting quarterback to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in NFL history.
It was an absolutely thrilling finish to an incredibly evenly matched contest.
San Francisco put together an impressive drive on the game’s opening possession, marching down the field through a series of big plays that included a 32-yard rush by wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who nearly broke free for a score before Chiefs’ safety Tyrann Mathieu tore across the field for the touchdown-saving tackle.
The Chiefs later held just inside the red zone, forcing San Francisco to settle for a field goal and rewarding Mathieu’s effort with what later proved to be a massive stop.
Kansas City then answered with an outstanding series of its own, stringing together a 15-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard, go-ahead touchdown scramble by Mahomes to push the Chiefs in front.
The 15-play series was tied for the second-longest drive in terms of plays engineered by Kansas City this season, leading to the Chiefs’ first lead of the night.
The Chiefs then immediately proceeded to come up with a big play on the other side of the ball following Mahomes’ score, as defensive tackles Chris Jones and Mike Pennel brought immense pressure on 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to force an errant throw into the arms of cornerback Bashaud Breeland for the interception.
Kicker Harrison Butker connected on a 31-yard field goal to turn the takeaway into points a short while later, extending the Chiefs’ advantage. San Francisco knotted things up, however, with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard scoring strike from Garoppolo to fullback Kyle Juszczyk to tie the game.
The 49ers then took the lead following the break, as kicker Robbie Gould nailed a 42-yard field goal to push San Francisco ahead for the first time since the opening minutes of the first quarter, before extending their advantage further with a one-yard touchdown plunge by tailback Raheem Mostert on the 49ers’ next drive.
Kansas City moved into 49ers’ territory on its ensuing drive, but cornerback Tarvarius Moore picked off Mahomes just outside the red zone to stall the series. The Chiefs held defensively, forcing San Francisco to punt and flipping possession back over to Kansas City with just under nine minutes remaining in regulation, setting up a 44-yard connection between Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill on third-and-15 to move the chains.
The Chiefs then completed the drive three plays later, as Mahomes hit tight end Travis Kelce for a one-yard touchdown to bring Kansas City within three.
Momentum now building on their side, the Chiefs held defensively on the 49ers’ next possession to force a punt and again turn possession back over to Mahomes, who found wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a 38-yard completion downfield. Kansas City had the lead three plays later, as Williams dove for the pylon on third down to push the Chiefs in front.
Clark sacked Garoppolo on the 49ers’ ensuing possession and Williams found the end zone yet again soon after, securing the league title for Kansas City.
The Chiefs moved to 5-0 this season – and 3-0 in the playoffs – when trailing by double-digits, making Mahomes the first starting quarterback in NFL history to overcome three double-digit comebacks in a single postseason.
It all helped Head Coach Andy Reid hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in his legendary career as Kansas City tallied its second world championship in franchise history.