Another NFL season has come and gone, but it’s certainly one that I’ll never forget. Especially that Super Bowl being a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
As a sports game predictor, my playoff record during this postseason was 6-5 after the abysmal 3-8 record that I had last postseason. And while the game was closer than the final score had indicated, I wasn’t that far off in my prediction, as the Chiefs won 31-20 against the San Francisco 49ers. I predicted 38-17.
As for the game itself, it was a game that was a little nerve-wracking, as the 49ers ground game, along with both its play action passing game and roll out passing game, seemed to have the Chiefs defense on their heels quite a bit. Plus, the 49ers defense looked like its normal vaunted self.
But after failing to capitalize on safety Tavarius Moore’s interception of Patrick Mahomes and with the 49ers up 20-10, Kyle Shanahan’s bunch punted the ball back to the Chiefs with 8:33 remaining in regulation. And once the Chiefs got the ball back with that much time on the clock and on their own 20-yard line, Mahomes worked his magic when his team needed it most.
Taking advantage of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense preventing the 49ers from extending their then 10-point lead, Mahomes went 3-for-6 for 54 yards and a touchdown pass to his All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce to cut the deficit to 20-17 with 6:13 remaining.
Spagnuolo’s defensive unit then got a crucial three-and-out, thus getting the ball back for Mahomes with 5:10 to go in the game. And unlike the previous drive, the Chiefs only had 65 yards to go in order to retake the lead. And once again, Mahomes was brilliant, as he went 5-for-5 for 61 yards (60 net) and the go-ahead five-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams to give the Chiefs their first lead at 24-20 since a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Despite the shift in momentum, the 49ers still had a chance with 2:39 remaining. But after the combination of Chris Jones and Kendall Fuller defensing two of Jimmy Garoppolo’s passes and Terrell Suggs forcing an incompletion of Garoppolo with heavy pressure on third down, the Chiefs got their first and only sack of the game on 4th-and-10, thanks to Frank Clark making a nice inside move to get Garoppolo in the grasp to force a turnover on downs.
Williams and Fuller then each sealed the game, with the former extending the Chiefs lead to 31-20 on a 38-yard touchdown run and the latter intercepting Garoppolo on San Francisco’s “too little, too late” drive with 57 seconds remaining. Mahomes finally did the rest with three kneel downs and a fourth down throw away pass to end the Chiefs’ 50-year Super Bowl drought, along with giving Andy Reid his first Super Bowl championship as head coach.
As for my reaction to that game, well I’m a Chiefs fan, so you already know. Granted, there were certain players (Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Justin Houston, Alan Bailey) that I wish could be a part of this Super Bowl 54 winning team. And quite possibly, they could be all a part of future Chiefs Super Bowl teams, whether three of them (Berry, Houston, Bailey) come back for second stints with the team as players or if any of them come back in coaching/front office roles. And given what the Chiefs have at quarterback now, such possibilities aren’t far-fetched at all. And speaking of the quarterback that they have, he was my pick to win Super Bowl 54 MVP and while my predicted stat line for him (268 passing yards, two touchdown passes, one rushing touchdown) for him was mostly close but no cigar, he was clearly deserving of the game’s MVP Award. Especially when he erased that 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
The 2019-20 Kansas City Chiefs is the classic storybook one in which a team that came up just short in heartbreaking fashion wins it all the next season. And while they didn’t face the New England Patriots during this epic postseason run, it’s a storybook season, nonetheless. And with the 24-year old author that they have at quarterback, they are set up for quite a few more storybook seasons after this one. Thank you, Patrick Mahomes. Thank you!