By David McDonnell
As Super Bowls go, this was an absolute classic.
This game had many twists and turns and those that lapped up the late night coffee were rewarded with a game for the ages
If you went to bed and missed watching America’s greatest export into the wee hours of morning, here is how SuperBowl 57 unfolded.
In hindsight, we were given a glimpse of what was to come when both the Eagles and Chiefs scored touchdowns on their opening possessions. Jalen Hurts first punched it in from one yard, before Mahomes responded by finding Travis Kelce for their usual touchdown.
The Eagles dominated possession in the opening two quarters and they were winning the battle in the trenches by running the ball behind their O-Line. Hurts was outstanding and dictated the action from the pocket and soon put to sleep any worries about his recent shoulder injury. In the second quarter he found AJ Brown with a deep ball for a touchdown.
When the Eagles forced a three and out and got the ball back, they looked to add to their lead but a fumble by Hurts resulted in Nick Bolton returning the ball to level the scores at 14-14.
Hurts responded to his mistake by leading his team up the field and he took off on a run to give Philly first and goal. One play later he ran into the endzone, after getting a great block by Jason Kelce, for his second rushing touchdown of the game.
Mahomes tried to respond in a two minute drill, but after getting tackled on a third down, he limped off the field and looked in pain on the sideline.
At this point everything seemed to be going Philly’s way and Jake Elliot added a field goal to give the Eagles a 10-point lead at half-time.
After Rhianna’s performance, the Chiefs changed strategy as they only had just over eight minutes of possession from the allotted 30 in the opening half. It became obvious from the opening drive of the second half that they were going to commit more to their rushing attack.
Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco ran hard every chance he got and finished that first drive of the third quarter with a touchdown.
Nick Bolton then looked to have recovered another fumble for a touchdown but the score was chalked off somewhat controversially in my opinion.
Hurts responded with his best drive of the game, which included his best pass of the contest to Dallas Goedert on third and 14, which was ruled a catch even after a challenge flag was thrown by Andy Reid.
The Chiefs defence got a big stop on third down in the red zone and the Eagles had to settle for a kick at goal, which gave Philly a six-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
Kansas City responded by throwing to Jerrick McKinnon in the backfield which gave Mahomes shorter third downs to complete, which he converted by throwing quick strikes to Juju Smith-Schuster.
The Chiefs then took the lead with 12 minutes remaining when Kadarius Toney, a mid season pick up from the Giants, was left on his own for a simple touchdown as the Eagles swallowed the bait of too many DBs trying to cover Travis Kelce.
Ninety seconds later, a huge punt return by Toney saw the Chiefs knocking on the door once again. This was the paly of the game.
This time Mahomes found rookie Skyy Moore for a very similar touchdown to the previous one but on the other side of the hashes.
Hurts got the ball trailing by eight points and led another magnificent drive which saw him connect with a deep ball to Devonta Smith. Hurts then ran in for another touchdown from close range and also ran in for the two point conversion to tie the game 35-35 with just over five minutes remaining.
The game was in the melting pot and two minutes later, Mahomes caught everyone by surprise when he took off on a run upfield on his injured foot.
Soon after on third down, Mahomes threw an incomplete pass towards Smith-Schuster but corner-back James Bradberry was flagged for a tug on Juju, which gave the Chiefs a fresh set of downs with under two minutes to play.
On first and goal, McKinnon then had a chance to score a touchdown but knowing the Eagles were out of timeouts, grounded the ball at the one yard line.
This was a great example of situational awareness as it took almost 90 seconds off the clock and gave his teammate Harrison Butker a chance to win the Superbowl with a chip shot field goal.
Butker did his duty and with it the Kansas City Chiefs won the Superbowl with Patrick Mahomes named as SuperBowl MVP.
To the victor go the spoils.
This SuperBowl will be talked about for a long time to come. Overall, it was the highly entertaining game that the 38-35 scoreline suggests.
A lot of the credit has to go to Head Coach Andy Reid and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who adjusted their game plan at half time. By getting the Eagles defence to run from sideline to sideline, in the end they couldn’t put enough pressure on Mahomes on passing downs.
The much vaunted Eagles defence, who led the NFL in sacks this season, didn’t record one in the Super Bowl and it was a major factor in them losing a game.
Huge credit must also go to the Chiefs O-Line who gave Mahomes a clean pocket all game and in the end the Chiefs QB brought home the bacon.