Mahomes’ lack of game-winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks shouldn’t be held against him. In his 31 career regular-season starts, the Chiefs are 24-7 and they’ve outscored their opposition by an average of 9.5 points per game. In his four career playoff starts, the Chiefs are 3-1 and they’ve outscored their opposition by an average of 10.8 points per game. Going through his game log and box scores, it’s remarkable how many big leads the Chiefs have held with Mahomes at quarterback. That’s far more important than game-winning drives or come-from-behind wins, because it eliminates the possibility of a loss.
46. Super Bowl IV
Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7
Hank Stram’s Chiefs handled the Vikings, snuffing out the rushing attack in a game with pretty sloppy weather. Friendly reminder that Len Dawson is amazing.
“He had a beat on the ball,” Hampton, who passed on college football after he was drafted in the sixth round by the Mariners in 1990, said in a phone interview Thursday. “I think I was finally taller than someone and if he wasn’t gonna catch it, I was gonna catch it. … I mean, a 5-year-old is tracking a ball off a major league bat and we were pretty deep. We’re kind of close to the fence, probably about 330 [feet] out there and he’s tracking it like it’s nothing. Just special. You could tell, the athleticism, it’s just different. … Man, he’s full of it.”
“One, his mobility is unique. His arm strength is ridiculous. He’s very, very accurate. But, what I don’t think people give him enough credit for is that he actually plays quarterback. There’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of quarterbacks in this league that will say no to number one and then it just becomes street ball. He gets rid of the ball on time. He puts it where it needs to be. He hits a lot of throws in rhythm. And when he needs to take his shot, he knows how to buy time in the pocket and do it. So, he’s a superstar in every way you can possibly imagine and he’s going to be tough to deal with.”
The Chiefs will undoubtedly have a harder time running away with this one, and they can’t afford to dig themselves another early, deep hole. Preventing the run will be a challenge. All that being said, Mahomes is Mahomes. And even if No. 15 gets dragged to the Hard Rock Stadium surface a handful of times, he’s got an arm that’s built to win championships. Andy Reid may have a reputation for poor clock management in big-time situations, but he’s never been better positioned to just let his talent win the day. If Tyrann Mathieu’s ranginess or Chris Jones’ penetration can deliver a turnover, that’ll be a bonus. But this comes down to the QB, and no one has shown a more otherworldly ability to escape trouble, extend plays and then wow us with improbable bullets like Mr. Mahomes.
Give it to Pat. Give it to Andy. Give it to the Chiefs. But it’s going to be one heck of a game.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, 49ers 29
Most receptions by a player in a Super Bowl
Current record: 14
Record holder: Patriots running back James White (Super Bowl LI)
In the last two seasons, Kelce has posted double-digit receptions in four career games, including the Divisional Round win over the Texans. San Francisco tight end George Kittle just had 13 receptions in a Week 15 game against the Falcons.
While neither player has ever hit 14 receptions in a game before, the tight end position could be a huge part of both offensive gameplans.
Kelce might be the pass-happy Chiefs’ way of cracking a 49ers defense that allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL this season. Kittle might be the 49ers’ key to moving the chains and sticking to their run-heavy approach.
3. Trent Green, 2001-06 (48-40)
Breaking up an otherwise unheard-of run of San Francisco retreads is Green. He was originally supposed to be the face of the Rams’ turnaround, but was displaced thanks to a preseason injury and Kurt Warner’s emergence. He eventually led Missouri’s other NFL team to a period of relative prosperity in the early 2000s.
Green was low-key kinda great under Dick Vermeil — the same coach who’d groomed him for St. Louis’ starting job two years before. Flanked by the All-Pro combo of Priest Holmes and Tony Gonzalez, he threw for more than 240 yards per game in Kansas City. Like Bono, he led the team to a 13-3 record in 2003. And, just like Bono, he was bounced out of the playoffs by the Colts without winning a single game.
Green claims five of the top 10 passing seasons in Chiefs history by total yardage, which is wild since he only spent 5.5 seasons as their starting QB. While that’s going to change thanks to Mahomes, Green deserves credit for throwing an often ground-based team into the pass-heavy NFL of his time.
Proceeds from the sale of the cereal are being donated to the quarterback’s 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, which helps underserved children in the Kansas City area. According to Potthoff, more than $88,000 has been donated to the foundation from sales of the cereal, with projections of $100,000 donated after all boxes have been sold.
Do better on special teams
As noted in Part I, Kansas City has had an elite special teams unit under Andy Reid, while the Chargers have had arguably the worst special teams unit collectively over the last five years with multiple different head coaches. Mike McCoy employed Craig Aukerman as special teams coordinator, while Anthony Lynn has assistant head coach George Stewart and assistant Marquice Williams on that unit. Keith Burns replaced Williams in 2019.
And LA finished 32nd in special teams DVOA.
Around the NFL
2. 2019 San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers ranked 30th in overall DVOA last season. The only thing they really did well was gain yards on first down (where they were fourth) and kick field goals. They have improved, often dramatically, across the board in every category short of those field goals, where Robbie Gould has dropped from 97.1% to 74.2%.
Reported concussions rose slightly during the NFL’s 2019 preseason and regular season, increasing from 214 in 2018 to 224, according to data released Thursday by the league.
The new total remained well below the previous three-year average from 2015 to 2017 (266.3), an outcome that league executives attributed to the permanence of a series of rule and policy changes implemented after the 2017 season.
In windy conditions, Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson bounced back from their Divisional Round defeats to fire darts in Orlando, scoring 18 and 19 points, respectively, to lead the NFC to a 43-17 victory in the opening event. In a statistical oddity, the AFC’s Jarvis Landry, a wide receiver, outscored division rival and MVP favorite Lamar Jackson, 6-2.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
“It’s definitely one of the most humbling feelings to be a part of, considering the history, considering the name of the championship trophy,” Suggs said after the game, referring to winning the Lamar Hunt Trophy as a member of Lamar Hunt’s team. “To actually go in there and win it, it’s an experience — and it’s priceless in itself. I’m very fortunate to be a part of it.”
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