Never count out the Chiefs... or the Eagles... or the Chiefs
I believe the Eagles were getting the exact game script they wanted — the one where quarterback Jalen Hurts orchestrated long possessions in which they converted on third and fourth down, nickel and dime-ing their way down the field.
At the half, the Eagles were 6 of 10 on third down — while the Chiefs were 0 for 3. The Chiefs had no answer for Hurts — either his rushing attack or the Philadelphia’s talented wide receivers. A.J. Brown had 74 yards and a touchdown, DeVonta Smith had 55 yards and Hurts scored two touchdowns. The Eagles led the Chiefs 24-14 — and in addition, Patrick Mahomes had re-aggravated his injured right ankle.
As Rihanna took the stage at halftime, the game seemed over and done with.
Then — as they do — Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense stormed out of the locker room. Head coach Andy Reid tapped into the running game — and Mahomes got wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster involved. Isiah Pacheco scored first, then Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore walked in on similar plays. Suddenly, a team that appeared down and out wasn’t just alive. It was also holding an eight-point lead.
The Eagles wouldn’t go quietly into the night, however. Hurts stayed calm, putting together an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown. He added a conversion to tie the game with less than six minutes left. Of course, Hurts playing the game of his life — really, the game of his life — was not enough.
After an up-and-down season, Harrison Butker redeemed himself to kick the Chiefs to Super Bowl glory, two weeks after a kick to get them in the game in the first place.
The “Brett Veach special,” Super Bowl edition
Did you notice who scored touchdowns for the Chiefs as they took home their second championship in two seasons? In Kansas City, we often mention the “Brett Veach special” — referring to a former first-round pick at which the general manager throws a dart to see if they will stick and produce for the Chiefs. It is always someone he liked before that player was taken in the NFL Draft.
But I would argue that this Super Bowl called for a new usage of the “Brett Veach special.” It was the whole game.
Linebacker Nick Bolton — a second-rounder in 2021 — had the game of his life when it mattered the most. Let’s make sure we scream this from the mountaintop: Kansas City wouldn’t have won without Bolton rallying the defense to play better in the second half. He led the Chiefs with nine tackles — and his third-quarter open-field tackle of running back Kenny Gainwell gave Kansas City the confidence it needed to stop the Eagles.
Oh... and how about the 36-yard fumble-return touchdown?
Veach signed Smith-Schuster (after originally wanting him last year) to help replace wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout didn’t score on Sunday, but he finished second in yardage — and was a key target for Mahomers in the second half. Veach’s rebuilt offensive line protected Mahomes throughout game; the vaunted Philadelphia defensive front was held without a sack.
The Chiefs' second-half touchdowns came from a midseason trade (Kadarius Toney), a second-round rookie after a trade-back (Skyy Moore) and a seventh-round rookie out of Rutgers (Isiah Pacheco).
Ladies and gentlemen... the “Brett Veach special” — Super Bowl edition.
Patrick Mahomes is a warrior
Remember, Mahomes suffered his high-ankle sprain very quickly into the Chiefs’ Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That means he played essentially all of the postseason with an injury that typically takes between four and six weeks to heal.
Mahomes posted more than 300 yards in the Chiefs’ AFC Championship win over the Cincinnati Bengals — and though his passing yardage was not there, it was not necessary. He finished 21-of-27 for 182 yards, three touchdowns and a 131.8 passer rating.
A before-the-half ankle re-aggravation did not prevent Mahomes from breaking off two key scrambles — a 14-yarder in the third quarter to set up Pacheco’s touchdown and a 26-yarder in the fourth quarter to set up Butker for the win.
After being named the AP NFL MVP on Thursday night, Mahomes took home his second Super Bowl MVP on Sunday.
The final word
The golden age of Kansas City football continues with another Super Bowl victory. With the win, both Mahomes and Reid are now two-time Super Bowl champions, placing them in the league’s extremely rarefied air.
Over the past half-decade, the Chiefs have hosted five straight AFC Championship games, won three conference titles — and now, two Super Bowls.
And here’s the kicker: they aren’t done yet.