Final Score: Kansas City Chiefs 38, Philadelphia Eagles 35
Offense (Bryan Stewart)
It happened again! The Chiefs’ offense — led by head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes — made something that’s very challenging look incredibly easy: down 24-14 at halftime, it rattled off a 21-3 second-half run to regain control of Super Bowl LVII.
How did they get there? Credit must go to the Kansas City offensive line. The big fellas held it down against the vaunted Philadelphia defensive line that is finishing with the third-greatest season sack total in NFL history. Although he re-aggravated his sprained ankle when he was tackled while running with the ball near the end of the first half, Mahomes wasn’t sacked a single time.
In large part because he was kept so clean, Mahomes secured Super Bowl MVP honors for the second time in his career, finishing with 182 passing yards, three touchdowns, 44 rushing yards and a 131.8 passer rating. He also became the first quarterback to win the Super Bowl after being named the regular-season MVP since Kurt Warner in 1999.
Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco once again showed his dynamic speed on the game’s biggest stage, breaking off multiple big plays on the way to 76 yards and a touchdown. Jerrick McKinnon added an efficient 34 rushing yards on four carries.
Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster highlighted the passing game. Kelce's domination of the opening half accounted for most of his 81 receiving yards — and his touchdown. Smith-Schuster had multiple clutch catches in the second half, proving himself worthy of a contract extension to stay in Kansas City.
Offensive player of the game: The offensive line
Mahomes deserved the MVP honors, but the offensive line played incredibly well against an elite defensive front — one that national analysts thought would be all over Mahomes. They didn’t get there because the left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., left guard Joe Thuney, center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and right tackle Andrew Wylie stopped them.
Defense (Ron Kopp)
Philadelphia’s running backs weren’t gashing the Chiefs on the ground. Instead, it was quarterback Jalen Hurts, whose designed-run volume was turned up as the first half went along. Even after some short gains, he broke off a few important ones — beating linebacker Nick Bolton as a spy on one important third down during a touchdown drive.
Bolton’s scoop-and-score was awesome, but it had a downside: it kept the Chiefs’ defense on the field for 18 plays between drives in the first half. It led to some fatigue that gave the Eagles an advantage with their downhill rushing attack. In the third quarter, the Eagles had a 17-play drive that set a Super Bowl record — and that continued to play a role in the Chiefs’ off-ball defenders’ ability to make plays
As for the defenders starting their snaps on the ball, they had little to no impact on straight dropbacks for most of the game. According to NFL Network’s Game Center, defensive tackle Chris Jones and defensive end Frank Clark combined for only two pressures through the first three quarters. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap impacted a few of Hurts’ dropbacks — and while Clark had an opportunity to end a drive early, he couldn’t quite finish a third-down sack.
In a few instances, wide receiver A.J. Brown got the best of Kansas City’s cornerbacks; he tracked a deep ball to the end zone better than rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie did for an early touchdown. Later, Brown created separation on a third-down slant that led to an important scoring drive before halftime — and then did it again on a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. DeVonta Smith also found space in the Chiefs’ back end by simply taking advantage of the space Kansas City had to give up to defend the run — even if they didn’t accomplish that task to the extent they wanted
Defensive player of the game: Linebacker Leo Chenal
There were not many standout players among the Chiefs’ defenders on Sunday night. But I think the linebackers provided some highlights: Bolton made the defensive play of the game and led the team in tackles. Gay was an essential reason the Eagles’ running game didn’t get going very well. But the rookie Chenal had six tackles (four solo, one for loss) and a sack against an excellent Philadelphia offensive line.