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Chris Jones and the Chiefs’ defense overcome adversity in Super Bowl win

Kansas City’s All-Pro defensive linemen was hyped after the team’s second championship in four seasons.

NFL: Super Bowl LVII-Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are once again Super Bowl champions after a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

All the talk leading up to Sunday’s game revolved around each team’s high-powered offense — and rightfully so. The teams put on a show, combining for 73 total points. That was third-most in Super Bowl history.

The Eagles’ offense started the game with two consecutive scoring drives — including one that ended with a 45-yard bomb from Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts to wideout A.J. Brown. But the Kansas City defense then came through with one of the biggest plays of the night: a second-quarter scoop-and-score fumble recovery by linebacker Nick Bolton that tied the game at 14-14.

“A lot of players made some big plays,” defensive tackle Chris Jones told the reporters after the game. “Whether it was Nick Bolton scooping and scoring — or the big hits tonight — those guys came to play and were resilient.

“I’ve been saying it all year: we faced adversity a lot this year. Throughout that, we were able to build character along this team. This is a young team right now. We got like four starters on defense. [Because we] have that type of team, we’re always counted out. But these guys continue to fight.”

Despite the defensive touchdown, the Chiefs still found themselves on the wrong side of a 10-point halftime deficit. The defense had been unable get off the field as the Eagles prolonged drives with short-yardage quarterback sneaks and multiple unforced defensive errors. The defense needed a spark — and Jones was the man to deliver it.

“I think in the first half we had to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Jones said of his second-quarter sideline outburst. “Third-and-6, third-and-5? Frank Clark jumps offsides, they get a first down which [leads to] to a touchdown. Second quarter, it’s fourth-and-4 with [a] sneak defense — and our nose tackle jumps offsides. It’s fourth down, we’re off the field — and then the quarterback draw.

“I think we moreso had self-inflicted wounds that stopped us from being in the lead. Especially on the D-line’s part, we were able to clean that up. The back end tightened up — and we made a few adjustments.”

After intermission, the defense forced Hurts out of the pocket as much as possible — specifically to his left, where he was less comfortable making plays. That allowed Kansas City to slow down the Philadelphia offense enough for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense to overcome the deficit. Jones credits defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo for the adjustments.

“Spags made adjustments,” he noted. “Spags had to battle you guys all year talking about us, unfortunately — but we’re super grateful to have him in this organization.”

Sunday’s victory gives Kansas City its second championship in four years. Jones has been one of the team’s stars throughout his seven-year career — but believes the 2022 squad has felt a little more special than some others.

“It’s a special group of guys that I was fortunate enough to play with this year in the [defensive lineman] room,” he remarked. “Got my fingers crossed that we can bring everybody back, but I still want them to get paid and be successful on their own.

“This type of thing? This is the bittersweet part about it — because you know you have a special room and you guys win it, but you know you’re always changing, always evolving. Players are always coming in and coming out.

“I just want to say here, on record, that I’m super grateful for the D-Line this year. Probably the most unselfish group that I’ve been a part of.”

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