In his “Football Morning in America” column for NBC Sports on Monday, longtime NFL analyst Peter King shared some more of what he has learned about the Kansas City Chiefs’ 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII a week ago Sunday.
King actually covered a number of different topics from the game, but what piqued our interest was a story he related about wide receiver’s Skyy Moore’s fourth-quarter touchdown reception to give Kansas City a 35-27 lead.
We had already learned that something about this play wasn’t quite right. Previously, it had been explained that Moore had been lined up on the wrong side of the formation; he was supposed to be wide right instead of wide left. But according to King, it was tight end Travis Kelce who was in the wrong spot.
Just as he had done on the previous touchdown pass to Kadarius Toney, Kelce was supposed to be lined up on the same side as the primary receiver — in this case, Moore — who would begin a fast jet motion to the inside and then cut back to the outside, causing the Eagles’ secondary to lose track of him. In case Philadelphia covered Moore, Kelce was supposed to be an alternate receiver in the same area.
But Kelce was lined up alongside the right tackle instead of the left tackle. Head coach Andy Reid saw that Kelce was in the wrong place and was trying to call a timeout. But according to King (and quarterback coach Matt Nagy), Mahomes just took it in stride.
This is why Mahomes is so great. It’s the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, third-and-goal from the four-yard line, 28-27, he’s supposed to have Kelce as a rub-receiver in case Moore needs it, play-clock near five seconds, no time to get Kelce over to the left, Mahomes knows seven rushers might be coming, and he figures, I better make something happen.
“Right there,” Nagy told me, “You could see the calm Pat had. In these moments, one of the biggest moments of the entire season, Andy trusted Pat in that moment to make the right decision. Sometimes throughout the year, your quarterback is gonna make the wrong decision on a play like that. I’m telling you, Pat just doesn’t make wrong decisions there. It would have been easy with the play clock running down and the formation messed up for Pat to turn around, start walking to the sidelines and signal for time. When he didn’t, I just figured, ‘He’s got something.’”