Harrington Gardiner | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Unsplash User Dave Adamson
The Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2 in Miami for their first NFL championship in 50 years.
This was the Chiefs’ second crown after downing the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Sunday’s game started off relatively slow in the first half. The defenses on both sides did everything possible to make life miserable for the opposing offenses, but it didn’t stop both teams from scoring touchdowns in the first half. The score was tied 10-10 before Shakira and Jennifer Lopez lit up the halftime show.
The story of the second half was focused on San Francisco’s inability to score and Kansas City stepping up when it was time to play defense on the biggest stage.
The front seven for the 49ers, led by pass rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, made life difficult for the offensive tackles of the Chiefs. Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh came up with all sorts of blitzes to frustrate Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes. San Francisco did a good job early of controlling the pace by running the ball and working the play-action pass. Jimmy Garoppolo made key throws in the first half, and the Niners offense was clicking on all cylinders.
Even with the Niners playing well in the first half the biggest story outside of Mahomes’ performance was the 49ers losing control of the game. The Niners scored a touchdown and another field goal to go up 20-10 by the end of the third quarter, but when the fourth quarter came, nothing seemed to be going San Francisco’s way. The Niners seemed to have abandoned the run game late in the fourth and gave too much time on the clock for Mahomes and coach Andy Reid’s offense. The Chiefs would come back to make big plays on offense through the air, and the Chiefs defense, led by Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones, stood tall when it mattered for Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Kansas City proved that it had a solid defense after having to listen to many critics all season, and the Chiefs’ offense got back to its explosive play.
The Niners struggled to make stops and they gave up 21 unanswered points in the fourth. Garoppolo also struggled once the Chiefs defense applied pressure. Jimmy G completed 86 percent of his throws for 199 yards, one TD and a 119.5 passer rating without pressure. With pressure, Garoppolo had an abysmal 11 percent completion percentage, 20 yards and two interceptions.
Also, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan had another questionable fourth quarter. Shanahan has now been outscored 46-0 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowls as a play caller. This dates back to his time as offensive coordinator of the Falcons when they took on the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
The Chiefs came out victorious, and Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP, going 26-of-42 for 286 passing yards, two passing TDs and two picks. Mahomes shined bright in the biggest stage and is adding to what is already a promising career. And after 22 years, Reid finally won his first championship. The sky’s the limit for Kansas City, which has 10 of 11 offensive players under contract next season.