Mahomes, Kansas City rule Super Bowl
Patrick Mahomes raises the trophy following a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl final. Photo by AFP
GLENDALE (AFP) —Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs overcame the inspired Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts to win their second Super Bowl in four years with a 38-35 win in a classic contest on Sunday.
Hurts produced four touchdowns, three of them rushing, and threw for 304 yards but ended on the losing side with a late field goal from Harrison Butker settling a ding-dong battle in Arizona.
Mahomes threw for three touchdowns and 182 yards but the Chiefs had game-winning displays across the field as they came back from 10 points down at half-time to hand head coach Andy Reid a victory over his former team.
“It was just everybody. It didn’t come from one person,” Mahomes said of the half-time locker-room discussions that sparked the revival.
“Everybody said we had to step our game up. Defense played their ass off in that second half. Our offense, we just found a way. I want to thank everybody on this team. We battled.”
Hurts was excellent in the air and particularly on the ground with his running game, but he looked crestfallen after the game as he searched for perspective.
“You either win or you learn,” he said.
“I am so proud of this team, for everything we have been able to overcome. Obviously, we had a big-time goal at the end that we wanted to accomplish and we came up short,” he said.
The game got off to an explosive start with the Eagles scoring a touchdown on the opening drive — Hurts crossing with a quarterback sneak at the end of an impressive an 11-play, 75-yard drive.
But the Chiefs struck back swiftly with Mahomes connecting with Kelce and Isiah Pacheco as he led the team down the field before crowning the drive with a perfectly floated pass to his trusty target, tight-end Travis Kelce in the end-zone.
It was only the second time in Super Bowl history that both teams had scored on their first possession and that set the tone for the game.
Butker then missed a chance to put the Chiefs ahead with his 42-yard field goal drifting left and striking the post.
Hurts opened the second quarter in spectacular fashion with a brilliant 45-yard pass deep to A.J. Brown, who collected for the touchdown after his clever route left Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie flailing.
But Hurts gifted away the seven-point advantage on the next possession, dropping the ball without being challenged and Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton scooped up the fumble and ran 36 yards into the end-zone to level the game at 14-14.
The mistake didn’t deter Hurts from running with the ball however and after his 28-yard rush for a first down took the Eagles into the red zone, he restored the Eagles lead with a four-yard run into the end zone.
There was though a reminder of Mahomes’ recent ankle injury when, running out of the pocket, he was tackled by T.J. Edwards and limped off the field.
The Eagles added a field goal before half-time, after more impressive running from Hurts, to go in 24-14 up at the interval.
Chiefs fears over Mahomes’ ankle allayed when he came out for the second half and promptly led a 75-yard touchdown drive, including a 14-yard rush from the quarterback and ending with a one-yard run from Pacheco.
The Eagles added a field goal to go into the fourth quarter with a six-point lead but then the Chiefs came roaring back.
Philadelphia left Kadarius Toney wide open to collect a five-yard pass from Mahomes and put Kansas City 28-27 up and then Toney produced a brilliant 65-yard punt return to set up a near identical play on the other side, with Skyy Moore the gleefully wide-open receiver.
But the Eagles responded again with Hurts hurling a 46-yard pass deep left to DeVonta Smith and the quarterback completed the drive with a two-yard run for his third rushing touchdown before adding a two-point conversion for good measure.
It was the first time a quarterback had scored three rushing touchdowns in a Super Bowl.
The two-point conversion levelled the score at 35-35 with 5:15 left in the game but the Chiefs managed the clock masterfully.
A controversial late holding calls against the Eagles James Bradberry gave the Chiefs a fresh set of downs near the Philadelphia line, and when after Butker’s 27-yard field goal, there were just eight seconds left on the clock.
There was no time for a miracle and Mahomes, the two-times MVP became a two-time Super Bowl winner.
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