GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Kansas City Chiefs were crowned Super Bowl champions for the third time in franchise history Sunday in a nail-biting 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite Patrick Mahomes reaggravating a right high ankle sprain late in the first half, the Super Bowl LVII MVP led Kansas City back from a double-digit deficit to pull out the win.
Here’s a breakdown of the game’s critical plays and decisions.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes added to his legacy in leading the Chiefs to a win in Super Bowl LVII. Mahomes became the 13th quarterback to win more than one Super Bowl. Mahomes also guided the Chiefs to a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
Mahomes was 20-of-26 for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Pivotal play: Kadarius Toney’s 65-yard punt return in the fourth quarter set up a 3-yard Mahomes touchdown pass to Skyy Moore that put the Chiefs ahead 35-27. It was the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.
QB breakdown: Mahomes entered the Super Bowl MVP conversation by going 20-of-26 for 182 yards and three touchdowns. He was able to move around on his high ankle sprain, and his 14-yard scramble was a key play on the touchdown drive that opened the second half. His 18-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce on the Chiefs’ opening possession of the game was perfectly placed.
Under-the-radar stat that matters: The Eagles ran more plays than the Chiefs and outgained them. But the Chiefs were more efficient, gaining 6.6 yards per play to 5.9 for the Eagles.
A record-setting season ended in heart-wrenching defeat for the Eagles. Late breakdowns on defense and a pair of costly miscues along the way in an epic Super Bowl against the Chiefs will leave fans wondering what might have been.
There was the long Kadarius Toney punt return early in the fourth quarter, the aggressiveness by Jonathan Gannon’s defense three plays later that left Skyy Moore wide open for another score, the second-quarter lost fumble by Jalen Hurts that was returned for a touchdown.
Hurts responded beautifully — his performance only boosting the optimism around his future — but with the margin of error so small against such a quality opponent, everything mattered.
This is probably the best team Hurts will ever be surrounded by. He’s bound to get a megadeal in the near future, limiting future salary-cap dollars, and a host of contributors from this team are poised to be free agents. A sound nucleus will remain, and Hurts’ upside is sky high, but there’s no denying this was a golden opportunity lost.
QB breakdown: With three rushing TDs and a two-point conversion, Hurts scored 20 points Sunday. That is tied with James White for the most ever in a Super Bowl. He set the record for QB rush yards in a Super Bowl and became the third QB in Super Bowl history with at least 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards.
Pivotal play: Just when it looked like special teams had stabilized for the Eagles, they let down in the biggest of spots. Philadelphia was unable to respond after a go-ahead Chiefs score early in the fourth quarter and was forced to punt. Toney caught a punt from Arryn Siposs, cut across the field and found all kinds of daylight down the sideline for a 65-yard return. The Chiefs found the end zone three plays later. Philly special teams was a problem earlier in the season, making a miscue in just about every game, before finding its footing down the stretch.
Eye-popping stat: The Eagles’ second-quarter dominance this season continued into Super Bowl LVII. They outscored the Chiefs 17-7 in the second quarter to finish the season plus-147 in the quarter, the best point differential by any team in any quarter in NFL history, per research by Elias Sports Bureau.