Patrick Mahomes inspired the Kansas City Chiefs to victory as they secured a 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
Mahomes, struggling with a high ankle sprain sustained in the playoff win over the Jacksonville Jaguars three weeks ago, threw for 182 yards and three scores as he outlasted opposite number Jalen Hurts, who had a spectacular game himself. Hurts scored four total touchdowns in the defeat, which was his first Super Bowl appearance.
After winning the league MVP on Thursday, Mahomes became the first player to win both MVP and the Super Bowl in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999. He got it done in exceptional circumstances, with a high-scoring game going right down to the wire as kicker Harrison Butker secured the win through a chip shot with 10 seconds remaining.
The first big play of the game came in the form of DeVonta Smith, who made a catch on a crucial third down and five to set the tone for the drive. A pair of Boston Scott rushes took Philadelphia to the four-yard line where Kenneth Gainwell fell agonisingly short before Hurts punched it into the end zone. It was a flying start for the Eagles, and Hurts celebrated with a jump shot - almost as if he knew LeBron James was in the house.
The Chiefs wasted no time in hitting back. Mahomes and co. never faced a third down as they sliced through the vaunted Eagles defence, with Isaiah Pacheco bursting for 24 before Travis Kelce was picked out on an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Chiefs were level.
Following a Philadelphia punt, Kansas City simply picked up from where they left off as Mahomes hit Kelce - who leads the NFL in yards-after-catch since entering the NFL in 2013 - for 22 yards to move downfield. The drive stalled though, and ended in misery when Harrison Butker’s 42-yard field goal struck the left upright to keep the game level.
Hurts ensured it didn’t stay tied for long. The quarterback threw a 35-yard strike to star receiver AJ Brown, who turned his defensive back inside out before swivelling to sensationally bring the pas in for the score. It was the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-7, and it meant Hurts tied the Philadelphia franchise record for most total touchdowns in a single season with 41.
The Eagles defence made their first big stop of the night by forcing a Chiefs punt on their next possession - and then it happened. Hurts fumbled as he was hit by star linebacker Nick Bolton, who tracked the bobbling ball to scoop it up and race it in for the defensive touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
Hurts was rattled after his fumble and dangerously launched a deep pass into double coverage where the quarterback was lucky to avoid getting intercepted. Regardless, he was celebrating soon later as he rushed into the ned zone from four yards out to give the Eagles the lead once again.
The moment Chiefs fans feared came next: Mahomes rushed for nine yards where he was tackled by T.J. Edwards. It would have been an innocent moment, but the Chiefs star was taken down by his right ankle, which he sprained three weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mahomes writhed in pain and was slow to his feet while backup Chad Henne began warming up. The Eagles wrapped up the first half with a field goal to go in at half time with a 24-14 lead.
Mahomes appeared to shake off any worries about his ankle on the second half’s opening drive, finding Kelce and Justin Watson as the Chiefs moved downfield before the quarterback was hit again on the ankle. There was no limp on this occasion, with the two-time MVP instead finding McKinnon to move to the one-yard line before Pacheco rushed in to cut the deficit to just three.
Once again, the officials inadvertently became the subject of a huge call. Philadelphia tight end Dallas Goedert made a fine catch, but after review it seemed he didn’t get his left foot down. The play was ruled complete and the Eagles added three more points at the end of the drive to move 27-21 in front.
They say the NFL acronym stands for ‘Not for Long’ - and it didn’t take long for the Chiefs to hit back. Early in the fourth quarter, Mahomes orchestrated a drive to the five-yard line before he picked out a wide open Kadarius Toney to walk into the end zone.
The Eagles punted to Toney, whose 53-yard return sparked new life into the Chiefs fans packed inside State Farm Stadium. Two plays later, Mahomes found Skyy Moore wide open, showing off Andy Reid’s incredibly deep playbook to make it 35-27 to Kansas City. The Chiefs could almost smell their second Super Bowl title in four years.
Hurts dusted himself off and hit Smith on a deep pass 46-yard deep pass before he rushed it in himself. The 24-year-old did the same moments later on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 35-35.
Mahomes saw Hurts' impressive response and naturally raised him, embarking on a stunning 26-yard scramble to put the Chiefs in position. Butker lined up the 27-yard field goal and duly sunk it to ensure the Lombardi Trophy is heading back to Kansas City. Mahomes and Reid are now two-time champions.
The last time the Chiefs won a road playoff game prior to tonight? Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers. They have a knack for this. Perhaps it was written in the stars, given that teams wearing white have won the Super Bowl in 37 of the 57 games - including 16 of the last 19.