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GLENDALE, Ariz. — For a while there it seemed like the Philadelphia Eagles might just turn the NFL and everything we know about what it takes to win it all, including America’s biggest game, inside out — because Super Bowl LVII was looking like their game to win.
The Eagles enjoyed a double digit lead, 24-14, at halftime.
“We were down 10 points at halftime to probably the best team in the NFL that puts teams away,” Patrick Mahomes said.
And you know how many times a team with a double-digit lead at any point in a Super Bowl lost the game before Sunday? Only five times in 54 previous outings.
So for a time it seemed a team just might roll through an NFL season, gain a No. 1 seed as the Eagles did, and then win the Super Bowl. And they might do it with a complete team that boasted a great offensive line, and great defensive front and outstanding coaching.
Mahomes Found Favorite Receiver All Night
But not necessarily an elite quarterback.
Nice narrative breaker, right?
Except then the Eagles ran into an actual elite quarterback.
The Eagles ran into Mahomes.
“I feel like I play better when we are down,” Mahomes said.
He did. And order was restored.
Mahomes threw 3 TD passes. Three.
And afterward he predictably and graciously spread the wealth of credit.
“I have to give a shoutout to my teammates, man,” Mahomes said during the postgame celebration. “We challenged each other. It took everybody to win this football game. So shoutout to my teammates, we’re the Super Bowl champs! Let’s Go!”
And that’s fair. It did take a great effort by the entire Kansas City roster.
Patrick Mahomes Got Help From Everybody
Linebacker Nick Bolton returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Kadarius Toney returned a punt 65 yards to set up a touchdown and scored another touchdown.
And the offensive line protected Mahomes throughout the evening, keeping the Eagles off of the golden child. The Eagles came into the game four sacks shy of tying the NFL all-time record for a season and postseason.
And they managed zero sacks this night.
But amid that outstanding performance by much of the roster, the Most Valuable Player was Mahomes. Undoubtedly. He was the best player on the field this game.
Just as he was the MVP and the best player on the field the entire season.
Mahomes was the biggest difference between the teams. And he was the best at the biggest moment because he threw two of his three scoring passes in the fourth quarter when the game was decided.
Both Mahomes touchdown passes came on third down.
“He was great,” coach Andy Reid said.
Jalen Hurts Was Good, Not Great
The gap between Mahomes and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was clear.
It’s not that Hurts played poorly. He led his team with 70 rushing yards and threw the ball well enough.
“That was a special performance,” Mahomes said of Hurts. “It makes you appreciate it when you look back on this game.”
But Hurts had a fumble when, curiously, no one hit him. And that turned into a Chiefs TD.
“It hurts,” Hurts said of the play.
Hurts threw for 304 yards and finished with a 103.4 quarterback rating. So good, even if Hurts said he “came up short” and “there’s a lot to learn” from this game.
None of that changes the fact Hurts was not Mahomes outstanding.
The truth is the Eagles deserved to be here because they have perhaps more talent than the Chiefs.
“I have nothing but respect for those Eagles,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said.
But, again, the Chiefs have the better QB. They have one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.
That’s what it takes to overcome a complete team like the Eagles. It’s what it takes win two Super Bowls in three years. That’s what it takes to go to five consecutive AFC title games as the Chiefs have done.
And that’s what it takes to make bold predictions about the future.
“We’ll be back here next year,” Kelce said.
Chiefs Can Talk Dynasty
Earlier this year Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow was asked how long the championship window would be open for the Bengals.
“As long as I’m here,” he said without boasting.
The same is true of all elite quarterbacks. The same is obviously true for the Chiefs with Mahomes.
As long as he is playing at his height — and remember he’s only 27 years old — the Chiefs are going to be the team to beat.
They’re going to be the team that can talk about becoming a dynasty and the words don’t ring hollow.
“I’m not going to say dynasty yet,” Mahomes said. “We’re not done. So I’m not going to say dynasty yet.”
That’s a message, folks.
It says loud and clear that a complete, talented, well-coached team might be a championship contender. But without an elite quarterback to counter the other team’s elite quarterback?
Good luck with that.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Great article Armando! That is exactly the game I saw. Until someone gets a QB like Mahomes, it’s the Chiefs’ league. Nobody on the pregame show picked KC. Some had Philly by 10. Dream on! AFC!
All true, and as a Chiefs fan I’d like to thank all the Philly fans who ran Andy Reid out of town because ‘he couldn’t win a Super Bowl.’
So happy he’s somewhere he is appreciated!