The Kansas City Chiefs are inevitable.
It doesn’t matter how they need to win, they will end the season with the Lombardi Trophy. Come back from 10 points down against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV… got the win. Battle the Philadelphia Eagles in a high-scoring Super Bowl LVII… finished with a victory. Beat a 49ers team who won in the trenches, won time of possession, limited the Chiefs to only three first-half points in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday… got the dub.
In a season where this same Chiefs squad suffered a 20-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas night to cap off their fourth loss in six games… they end up winning the Super Bowl. This is now what the Chiefs do. It’s their franchise. Go into Buffalo and Baltimore as underdogs… leave with wins. They are the first team since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls, and they will likely be the favorite to win every Super Bowl until Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid go their separate ways.
The Chiefs defense is the story of their 2023 Super Bowl-winning season. Kansas City’s D was outstanding once again on Sunday to cap off their season. They did not allow more than 27 points in a game all season. They only allowed 60 points total in the postseason while facing some of the top offenses in the NFL. On Sunday, they mostly limited the 49ers’ explosive play offense. The best offense the Niners saw on Sunday was a trick play that resulted in a Christian McCaffrey touchdown. Otherwise, it was a bunch of run plays with a scrum in the middle of the field. McCaffrey’s longest rush of the game was 11 yards. The Chiefs pass defense harassed 49ers receivers, and while their pass rush didn’t tally sacks on Sunday, it was disruptive and ruined many opportunities for Brock Purdy. Chris Jones and Trent McDuffie will get gold stars for their performance. The Chiefs defense had a brilliant season.
When I previewed this game, I gave myself an out for picking the Chiefs to win 24-20. I said if the Chiefs offense reverted back to how they played in the regular season they would not win this game. Sure enough, the Chiefs offense reverted back to the regular season for the first three quarters of the game. Six points, including a Super Bowl record-long 57-yard field goal by Harrison Butker, two turnovers and five punts. Then some luck went their way. The 49ers muffed a punt, which the Chiefs recovered on the 49ers’ 16-yard line. A quick-strike touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and the Chiefs offense was back. They followed with two more field-goal drives and then the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
We focus our attention so heavily on offense and defense, it’s easy to forget how important special teams can be in winning or losing. On Sunday, the Chiefs special teams were better than the 49ers, and you can point to two plays that changed the game. The 49ers muffed a punt and later had an extra point blocked. In a game that went to overtime, that’s eight points that went to the Chiefs. Kansas City made all its kicks, and that was enough to win the game.
Lastly, it’s obviously easy to say the Chiefs won because they have Patrick Mahomes paired with Andy Reid. It’s hard to put into words how playing with a quarterback like Mahomes makes the entire team confident about winning any game. I was lucky enough in my career to play with Eli Manning, and after spending other portions of my career with quarterbacks who were not Eli Manning, it’s glaring the feeling a quarterback of that caliber has on a team. You feel invincible. You’re never going to lose. No matter how the game is going, Mahomes (Manning) will eventually win it for you. Just keep doing your job. Keep grinding and it will break right. Make a mistake, like MVS going backward for minus-10 yards after catching a ball, and Mahomes will make you right.
There’s a freedom about your play when you’ve got Mahomes or like-quarterback on the roster.
Geoff Schwartz is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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