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A Tale of Two Halves: Super Bowl LVII

Following a shaky first 30 minutes of offense, Patrick Mahomes reaggravating an injured ankle, and going into the locker room at halftime being down by ten points, the Chiefs did exactly what it needed to do at exactly the right time. They dug deep, adjusted, and delivered a masterclass of a second half to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 with Harrison Butker scoring a game-winning field goal as time expired, leading the Eagles to win its second Lombardi Trophy in the past four seasons. 

When I thought of Super Bowl LVII before last Sunday, I expected the game to be close. The Eagles were coming into the game as the more “complete” team. This so-called juggernaut of a team, led by Landon Dickerson, Jalen Hurts, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Haason Reddick, Miles Sanders, Darius Slay, and A.J. Brown, was a side that I saw as being more complete than its opponents. This is a team that is dangerous on both sides of the field, and the Chiefs would have to step up to this challenge if it expected to walk out of State Farm Stadium as Super Bowl Champions. However, the Chiefs have someone that the Eagles do not: Patrick Mahomes.

A player such as Mahomes is someone that you must never underestimate in any circumstance. With an outstanding command of his offense, both in his scrambling ability and passing, Mahomes is more than capable of creating a big play by himself or with his offensive weapons that include Travis Kelce, Isaiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and Juju Smith-Schuster. What version we would see of the Chiefs was anyone’s guess. This could either be a “showtime” Chiefs offense or a “stalling” Chiefs offense, and that could decide the game playing against a team such as the Eagles. I gave the Eagles the edge.

Let’s look at the game: 

The first quarter went about as I expected it to. Eagles score on its first drive of the game on a Jalen Hurts scramble, and the Chiefs immediately respond with Patrick Mahomes connecting with his favorite target, Travis Kelce, for an 18-yard touchdown pass. 

What followed was what I believed to be the game’s turning point for the Eagles, which then took control of the game. First, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker missed a 42-yard field goal attempt, and Jalen Hurts proceeded to go deep to A.J. Brown for a 45-yard touchdown pass. If I was the Chiefs, this was where I would have been starting to sweat nervously. However, as my mother always tells me, the best way to bring momentum back to your favor is a big defensive play. A fumble recovery for a touchdown by Nick Bolton would definitely constitute as a big defensive play and put the Chiefs back into the game… for now. The Eagles would respond with a touchdown and a field goal to put the game at a nice 24-14 score going into halftime. 

Third quarter, the Chiefs would have to get it together. Down ten in the Super Bowl, with two more quarters, and its strong offense, I thought maybe I ought to have some more faith in the Chiefs. Well, the Chiefs definitely stepped up. The defense started to get some key stops, and held the Eagles to just one field goal all quarter. The offense got a rushing touchdown from rookie running back Isiah Pacheco to make a one possession game. The score was set 21-27 with Eagles in the lead. 

The Chiefs would finally ascend into its elite status in the fourth quarter. First of all, wide receiver Kadarius Toney, long ridiculed by Giants fans as a bust, entered the game not only to throw a touchdown pass on a trick play, but also return a punt 65 yards to put the Chiefs up 35-27. For the first time all game, it looked as if the Chiefs were in full control of the game. Every single phase of the game clicked. However, a late Devonta Smith touchdown and successful two-point conversion tied up the game 35-35 with 5:15 left on the clock. What followed would soon become nearly universally praised as a masterclass of playcalling and clock management. Armed with two timeouts and a two-minute warning, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes went for all the cheeseburgers. A couple of Pacheco runs, Mahomes scrambles, and a Kelce catch helped the Chiefs both run down the clock and save just enough time to allow for Harrison Butker to kick the game winning 27-yard field goal with eight seconds left on the clock, leaving the Eagles to execute a desperation heave that ultimately failed. Chiefs Kingdom could finally celebrate its championship. 

This was a well-deserved win for the Chiefs. Despite some complaints about officiating, including a controversial holding penalty on the Chiefs final touchdown drive and a Devonta Smith catch that was ultimately ruled incomplete, the Chiefs were simply the better team when it mattered most. Mahomes, despite having an injured ankle, made the big plays both himself and with his receivers; proving that even without superstar receiver Tyreek Hill and with a young defensive backfield, he can still bring the Chiefs to the promised land. On a different note, when the offense stalled, the defense kept Kansas City in the game by containing Philadelphia and taking advantage of its mistakes.

Now, maybe we could give the Jets a turn at championship glory? Let’s see what will happen in the next Super Bowl championships.