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The Kansas City Chiefs are Officially a Dynasty
Updated:2024-05-03 06:07    Views:184

The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions.

Again.

The Chiefs played their fourth Super Bowl in five seasons and won for the third time, so it's officially official — the Chiefs dynasty is here.

Super Bowl LVIII played out much like Kansas City's season. The Chiefs bent, but didn't break early. They hung around just enough to give Patrick Mahomes a chance, then made the plays they had to at the end.

Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP again, and it's hard to argue with the results. He finished 34-for-46 for 333 yards and two scores — one of them the winner in overtime — and also made countless plays with his legs, rushing for 66 yards. Every time he had to make a play, Mahomes found a way.

Mahomes has been a starting quarterback for six seasons. He's played in the AFC Championship Game in every one of them, made the Super Bowl four times, and won it three times.

Put another way: Mahomes has made the NFL's Final Four in 100% of his seasons, played in the championship two-thirds of the time, and won a title in half of his seasons.

Incredible stuff.

There will be GOAT talk, and it will be deserved. Mahomes is already well on his way.

But the truth on Sunday night was that the Chiefs dynasty was cemented with a team win, not an individual effort.

It was a struggle early for the Chiefs.

Through one quarter, Kansas City had run as many plays (seven) as San Francisco had first downs. San Francisco dominated both trenches in the first half. The one big Chiefs play, a bomb to Mecole Hardman, was offset the very next play by Isiah Pacheco's fumble.

Kansas City played sloppy, undisciplined football in the first half. The Chiefs had as many punts (three) as first downs over their first four drives, and a trick play touchdown pass from Jauan Jennings to Christian McCaffrey put the 49ers up 10-0 as the clock neared halftime.

A Chiefs field goal before the half cut the lead to seven, but Kansas City was playing like an inexperienced team, not like the defending champs. Mahomes was under constant pressure and uncharacteristically took multiple sacks. Taylor Swift finished the half with one yard less than her boyfriend.

It was a gift for Kansas City to be down only seven at the half, but the Chiefs didn't take advantage.

Mahomes fumbled a handoff on the first play of the second half, then forced a throw two plays later that was intercepted by the 49ers. It was the one big mistake of the game by either team. But the defense held tough, as it did throughout the third quarter, and the Chiefs kept fighting back.

Harrison Butker broke a Super Bowl record that had been set an hour earlier with a 57-yard field goal that cut the score to 10-6, then came the huge play that may have ultimately swung the Super Bowl, a fluky fumble on a 49ers punt return. Kansas City recovered and scored its only touchdown in regulation one play later to take a 13-10 lead.

But the 49ers weren't done.

Brock Purdy was terrific, and he was especially great on the following drive. He converted a huge third down to Jennings, San Francisco's first in 101 real-time minutes, then converted a fourth down to George Kittle and went back to Jennings for a touchdown. The 49ers missed the extra point, but led 16-13.

Mahomes and the Chiefs responded. They drove down the field, but stalled with two incomplete passes from the four and settled for a field goal and a tie game.

That set the Niners up with six minutes left and a chance to milk the clock and end Kansas City's season with Mahomes on the sidelines. They got awfully close, but failed to convert a 3rd-and-4 at the two-minute warning and settled for a field goal.

You remember what happened from there.

The Chiefs drove again, with Travis Kelce picking up a huge third down, and tied the game to end regulation and send us to overtime. There, Purdy was outstanding again, three times making plays with his feet and using his pocket presence to extend a play and keep the drive alive.

But the 49ers failed to convert on 3rd-and-4 and settled for another field goal. Mahomes got the ball back under the new overtime rules, and the rest was history.

Game, set, match, Mahomes.

Except — if you paid attention — it was all the little things and teammates along the way that set Mahomes up for this ring.

Start with the coaching.

Andy Reid was outstanding as always, and Mahomes isn't the only one approaching the GOAT conversation. Reid dialed up the game winner to Hardman in overtime, a variation of "Corn Dog," the exact same play the Chiefs scored on twice in last year's Super Bowl.

Reid also adjusted his offense to go heavy, then heavier as the game went on. The Chiefs went with 12 and 13 personnel often — that's one back and two or three tight ends — flooding the field with size and setting Mahomes up for success with a personnel package no defense has found answers for yet.

That was the perfect adjustment when star 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw went out with a fluke Achilles injury, leaving the middle of San Francisco's defense compromised. Kelce had only one catch for a single yard in the first half, but finished with nine for 93.

Steve Spagnuolo was great leading the defense. San Francisco has played 23 games with Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams healthy. The 19 points the Chiefs allowed were the least these 49ers have scored when healthy in any game of the Purdy-McCaffrey era. Spagnuolo repeatedly dialed up perfectly timed blitzes on key third downs to hold San Francisco to field goals.

Spagnuolo is the first NFL coordinator, offense or defense, to coach four Super Bowl victories.

And shoutout to our guy, Dave Toub. The long time special teams coach was terrific, and his unit was a game changer.

Kansas City's special teams were a huge part of why the Chiefs won.

Harrison Butker was awesome. He hit all four of his field goals and set a Super Bowl record with that 57-yarder. And don't forget the nails kick at the end of regulation to send it to overtime.

Butker was a legit MVP candidate, and maybe punter Tommy Townsend should have been, too. He averaged over 50 yards a punt on five tries, landing two inside the 20 and flipping the field for the Chiefs several times early.

And don't forget, the two biggest plays of the game for the Chiefs may have come on special teams.

Excellent punt coverage by the Chiefs led to a fluke fumble by backup safety Darrell Luter Jr. when the ball grazed his leg while he was attempting to block. Recovering that fumble was lucky, but the great coverage to force it and having enough guys downfield to recover it was not.

That fumble recovery led to the only Chiefs touchdown in regulation. Kansas City's special teams also blocked a 49ers extra point. That's eight points in Kansas City's favor, in a 19-19 game that went to overtime.

Kansas City's special teams were special — and its defense was even better.

The Chiefs held San Francisco to its lowest scoring output in regulation in the Purdy-McCaffrey era when healthy, just 19 points.

That juggernaut 49ers offense really never got much going. Brandon Aiyuk and Samuel had only three catches each for a combined 82 yards. Kittle gained four yards all game. McCaffrey had 160 yards, but took 30 touches to get there.

Spagnuolo's defense hit Purdy 11 times. L'Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie were terrific in coverage all night. McDuffie had three passes defensed and saved a touchdown. Nick Bolton led the team with 13 tackles after missing almost two months of the season with an injury. Chris Jones single-handedly stopped two would-be touchdowns with terrific pressures, just like he did against Josh Allen late in the win over the Bills.

The defense held firm on 2nd-and-4 and 3rd-and-4 at the nine in overtime. It held firm just after halftime after what could have been a backbreaking interception from Mahomes. The Chiefs defense held San Francisco's No. 1 DVOA and historically great offense without a first down for 101 consecutive minutes.

The biggest defensive stars were two guys you've probably never even heard of. Sophomore linebacker Leo Chenal had six tackles and forced a McCaffrey fumble on the opening drive. Journeyman defensive tackle Mike Pennel, on his sixth stop in 10 seasons and filling in on a banged-up defensive line after playing just 120 snaps all season, finished with six tackles and three stuffs, eating up space up the middle.

A Chiefs run defense that was bad all season was stout, holding the 49ers to 3.5 yards per carry on 31 runs.

Kansas City won with coaching, special teams and defense — and even a little luck.

A goofy game saw seven fumbles. Typically fumbles are 50-50, but the Chiefs recovered six of the seven.

Kansas City also lucked into a huge injury when Greenlaw suffered a devastating Achilles injury just trotting onto the field during a TV timeout.

That injury changed the game with how the Chiefs attacked the middle of the field and used heavy personnel in the second half.

Of course, luck isn't everything. Kansas City still had to make those adjustments and make the fumble recoveries count, but there's no question luck was in the Chiefs' favor.

Look, Mahomes was great. Mahomes is always great. He had 399 yards and two scores.

But the numbers say this game was pretty much a tossup, and that Purdy was every bit as good as Mahomes.

The counting stats don't measure up quite as much, but Mahomes had the one huge mistake, not Purdy, and Mahomes took three sacks. Purdy had the higher EPA per play. Mahomes, obviously, had the winning drive and throw in overtime.

Both teams were around neutral in EPA per play. Neither team ran the ball effectively, outside of Mahomes. Both quarterbacks made plays with their legs.

Both defenses were good. San Francisco's defensive line was great. Chase Young, Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead each had a sack, and Nick Bosa had six tackles, two for a loss, and three quarterback hits.

Both coaches were terrific. Kyle Shanahan was in his bag with the Jennings-to-McCaffrey trick play touchdown.

But only one team had Mahomes and that's how the ending of this story will be told in years to come.

The real story Sunday night is that both quarterbacks played well and both teams deserved to win.

But Mahomes had the better team, and this time his coaching, his special teams, his defense, and even a little luck were enough.

It's arguably the worst Kansas City team of the Mahomes era, facing one of the toughest postseason paths in NFL history, and the Chiefs are champions again anyway. That's what you call a dynasty.

So what's next for Mahomes and The Last Great American Dynasty?

No team in NFL history has ever won three consecutive Super Bowls.

See you next year in the Superdome.

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