Super Special: Chiefs beat 49ers in overtime to repeat as Super Bowl champs

Published 10:54 pm Sunday, February 11, 2024

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs are back-to-back Super Bowl champions.

Mahomes threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime, and the Chiefs rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, becoming the first repeat Super Bowl champs in 19 years and ninth overall.

With pop star Taylor Swift watching boyfriend Kelce from a suite, the Chiefs captured their third title in five years and firmly established themselves as a dynasty.

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The NFL’s first Super Bowl in Las Vegas was a sloppy, mistake-filled affair that was mostly boring until the back-and-forth fourth quarter and OT. It was the second of 58 Super Bowls to be tied after regulation, and the first played under new overtime rules that ensured both teams got the ball.

The Chiefs (15-6) trailed 22-19 after Jake Moody kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime, but Mahomes rallied the Chiefs, completing another impressive comeback in a rematch of the Super Bowl four years ago.

Mahomes ran 8 yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the Chiefs’ chances alive and then scrambled 19 yards to set up the winning score, which came 14:57 into the extra period — just before what would have been the second OT. Had the Chiefs not scored on the play, the game would have continued into another overtime period.

Mahomes was 34-of-46 passing for 333 yards and two touchdowns, and also led the Chiefs with 66 rushing yards. He was named the Super Bowl MVP for the third time, adding this award to the ones from the Chiefs’ previous two championships in Super Bowls LIV and LVII.

The 28-year-old Mahomes becomes the fourth starting QB to win three Super Bowls — joining Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman — and second-youngest.

Mahomes and Reid are now halfway to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who won six championships in 20 years together with the New England Patriots and were the most recent team to go back-to-back following the 2003-04 seasons.

“With all the adversity we’ve been through this season to come through tonight. … I’m proud of the guys,” Mahomes said. “This is awesome. Legendary.”

After he connected with a wide-open Hardman, the Chiefs ran on the field as red-and-yellow confetti fell onto the turf. Hardman said he didn’t realize the game was over.

“I blacked out man,” he said. “I forgot we actually won the game.”

Mahomes sprinted after him in the end zone and shared the good news.

“I threw a touchdown to this dude to end the game, and he looked at me,” Mahomes said. “He had no idea. I said, ‘Dude, we just won the Super Bowl.’ He had no idea. He didn’t even celebrate at the beginning.”

The most excitement in the first half came when a frustrated Kelce bumped Andy Reid on the sideline, knocking the Chiefs’ 65-year-old coach a few steps back after teammate Isiah Pacheco fumbled inside the red zone during the second quarter.

“You guys saw that?” Kelce said. “I’m going to keep it between us unless my ‘mic’d up’ tells the world. I was just telling him how much I loved him.”

The action picked up after a crucial blunder by San Francisco’s special teams set up Mahomes’ 16-yard TD pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 13-10 lead. A punt hit off the foot of the 49ers’ Darrell Luter Jr., and returnman Ray Ray McCloud was unable to scoop it up.

Brock Purdy and the 49ers (14-6) answered but they couldn’t make enough plays, denying Mr. Irrelevant an opportunity to go from last pick in the 2022 NFL draft to Super Bowl champion.

Purdy was 23-of-38 passing for 258 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions. San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey had 160 total yards — 80 rushing and 80 more receiving on eight catches — and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 21-yard pass in the second quarter.

Niners wide receiver Jauan Jennings threw the TD pass to McCaffrey and caught one of his own in the fourth quarter, joining Eagles quarterback Nick Foles six years ago as the only players to do both in the Super Bowl.

After Moody’s 53-yard field goal gave the Niners a 19-16 lead with 1:53 remaining, Mahomes and Kelce went to work. Mahomes connected with Kelce for a 22-yard gain to set up Harrison Butker’s tying kick, a 29-yarder with 3 seconds left.

Butker kicked four field goals, including a Super Bowl-record 57-yarder in the third quarter. Moody had set the record with a 55-yard field goal that opened the scoring, but it only lasted about a quarter and a half.

A holding call on Kansas City’s Trent McDuffie extended San Francisco’s opening drive of overtime and Purdy made key throws to drive the 49ers to the Chiefs 9. But San Francisco settled for a field goal.

San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan fell to 0-2 as a head coach in Super Bowls and 0-3 overall, including a loss when he was offensive coordinator for Atlanta. That was the game in which Brady and the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win in overtime.

The Chiefs were hardly dominant during the regular season and entered the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 3 seed. They won at Buffalo and at Baltimore in the postseason — the first road playoff games of Mahomes’ career — and entered the Super Bowl as 2 1/2-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

“The Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs. Just know that,” Mahomes said.