Originally Published: 11 FEB 24 08:00 ET
Updated: 11 FEB 24 22:51 ET
By Hannah Brewitt, CNN
(CNN) — The Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday became the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 19 years, downing the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in Las Vegas. Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have won Super Bowls in three of the past five seasons.
The game was a rematch of the Super Bowl four years ago, when the Chiefs pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 31-20.
Sunday’s contest began slowly – very slowly – with the first points not coming until Jake Moody booted a Super Bowl record 55-yard field goal 12 seconds into the second quarter. The first four drives of the game had ended with a San Francisco fumble, then three consecutive punts by the two teams.
The game didn’t open up until the second 15 minutes, when the 49ers got their 3-0 lead and the Chiefs appeared to be ready to answer after a 52-yard pass, but a Kansas City fumble a few plays later was recovered by the Niners at their 8.
After the Chiefs fumble came two more punts, but then the 49ers took a 10-0 lead thanks to a smart trick play. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, a star quarterback in high school, took a pass-like lateral on the left side of the field and then threw all the way across field to All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who found a hole in the Chiefs defense and a path for a 21-yard sprint to the end zone with about 4:30 left in the half.
The Chiefs were able to get a short field goal just before intermission. Harrison Butker’s 28-yard boot cut the 49ers lead to 10-3 with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. It capped a 15-play drive by the Chiefs. None of the 13 teams failing to score in the first half has ever won the Super Bowl.
What little scoring momentum had appeared in the second quarter disappeared early in the third and the special teams had the more noteworthy plays.
Moody’s longest field goal record also vanished when Butker hit from 57 yards with 5:01 left in the period to get the Chiefs within four at 10-6.
With 2:32 left in the third quarter, another special teams play helped the Chiefs nab their first lead. San Francisco’s Darrell Luter Jr. tried to pick up a punted ball that hit a teammate’s foot but it slipped through his fingers and the Chiefs grabbed the ball at the 49ers’ 16-yard line. On the next play, Mahomes zipped a pass to a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a touchdown and a 13-10 lead.
The Chiefs’ defense, normally stingy in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, gave up a touchdown with 11:22 left in the contest when Purdy hit Jennings for a 10-yard score. The extra point was blocked, however, and San Francisco had only a field goal lead, 16-13.
Butker tied the score five and a half minutes later, capping a 13-play Kansas City drive with a 24-yard field goal.
Moody put the Niners ahead 19-16 with another field goal from beyond 50 yards, a 53-yarder with just 1:53 left.
The game headed to overtime when the Chiefs drove 64 yards and Butker nailed a 29-yard field goal with three seconds left.
It was only the second time the Super Bowl went to overtime. In the 51st Super Bowl in 2017, the New England Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit and won by a touchdown.
The 49ers scored on the first drive of overtime, settling for a 29-yard field goal with a quick pass rush from the Chiefs caused Purdy to overthrow his receiver on third and four at the Kansas City 9-yard line.
Needing at least a field goal to extend the game, Mahomes worked his magic, mixing key completions with a big run for a first down. On the winning play he found Mecole Hardman Jr. open at the goal line for a touchdown.
How did we get here?
Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs are in familiar territory, seeking their second consecutive NFL title and making their fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years. Despite their winning pedigree, this time they’re the underdogs.
The Chiefs’ road to this particular Super Bowl wasn’t as clear as seasons past. For the majority of the season, they struggled to get into a rhythm offensively. Frustrations showed on the field, and they suffered the consequences by finishing the season with the franchises’ worst record since 2014.
Despite the ups-and-downs, they managed to win when it mattered most, defeating the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens on their way to the NFL’s biggest stage.
The 49ers, meanwhile, were among the league’s top teams for the majority of the season.
They finished the regular season 12-5, earning the NFC’s No.1 overall seed and a first-round bye. In the postseason, they battled to two come-from-behind victories over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, cruising into the Super Bowl rather unscathed. Their next challenge is to defeat the Chiefs and win the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in nearly 30 years.
Sunday’s matchup will be the second time in just four years that these two teams will meet in a Super Bowl. When the rivals squared off in Super Bowl LIV back in 2020, Kansas City came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to earn its first Super Bowl title since 1970.
The epic comeback marked both Mahomes’ and head coach Andy Reid’s first Super Bowl titles. It also marked the second-largest fourth-quarter comeback in Super Bowl history, proving that Mahomes and Co. are never to be underestimated.
While the win kicked off the Mahomes era for Kansas City, the loss began an unfortunate trend for San Francisco. The Niners have been playoff regulars ever since, but never made it all the way to the mountain top. Now gearing up to face their rivals once again, fans can expect the rematch to be even more exciting than the first go-around.
David vs. Goliath quarterback matchup
One of the most interesting storylines to come out of this Super Bowl is the polarizing quarterback matchup.
Mahomes was drafted 10th overall by Kansas City back in 2017. Since then, in just his sixth year as a starting quarterback, he has amassed a laundry list of accolades that most athletes could only dream of. He’s won two Super Bowl titles, two Super Bowl MVP awards, and two league MVP awards - all before his 30th birthday.
Niners quarterback Brock Purdy, meanwhile, was the last pick in the 2022 draft. At 24-years-old, the former “Mr. Irrelevant” is seeking his first Super Bowl title in his first season as a starter. While Purdy’s resume isn’t nearly as strong as Mahomes, his play this past season proves he is not to be underestimated.
Purdy posted a league-best EPA this season, reaching numbers similar to legendary quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Joe Montanta. During the playoffs, his bend-but-never-break style of play proved enough to emerge victorious against some of the fiercest defenses in the league.
On the other hand, Mahomes posted career-worst metrics this season, though he flipped the script in the postseason. His performance over the last three games was more consistent with his playoff performances of recent memory, and those numbers are staggering.
He’s led the Chiefs to victory in 14 of 17 postseason matchups. Across those 17 games, he has 5,260 yards combined passing and rushing and has accounted for 44 touchdowns through the air. His 14 wins in the postseason - before turning 29 - are already tied for the third most of any quarterback, trailing only Montana (16) and Brady (35).
Though these quarterbacks are incredibly different in story, style, and stature, there’s no doubt they’ve both earned their spot in this high-stakes matchup. Will Mahomes do what he does best and earn his third ring? Or will Purdy’s Cinderella story become complete?
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