Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII takeaways: Patrick Mahomes’ late heroics outshine gutsy defense and special teams effort

    The Kansas City Chiefs have solidified a spot alongside the greatest teams of all time. 

    In Super Bowl LVII from Las Vegas, the Chiefs defended the crown, winning a thrilling overtime battle with the San Francisco 49ers, 25-22, to clinch back-to-back championships. 

    Here are three takeaways from the Chiefs’ historic victory.  

    Mahomes was Mahomes when it mattered most 

    Patrick Mahomes wasn’t perfect, and for parts of the game, he looked sluggish and unsure, nearly committing several costly turnovers in the process. However, when it came down to the nitty-gritty, he made key throws and converted massive fourth downs, proving for the thousandth time why he’s an all-time great.

    Incredibly, Mahomes orchestrated a double-digit comeback for the third time in the Super Bowl. First, he eliminated a 10-point first-half deficit, leading the Chiefs to scores on the team’s final three possessions of the second half, including an 11-play, 64-yard field goal drive to force overtime with three ticks remaining on the fourth-quarter clock. 

    Then, after the defense gave him a chance by forcing a 49ers field goal on the opening possession of the extra frame, Mahomes went to work. The Chiefs took 13 plays to march 75 yards for the game-winning score. 

    The drive included two massive conversions on third down and a fourth-and-one from the Kansas City 34 to keep the series alive. Mahomes capped it off with a three-yard touchdown pass to wideout Mecole Hardman to seal the title for the Chiefs. 

    Mahomes earned Super Bowl MVP honors for the third time in his young career, and he’s only the third player in NFL history to win them back-to-back, joining Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr. 

    Meanwhile, he joins Tom Brady and Joe Montana as the only QBs with three Super Bowl titles and two league MVPs. 

    Chiefs’ defense and special teams were the real MVP 

    The Chiefs offense will garner the headlines, and rightly so. However, if not for a gutsy effort from the defense and special teams, it might be the 49ers celebrating a Super Bowl victory instead. 

    The Chiefs’ defense dominated the line of scrimmage and kept the game within reach while the offense found its bearings. The unit stalled several 49ers’ scoring drives, holding them to field goals three times and twice down the stretch, which ultimately made the difference. 

    Meanwhile, cornerback Jaylen Watson recovered a muffed punt on special teams in the third quarter, leading to a touchdown that gave Kansas City its first lead on the ensuing play. Also, after the 49ers had retaken the lead in the fourth quarter, linebacker Leo Chenal blocked a 49ers’ extra point, which kept the deficit to only three points. 

    Without third-down holds by the defense late and a timely blocked extra point, Mahomes and company probably don’t have a chance to work their magic. 

    Chiefs are officially a dynasty 

    Following a third Super Bowl victory in five seasons, the Chiefs are an undisputed dynasty. Furthermore, they’re the league’s first back-to-back champions since the New England Patriots accomplished the feat in 2003-04. 

    Along with three Super Bowl victories, the Chiefs have primarily dominated the NFL over the last six seasons. Since 2018, they’ve won the AFC West and gone to the conference championship game every year, winning it four times. 

    After winning it all for a third time, many teams would find it hard to carry on that kind of success. However, the Chiefs may only be getting started. At this moment, they boast the seventh-youngest roster in the NFL, and the elite group leading the way is seemingly only getting better. 

    After the Super Bowl win, Mahomes said it wasn’t a dynasty yet but “the start of one.” 

    “We’re not done. I know we’re going to celebrate tonight — but we’re not done,” Mahomes said via the NFL. “We’ve got a young team, we’re going to keep this thing going.” 

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