Patrick Mahomes overcomes ankle injury to lead Chiefs past Eagles in Super Bowl LVII
Patrick Mahomes was as slick as a Philadelphia lamp post — injured ankle and all.
The Kansas City quarterback, who hobbled into the halftime locker room wincing in pain, emerged a hero in the second half, hoisting the Chiefs out of a 10-point hole and leading them to a 38-35 victory over the mighty Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.
In the days leading up to the game, Philadelphia authorities had greased the lamp posts around that city to keep revelers from scaling them in what was sure to be a victory celebration.
But the Chiefs had other plans.
Mahomes, the NFL’s reigning most valuable player, showed little evidence in the second half of the high ankle sprain that was aggravated near the end of the second quarter. He ran and threw with the intensity and precision that has made him the face of the NFL. He had been battling the insidious injury since the divisional win over Jacksonville.
Complete coverage of the Kansas City Chiefs’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII from Glendale, Ariz.
“I told y’all this week, there’s nothing that’s going to keep me off the football field, and I just want to shout out my teammates, man,” Mahomes said amid a tsunami of red and gold confetti. “We challenged each other. It took everybody to win this football game. So, shoutout my teammates, baby! We’re Super Bowl champs! Let’s go!”
Kansas City had Andy Reid and — in Mahomes — a new-age Willis Reed.
Reed, you might recall, was the New York Knicks star who, in a legendary performance, limped onto the court with a severe leg injury and guided his team to an NBA title.
What Mahomes did Sunday also will be cemented in sports lore. He was selected the game’s MVP.
“The first Super Bowl, I was like a little kid winning a prize at the fair,” the 27-year-old said, referring to the victory over the San Francisco 49ers three years ago. “Whereas this one, you realize how hard it is to get back on the stage and win this game. ... Having to go through the strain of being better and better every single day gives you a greater appreciation for winning this.”
This was the first Super Bowl pitting Black quarterbacks against each other. Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts ran for three touchdowns — a Super Bowl record for quarterbacks — and threw for a fourth.
“It’s a very tough feeling to come up short,” Hurts said. “But the only direction is to rise.”
Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win on a bum ankle, showing he is on a fast path to one day supplanting Tom Brady as football’s GOAT.
Philadelphia offensive coordinator Shane Steichen could become the next coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and the Arizona Cardinals are expected to interview Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon this week, although Philadelphia’s defensive failings down the stretch were not a ringing endorsement.
Unfazed by Philadelphia’s ferocious pass rush — the heart of a defense that collected a club-record 70 sacks this season — Mahomes coolly found his receivers and picked apart the coverage. The Eagles failed to record a sack.
The key sequence for the Chiefs came in the fourth quarter, when they claimed their first lead of the game and then built on it.
It started with a five-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Kadarius Toney that gave Kansas City a 28-27 lead.
On the play, Toney lined up wide to the right and went in motion before the snap with a few strides to the left, toward the middle of the line. A defender shadowed him. But instead of completing his motion, Toney gave a little shimmy and popped back out to the right, shaking the defender. The receiver was so wide open when he got the ball, he walked into the end zone.
Toney wasn’t done. After a three-and-out by Philadelphia, the Eagles punted to him, and Toney tore off a 65-yard return, the longest in Super Bowl history. He was stopped five yards short of the end zone.
Then, the most remarkable thing. The Chiefs ran an identical fake-motion with receiver Skyy Moore, only this time from the left side. Once again, the Eagles had no answer, and Moore scored an easy touchdown.
Philadelphia, which had so thoroughly controlled the game in the first half, now trailed by eight with about nine minutes to play. The Eagles still had fight in them and mounted a 75-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Hurts. The quarterback then forged a 35-35 tie by scrambling for a two-point conversion.
With five minutes left, Mahomes nickel-and-dimed the Chiefs down the field, picking up modest gains with runs by Isiah Pacheco and short passes to Travis Kelce and Juju Smith-Schuster.
A pivotal and controversial play came with the Chiefs facing third and eight at the Philadelphia 15 with 1:54 left. Eagles cornerback James Bradberry was flagged for defensive holding on Smith-Schuster, giving Kansas City a first down.
“It was holding,” Bradberry conceded after the game. “I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide.”
Jalen Hurts made history in his Super Bowl debut for the Philadelphia Eagles, and the young quarterback is determined to learn from from the loss.
That drive burned almost all of the clock, setting up a 27-yard field goal by Harrison Butker for the win.
“He’s always strong,” Toney said of Mahomes.
“He never shows weakness. You know what I’m saying? He’s a true fighter. Besides the ankle, besides whatever, like the dude’s a true fighter. He’s a real leader.”
This was the first Super Bowl featuring brothers playing against each other. On one side was Philadelphia center Jason Kelce, and on the other was his younger brother, Travis, All-Pro tight end for the Chiefs.
Travis Kelce had six catches for a team-high 81 yards with an 18-yard over-the-shoulder catch for a touchdown.
Watching from a suite with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was the brothers’ mother, Donna Kelce, along with Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety who nearly died of cardiac arrest in a Jan. 2 game at Cincinnati.
Philadelphia dominated the time of possession, 35:47 to 24:13, with the most lopsided clock control coming in the first half.
A pivotal 65-yard punt return and a critical late touchdown by Kadarius Toney fuels the Chiefs’ comeback win in the 2023 Super Bowl over the Eagles.
At one point, Kansas City’s offense had run a total of nine plays in a span of 95 minutes. That meant the Chiefs’ defense was working overtime.
Said Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark: “I’m happy, ecstatic, overjoyed — but just tired.”
Tired but triumphant. The Chiefs will take that.
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