By Elwyn Henderson
Sunday afternoon, February 11th finally rolled around and the wait was finally over and the fans packed Allegiant Stadium preparation for the kickoff of Super Bowl LVIII.
Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers was announced as the Walter Payton Man
of the Year at the stadium. He accepted his award and made a short speech before kickoff.
After a beautiful rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing and America the Beautiful, Reba
McEntire did a fantastic job of performing the National Anthem. Just as she sang the
last note the Air Force Thunderbirds flew over the top of the stadium. With all of the
preliminaries out-of-the-way the electricity rose as we were almost ready for kickoff.
San Francisco received the ball to begin the game after the Chiefs deferred to the second half.
Harrison Butker’s kickoff sailed out of the end zone and Brock Purdy and the Niners
began their first possession at their 25.
On the fifth play of the possession after moving deep into Chiefs territory, Christian
McCaffrey fumbled the ball and Kansas City recovered at their 27 with 12:15 left in the
first quarter and Patrick Mahomes and company hit the field for the first time.
It was a quick three-and-out and Tommy Townsend kicked a 43-yard punt that was fair
caught at the SF 25, bringing Purdy and his offense back on the field with 10:16 left in
Thanks to two offensive penalties, the Forty-Niners had to punt on the IRsecond series on the possession. The kick was taken at the 7 and returned to the 11 and Mahomes led the KC offense back on the field.
After picking up one first down Butker came in to punt the ball away again. The kick
went down to the 17 and the Chiefs were downfield and made a tackle there immediately
with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
The Niners moved the ball down to the Chiefs 37 as the first quarter ended without a
score by either team. They faced a 3rd and 14 on the first play of the second quarter and
a pass into the end zone fell incomplete, bringing in Jake Moody to attempt to 55 yard
field goal. The kick was good and San Fran took a 3-0 lead. The drive was 8 plays, 46 yards and took 4:05 off the clock.
The Chiefs took over at their 25 after a touchback. Thanks to a 52 yard pass from
Mahomes to Mecole Hardman on the third play of the possession, the Chiefs looked like they
were in great position to score a touchdown and take the lead, but on the first play
of the next series, Isaiah Pacheco fumbled the ball away and it was recovered by the
49ers at their 8 yard line with 11:50 left in the first half.
The Niners picked up one first down and had a 15 yard penalty for a horse collar
but the Chiefs defense came to life and forced a punt from the San Fran 29 on 4th and
- The kick traveled 51 yards and the Chiefs came back out on offense at their 20 with 9:16
left in the first half.
Thanks to an intentional grounding call against Patrick Mahomes it was a three and out for
the Chiefs. Tommy Townsend nailed a 55 yard punt and following a fair catch San
Francisco took over on offense at their 33 yard line with 7:49 left in the first half.
They moved down the field and Brock Purdy lateraled the football to Jauan Jennings who
tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey with 4:23 left to play in the
first half. The PAT was good and San Francisco increased their lead to 10-0.
After another touchback, the Chiefs got the ball back at their 25 knowing full well they desperately needed a score before halftime.
Mahomes moved the Chiefs down to the 9 yard line, but on a 3rd and 5 he was sacked for
a 1 yard loss, forcing a Butker 28-yard field goal try. The kick was good with 20 seconds
remaining in the first half and KC got on the board but were still trailing 10-3. The 65-yard drive took 4:03.
San Francisco ran one play after a touchback and the half ended.
Jake Moody kicked off for San Francisco to begin the second half. The kick went through
the end zone, and Patrick Mahomes and company began their first drive of the second half
at their 25 following a touchback.
On the third play of the possession Mahomes was intercepted at the Kansas City 44 and the
troubles for the Chiefs continued.
Purdy brought his offensive team out to see if they could add to the lead but the Kansas City defense finally got it together, forcing a three-and-out. Following a 43 yard punt, the KC got the ball back at their own 2-yard line.
They managed only 9 yards in 3 plays, and were forced to punt out of their end zone. The ball was fair caught at the San Francisco 36 yard line with 10:45 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs came up on defense once again, and forced a three-and-out. Mitch Wiskowski
punted from his 35 down to the Kansas City 14 with no return and KC got the ball back with 9:01 left in the third quarter.
Mahomes moved his offense down to the San Francisco 39, but on a 4th and 7 Harrison
Butker came in and booted a 57 yard field goal that moved the Chiefs closer, as they
trailed 10-6 with 5:01 left in the quarter.
Purdy brought his unit out at the 25 following a touchback of Butker’s kickoff after
the field goal and once again, the KC defense did the job and forced after another punt after just three plays. The 55 yard kick was returned up to the Kansas City 27 with 3:59 left in the third quarter, and the Chiefs took the field with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown.
It wasn’t to be though, as the Chiefs went three-and-out also. Townsend kicked the
ball away and the attempted return was muffed by Ray-Ray McCloud and Kansas City recovered
at the San Fran 16 yard line.
It took just one play for the Chiefs to get their first touchdown and first lead of the day, as Mahomes hit Marquez Valdes-Scandling for a 16-yard TD pass with 2:32 left in the third quarter. Butker added the extra point and Kansas City jumped out to the 13-10 lead.
Following another touchback, Purdy brought his offensive unit back to the field, and they
went to work, and begin carving the Chiefs defense up. The Niners chose to go for a 4th and 3 at the Chiefs 15 and Christian McCaffrey picked up the first down at the 11 to continue the drive.
San Fran got the TD when Purdy hit Jennings on a 13-yard pass with 11:22 left in the
game. The PAT kick was blocked leaving the score at 16-10San Francisco. The 75-yard Drive took 6:10 off the clock.
KC got the ball back at their 25 following a touchback of the kickoff and appeared to
be headed toward a certain touchdown, but on a 3rd and 3 Mahomes was sacked back
at the 7, forcing a 24-yard field goal that tied the game 16-16 with 5:46 left to
play in regulation. The 68-yard Drive took 5:22.
The ensuing Butker kickoff went through the end zone for another touchback and Purdy and
company set up shop at their 25 and for the second time in as many possessions, Purdy carved up the Chiefs defense like a chef would carve a turkey on Thanksgiving day.
The KC defense came up big when they had to though, forcing a Purdy third down pass to fall
incomplete. On a 4th and 4 from the Chiefs 34, Moody nailed a 51-yard field goal between the uprights to give the 49ers a 19-16 lead with 1:53 left in the game.
The Chiefs would get one final opportunity to either tie the game and send it into
overtime or get a touchdown and win the game. Mahomes had been in this position many
times before and came through a whole lot more than he didn’t. The question was could
he do it one more time and make his team back-to-back Super Bowl champions?
The game went down to the wire. On a 3rd and 7 with 16 seconds left in the game in
regulation play, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a gain of 23 down to the San Francisco 11
with 9 seconds remaining. They had one time left so they had an opportunity to try to throw the ball into the end zone for what would be the winning score but everyone in the stadium knew it had to be a quick pass. Could Mahomes do it yet again? The answer was no as a pass intended for Kelce at the goal line fell incomplete at the goal line with 6 seconds remaining. Butker came in and kicked a 29-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in regulation time to tie the game at 19-19.
After another touchback San Francisco took a knee and regulation time ended, and the game went into overtime.
The Niners won the coin toss to go into overtime and elected to receive the ball so the
Chiefs were headed out on defense to begin the overtime period. Once again, Butker’s kick sailed out of the end zone and Purdy and the Niner offense began their first overtime possession at their 25.
KC appeared to have a three-and-out, but Trent McDuffie was called for defensive
holding, giving the Niners new life. Purdy and his charges took full advantage as the Chiefs defense fell apart and the Niners moved down the field quickly.
The Chiefs finally got a stop when they needed to on a 3rd and 4 from their 9. Moody came in and nailed a 27-yard field goal with 7:22 left in overtime to give San Francisco a 22-19 lead.
So now the heat was all on Patrick Mahomes’ shoulders yet again. Could he move the Chiefs
down the field for a tying field goal or a touchdown to win the game?
It all came down to a 4th down and about a foot to go for KC to pick up a first down and
continue the game. If they missed getting it, the game was over, and the Forty-Niners would win
Super Bowl LVIII.
Mahomes pounded the rock himself and gained 7 yards up to the 42 to keep the game alive. He continued masterfully moving the Chiefs down to the San Francisco 3 with a first and goal with the clock at 17 seconds and counting left in OT. He found Hardman all alone in the right corner of the end zone with 3 seconds left in the OT period, giving the Chiefs a touchdown and
the 25-22 win to make them back-to-back Super Bowl Champions.
In his postgame press conference Coach Andy Reid was ecstatic when he faced the media.
“Appreciate everybody showing up. What a great experience. I appreciate our guys for the great job that they did, the players and the coaches. Defensively, our guys came out and played their hearts out like they’ve done all year, kept us in the game. Then, the offense just kind of persevered through it. It was tough in the first half. We did a little better in the second half. Obviously, the last drive was a thing of beauty. Congratulations to the 49ers for being here. Kyle is a great head football coach. The 49ers are lucky to have him. What a game. It could have gone either way. It was just one of those games. I feel fortunate to have been on the positive side of it.”
When he came in for his media presser, Mahomes was asked what was going through his mind after the big win.
“I can’t even explain what was going through my mind. It was just extreme joy. Didn’t even know where to go. Just so much excitement, man. I’m so proud of the team, so proud of the guys the battle to the very end. That was the microcosm of our season; I said it and then everybody came together, and we were able to get the win.”
As you can imagine, it was a somber time when Coach Kyle Shanahan faced the media after the loss.
“I mean, we all hurt, and everyone knows how it feels and don’t have a lot. We all hurt and don’t have a lot of words for it. Obviously, we’re hurting, our team’s hurting, but that’s how it goes when you put yourself out there. I’m real proud of our guys, no regrets with our team. I thought our guys played so hard today not everything was perfect by any means, but if I’m going to lose with a group of guys, I’d do it with those guys any time and we’ll get over this and come back next year ready to go.”
When Brock Purdy came in for his press session he was asked what the team said to each other when they got into the locker room after the loss.
“I mean, a lot of guys are quiet, and a lot of guys are still quiet right now. Not a lot has been said. It just hurts. We have the team obviously to do it, to win the whole thing, and come up short like that. The way things have been the last couple of years here, everyone wanted it so bad. So, I think we’re still trying to sort of gather our thoughts and everything right now. But everyone in that locker room loves each other, I’ll tell you that.”
So the 2023 NFL season books are closed and Super Bowl LVIII has concluded and the NFL hit another Grand Slam again this season in the final game. So now we head to the offseason for 6 months and then the 2024 season training camps will begin and every team will reload and get ready for another year.
In case you might be wondering, the Chiefs are already underdogs to 3-peat next year. The early odds have the second behind none other than the Forty-Niners. Don’t be surprised if Patrick Mahomes and company shock the world again next year. They continue to prove they love being the underdog!