CHAMPIONS AGAIN: 5 observations from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 38-35 Super Bowl LVII win over the Eagles

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles past Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kyzir White (43) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow/The Republic via USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPIONS AGAIN: 5 observations from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 38-35 Super Bowl LVII win over the Eagles

In a game that will do down as a Super Bowl for the ages, the Chiefs prevailed 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII. Here are 5 observations on this instant classic from the perspective of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs:

Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are the new Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski

The Eagles’ defense surely knew entering Super Bowl LVII that Travis Kelce is Patrick Mahomes’ No. 1 target, but stopping their connection is a different issue entirely. Mahomes targeted Kelce twice on the Chiefs’ opening offensive possession, completing both for 38 yards and a beautiful touchdown over Eagles’ safety Marcus Epps. Kelce’s evening was far from over – he would finish with six receptions and 81 yards to lead Kansas City’s receiving corps. Kelce led all tight ends in receiving yards by more than 400 yards during the regular season and has scored touchdowns in 11 of Kansas City’s last 13 playoff games. Patrick Mahomes was his usual heroic self in the second half, taking off on hugely important runs and picking apart the Eagles’ defense for 24 points after the break. Tom Brady is the best to ever do it at the quarterback position, to be sure – but with the help of trusty tight end Travis Kelce, Mahomes’ path to the highest echelon of NFL quarterback lore feels clearly within reach.

Kansas City’s defense did not maintain the integrity necessary to keep Jalen Hurts from running all over them

Andy Reid spoke all week on Super Bowl Radio Row about the importance of keeping Jalen Hurts in the pocket and maintaining gap integrity along the defensive front, but the Chiefs’ defense fell flat in that area. Jalen Hurts rushed for two touchdowns in the first half and finished the afternoon with 70 yards on the ground against the Chiefs’ porous front while scoring three touchdowns and converting a 2-point conversion. While Hurts’ runs through wide-open space created chunk plays that hurt the Chiefs all night, it was Kansas City’s inability to stop third down and fourth down runs when Hurts only needed a yard or two that inflicted the most pain for Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

The Chiefs were fortunate to be down just 10 at halftime

A 24-14 halftime deficit may not have felt like a blowout, but Kansas City was completely dominated in the game’s first 30 minutes. Philadelphia controlled the football for more than two-thirds of the opening half, 21:54 to just 8:06 for the Chiefs. The Eagles more than doubled the Chiefs’ yardage as well, outgaining Kansas City 270 to 128 while gaining 17 first downs to just six for the Chiefs. Kansas City went 0-for-3 on third down and ran just 20 offensive plays while their defense was on the field for 44. Nick Bolton’s 36-yard fumble return for a touchdown – which came after a fluky, untouched fumble by Jalen Hurts – was the only reason Super Bowl LVII didn’t feel like a complete blowout at halftime.

Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy’s scripted drives were masterful 

Great offensive coordinators – and offensive-minded head coaches, for that matter – take pride in the first 10-15 plays of each half reflecting a successful implementation of their game plan. Kansas City cut through the Eagles’ defense like a hot knife through butter in both such scenarios during Super Bowl LVII. The Chiefs’ opening drive of the game covered 75 yards over just six plays, combining powerful runs by Isiah Pacheco with two big Travis Kelce catches, including a touchdown that tied the game at seven. Kansas City opened the second half with another touchdown drive, this one also covering 75 yards but taking 10 plays. The Chiefs faced just one third down (and converted it from 1 yard away) and cruised downfield en route to Isiah Pacheco’s short touchdown run. With that score, Kansas City reduced their deficit to only three.

Weapons, weapons everywhere

Travis Kelce is Patrick Mahomes’ undisputed first priority in the passing game, but Super Bowl LVII put the Chiefs’ plethora of versatile offensive players – and their creativity in creating opportunities for those weapons – on full display. Patrick Mahomes targeted nine different receivers Sunday night, completing passes to seven of them. Travis Kelce, Kadarius Toney, and Skyy Moore all caught touchdown passes to cap off an incredible offensive display that Kansas City needed every bit of. The Chiefs’ offensive numbers were not gaudy by any stretch of the word, but the guile and creativity its offense displayed fully displayed the war chest of weapons at Andy Reid’s disposal. Kansas City scored on every possession in the second half and earned quarterback Patrick Mahomes his second Super Bowl ring in four years.

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