That's going to wrap up our live coverage of the Chiefs' Super Bowl win. Thanks for joining us, and we'll have plenty more breaking down the game at CBSSports.com and on CBS Sports HQ.
A chilly, breezy night in South Florida ended with fireworks as the Kansas City Chiefs concluded Super Bowl LIV in signature fashion, coming back from a double-digit deficit to leave Hard Rock Stadium with a double-digit win in Super Bowl LIV, 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers. After seeing his offense somewhat limited for three quarters, Chiefs star quarterback and game MVP Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the go-ahead score, as Kansas City's defense held San Francisco scoreless over the final 15 minutes.
Just last month, the Chiefs' run to their first Super Bowl title since 1969 looked like it was over before it even got going. Over 13 minutes into their AFC divisional round game against the Houston Texans, Kansas City trailed 21-0. The deficit reached 24-0 before KC ever got on the board, but a staggering run of brilliance from Mahomes & Co. saw the Chiefs eventually win by 20.
A week later, the same thing. Just over 9 minutes into the AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City was down 10-0. This time, the Chiefs were quicker to bounce back, engineering consecutive touchdown drives before the half to take a 21-17 lead into the break. Kansas City eventually won the game by 11.
Two weeks after that on Super Bowl Sunday, it again looked like the Chiefs' run was flat-out over. They didn't fall down quite as quickly this time around, and that's what actually made things seem more dire. This time, the Chiefs went down by double digits with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter, and by midway through the fourth, they had yet to cut into the deficit.
The Chiefs used an epic fourth-quarter comeback to win their first Super Bowl title in 50 years, and there's a lot to go over. Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends break down everything about Chiefs-49ers in Super Bowl LIV; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
But with 8:33 left on the clock, Mahomes went to work. He found wide receiver Tyreek Hill open in space on multiple occasions, including on a 44-yard bomb that set the Chiefs up in position to score for the first time since early in the second quarter. He then found tight end Travis Kelce open over the top of the defense, but Kelce was interfered with and the ball was placed on the 1-yard line. A fake to running back Damien Williams and a bit of a rollout left Kelce wide open in the end zone on the next play, and the Chiefs had sliced their deficit to just three points.
After the Kansas City's defense stepped up with a crucial three-and-out, 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky short boot left the Chiefs with solid field position at their own 35-yard line. Again, Mahomes went to work. He found Hill and Kelce for a few short gains and then nailed wideout Sammy Watkins for a long one, once again putting the Chiefs in scoring position. Mahomes took a bad sack on second-and-goal from the 4-yard line, but on third down, he found Williams in the flat. Williams did the rest, out-running a defender, turning the corner, and reaching the ball toward the pylon.
Despite trailing for more than 21 minutes of game time, the Chiefs finally reclaimed the lead. They never relinquished it. In fact, they only added to it with Williams tacking on another score with 1:12 to play as Kansas City was simply attempting to run out the clock for their first Super Bowl victory in half a century.
From a gambling perspective, the Chiefs blew past their -2 or -1.5 spread, but the under 53 hitting was a surprise. Mahomes finished with 29 rushing yards because of a deep kneel that helped run down the clock after being at 44 rushing yards late in the game. And Williams' final scamper put him at 104 yards, to cross off another of the more popular player props of no player hitting 100 rushing yards.
In the end, Mahomes and Williams and Hill and Kelce and Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo (through his unheralded defense) wound up with yet another double-digit playoff victory despite having face a double-digit deficit early in the game. It's what these Chiefs did all postseason, and it was how they ultimately won Super Bowl LIV.
The difference maker: Patrick Mahomes
Why did the Chiefs win on Sunday night? Well, it's pretty simple. They have Mahomes, and the 49ers did not. Erasing double-digit deficits has been this team's signature throughout this postseason, and that's almost entirely because Mahomes is capable of doing things nobody else can do. Even after being held down for three-and-a-half quarters, Mahomes was able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and manage a miracle comeback. There's really not much else to say. He's the best quarterback in the world, and the fact that he bounced back from that rough start to finish with 286 yards passing, 29 yards rushing and three total touchdowns goes to prove it, despite his two interceptions.
The game-changer: 49ers D ran out of steam
And it happened at the worst time. After holding the Chiefs to just 10 points through three quarters, San Francisco gave up 21 in the last 7 minutes of the fourth quarter alone. Kansas City had a clear plan to run a whole lot of plays in order to wear down the defense, and that plan worked. The Chiefs ran 71 plays before the game was officially out of reach, and the 49ers just didn't have the energy to compete against such an electric offense in the game's final moments. Even when Kansas City was trying to run out the clock, it managed to get in the end zone again via Williams' 38-yard score. San Francisco led the yardage totals all game but ultimately got outgained 397-351 with the Chiefs converting 4 of 6 on third down when it mattered the most.
The turning point: Tyreek Hill's big catch
Late in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs trailing 20-10, Mahomes escaped pressure on second-and-15, rolling to the right and unleashing a laser downfield to Hill, who snatched the ball into his chest for a 16-yard gain and a first down. The Chiefs hustled up to the line and quickly snapped the ball, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan got the challenge flag onto the field before the snap. Turns out Hill let the ball slip through his hands and hit the ground. Overturned. Third-and-15 now.
That was the turning point. The Chiefs had been held down pretty much all game and completed only one downfield pass to that point. But Mahomes finally got enough time to uncork one, and he found Hill on a post corner route, lofting the ball downfield off his back foot while the quarterback was under pressure. It was a picture-perfect pass and also the longest (in terms of air yards) of the season for Mahomes. Four players later, the Chiefs were in the end zone, having cut the lead to 20-17. That set the stage for the remainder of the game.
The highlight play: Sammy Watkins separates
The monster throw to Hill started the comeback, but Mahomes' beautifully thrown ball down the opposite sideline to Watkins made a Kansas City victory look pretty much inevitable. Watkins shook Richard Sherman out of his boots with an inside release off the line of scrimmage, then put some separation between himself and Sherman by hitting the jets down the field. Mahomes laid the ball out in front of Watkins and let him run under it, setting up what would eventually be the game-winning score.