Sunday’s Super Bowl—the 54th—held this year in sunny south Florida, Miami Beach at Hard Rock Stadium, features two of the NFL’s newest star quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC team, and Jimmy Garoppolo, QB of the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC team. It also features two teams that have not faced each other during the regular season.
Mahomes, in his third year with the Chiefs, the 10th pick of the first round in the 2017 draft, is the most decorated of the two play makers. His last two games, the first, an incredible 51-31 comeback blowout against the Houston Texans, the AFC divisional game, and the 34-25 win over the Tennessee Titans the following week, the AFC Championship, confirm his stature within the league.
Down 21-nothing at the start of the second quarter, Mahomes led his team in scoring 28 points in the second quarter. The Chiefs then proceeded to score 23 more points in the second half holding the Texans to seven.
Against the Titans, Mahomes scrambled after a broken play, eluding multiple defenders along the sidelines for a 27-yard run to the end zone.
Mahomes, 24, the NFL’s 2018 Most Valuable Player, is a dual threat. He has the capability to throw or run, and to salvage a broken play. During the regular 16 game season, Mahomes threw for 4031 yards, 319 completions out of 484 attempts, 65.9%, 26 touchdowns, 5 interceptions in 14 games. He sat out two due to injury.
In their two playoff games, Mahomes completed 65.7% of his passes for 615 yards, 8 touchdowns, rushing for 106 yards.
In his second season, Mahomes and the Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots 37-31, a close overtime game last year in a much anticipated AFC Championship matchup, one win away from a Super Bowl appearance.
The Chiefs’ biggest strength is their offense. They have a stellar receiving core for Mahomes to throw to: wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, tight end Travis Kelce and runningback Damien Williams out of the back field.
Kansas City can be exploited on defense at times, as they were multiple times in the post season games against Houston and Tennessee, but their offensive resiliency, and ability to make big defensive plays at times, has saved them from defeat. Note that the 49ers had the league’s second-ranked overall defense this season
“They’ve got some of the most dynamic playmakers in this league,” noted 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who has a Super Bowl ring from 2013 when he was a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
“They’ve got a ton of speed. He [Mahomes] has a ton of arm talent. He can get the ball wherever he wants it when he wants it. He can move around the pocket. We’ve got to find a way to get that solved.”