The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles delivered on the high expectations placed upon them by fans and media in what was a Super Bowl for the ages on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. A more apt characterization is they exceeded the lofty possibilities.
Down 24–14 at halftime with palpable concerns that their unparalleled quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, would be hobbled after twisting his already damaged right ankle with 1:44 left in the second quarter on a tackle by Eagles linebacker T.J Edwards, the Chiefs’ offense scored on every one of their offensive possessions after intermission. The last was a 27-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with 8 seconds remaining, to give them a dramatic 38–35 win in Super Bowl LVII (57).
Mahomes showed no signs of being limited by his ankle, which was first injured on January 21 in the Chiefs’ AFC divisional-round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He maneuvered effectively inside and outside of the pocket, and had a signature dash of 26 yards with 2:55 left in the game to move the ball to the Eagles’ 17-yard line. He carried out the masterful second half adjustments made by head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and his defensive staff had no answers for the Chiefs’ multiple formations, shifts, and pre-snap misdirections.
Mahomes ended with modest passing numbers by his historically great standards, primarily as a result of the Eagles dominating time of possession for 35 minutes and 47 seconds to the Chiefs’ 24 minutes and 13 seconds.
The 27-year-old Mahomes, who last week was named the NFL’s regular season MVP, beating out the Eagles’ superlative QB Jalen Hurts, who finished second in the voting, was a highly efficient 21–27 for 182 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. He was surgical in operating on an Eagles defense that had a combined 78 sacks in the regular season and playoffs, but was held sackless by a Chiefs offensive line that was impenetrable on football’s biggest stage.
“I thought guys just embraced the moment,” Mahomes reflected after being named Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his young six-year career, the last five as a starter. “In that first half, we were playing and doing some good stuff, but I felt like the guys were getting consumed by everything around us.”
The Chiefs were understandably absorbed by the captivating display being exerted by the 24-year-old Hurts in his Super Bowl debut. Hurts imposed his will and increasingly sharpening skills on the Chiefs, adroitly using his arm and powerful legs to move the Eagles with precision. His only flaw of the game was an unforced fumble in attempting to transfer the ball from one arm to the other while under pressure from the Chiefs that was returned by linebacker Nick Bolton for a 36-yard touchdown with 9:39 to go in the second quarter to tie the game 14-14.
“I always hold myself to a very high standard in everything I do,” Hurts said. “Obviously, I try to control the things I can. I touch the ball every play, so I just try and protect it.”
The turnover was a blemish but didn’t badly scar what was a record-setting showing by Hurts. He completed 27-38 passes for 304 yards and one TD, and ran 15 times for 70 yards and three touchdowns. His 103.4 passer rating is the highest ever for a quarterback under 25 in the Super Bowl. Hurts’s three rushing scores tied him with Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis, who had a trifecta for the Denver Broncos versus the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, for the most all-time.
Yet, his exceptional night ended in disappointment as Hurts’s counterpart Mahomes and the Chiefs were recipients of the most enduring accolade.