NFL hero Mahomes leads Chiefs to Super Bowl win over Eagles
By Steve Keating
GLENDALE, Ariz (Reuters) – Patrick Mahomes proved why he is the NFL’s most valuable player as he overcame an ankle injury and led the Kansas City Chiefs to a dramatic 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday to secure their second Win the Super Bowl in four years.
Kansas City’s hopes of returning home with the Lombardi Trophy looked bleak late in the first half when quarterback Mahomes appeared to injure his right ankle again, which had been a major concern before the game.
Mahomes, grimacing in pain after a tackle, hobbled off the field and slammed his helmet onto the turf as the Chiefs went 24-14 at halftime.
But as teams returned after the break, a resilient Mahomes put on a heroic performance, throwing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and engineering a final drive to play Harrison Butker’s 27-yard field goal that won the game with eight seconds left.
Mahomes, who also threw for a touchdown in the first half, totaled 21 completions for 182 yards and rushed for 44 yards.
“I’ve been telling you all week that nothing is going to keep me off this football field,” Mahomes said after accepting the Super Bowl MVP award that came with the NFL MVP honor he received Thursday.
“It’s the Super Bowl, you can worry about getting healthy in the offseason.
“I fought my way through and we were able to win”
There couldn’t be a better way to end the NFL season than a championship game featuring the two teams with the best records and two dynamic young leaders in the Eagles’ Mahomes and Jalen Hurts — the first two black quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl.
It was the kind of intriguing matchup that drew a who’s who of industry, entertainment and sports to suburban Phoenix, with Elon Musk, Paul McCartney and LeBron James among the 67,827 in attendance.
Mahomes’ game against the NFL’s top-flight defense was worth the price of admission alone, even with tickets selling for $3,200 on resale sites.
The 27-year-old has been described as a “magician” and “an escape artist” for his ability to dodge tacklers, but on Sunday Mahomes showed his courage and strength by playing through the pain and saying he hadn’t taken any painkillers.
“Well, he’s the MVP. That’s all there is to it, right? MVP. And you saw it tonight,” said Kansas City coach Andy Reid. “He has seen the greats and he aspires to be the greatest.
“It’s what he wants to do, and that’s how he goes about his business. He does it humbly.”
Hurts, another top contender for the NFL MVP award, put on an almost equally dazzling performance, rushing for three touchdowns and a Super Bowl-record 70 yards. He also threw for a touchdown.
While there were question marks over Mahome’s ankles, there was no doubting his determination as he led the third quarter with a 75-yard drive that was crowned by a one-yard run from Isiah Pacheco to put Philadelphia’s lead on 24-21 to shorten.
Jake Elliott started his second field goal to extend the Eagles’ lead before Mahomes Kadarius hit Toney with a five-yard touchdown shot to give the Chiefs the first lead of the night 28-27.
Toney returned a 65-yard Eagles punt, the longest in Super Bowl history, to the Philadelphia Five, where Mahomes found Skyy Moore for a 4-yard touchdown to increase their lead to 35-27
But the Eagles wouldn’t wave the white flag, Hurts spotting a wide open Devonta Smith on the two before diving over for a touchdown himself.
Philadelphia tied the game 35-35 with a two-point conversion five minutes from time.
The game started off brilliantly, with both teams scoring goals on their opening runs.
The Eagles got the ball first and Hurts, showing no sign of nervousness on the big stage, engineered a clinical 75-yard drive that saw the 24-year-old overpower the one for the touchdown.
Kansas City responded immediately with Mahomes hitting his favorite target Travis Kelce with an 18-yard pass to cap their own 75-yard drive.
The fireworks continued in the second when Hurts spotted AJ Brown on the first play of the quarter, breaking free in the end zone and connecting for a 45-yard touchdown.
After a brilliant start to the game, Hurts made a big mistake when the ball slipped out of his hand near midfield and the Chiefs’ Nick Bolton picked it up and returned it for a touchdown.
“We came up short, so I know that will motivate me,” Hurts said. “Either you win or you learn, that’s how I feel.”
On the next possession, Hurts atoned for his roar by hopping four yards for another touchdown to end a drive he set up with a 28-yard run.
Elliott kicked in a 35-yard field goal in the last game of the half to send Philadelphia 24-14 at the break.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Glendale. Additional reporting by Amy Tennery, Rory Carroll in Los Angeles. Editing by Peter Rutherford)