Chiefs win Super Bowl with late surge
Uncomfortable and under duress for much of the game, Patrick Mahomes suddenly recaptured his mojo and lifted Andy Reid and Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory - their first NFL championship in a half-century.
All it took was falling behind by double digits in the postseason, again. Then Mahomes led the Chiefs to 21-straight points in the final 6:13, hitting two long passes on touchdown drives for a 31-20 victory Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers.
"We never lost faith," Mahomes said. "That's the biggest thing. Everybody on this team, no one had their head down. We believed in each other. That's what we preached all year long."
The Chiefs (15-4) trailed 24-0 and 17-7 in their previous playoff games. This time, Kansas City nearly didn't have time for a comeback.
Kansas City's fans in the crowd of 62,417 at Hard Rock Stadium got little opportunity to chant and do the tomahawk chop as KC fell behind 20-10 in the third quarter. Mahomes even threw his second interception of the night after they fell behind.
But the vaunted 49ers defence wilted late and Mahomes brought the magic that makes him special.
He completed passes of 44 yards to Tyreek Hill and 38 to Sammy Watkins. The touchdowns came on short throws to Travis Kelce to cut the deficit to three, and to Damien Williams for the lead.
The first NFL title in Chiefs coach Reid's two-decade career was clinched by Williams' 38-yard TD run, sending red-clad Chiefs fans into chants of "Andy!" Andy!"
Reid, 61, won a Super Bowl ring with the 1996 Packers while in charge of tight ends. He's been seeking one as a head coach since being hired by Philadelphia in 1999. The Eagles lost in their only trip to the big game after the 2004 season.
"This is what it's all about," Reid said. "What a great team, great coaches. Appreciate every bit of it."
Kansas City, an original AFL franchise, won the final Super Bowl before the full merger, beating Minnesota in 1970. Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt even coined the phrase Super Bowl.
Now the Hunt family can add a Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Lamar Hunt Trophy earned with the AFC crown.
"It's a beautiful trophy," Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. "I'm so happy for our players, coaches and fans. And especially Andy Reid. Nobody deserves this trophy more than Andy Reid."
San Francisco went 4-12 in 2018 and Shanahan was on something of a hot seat this season. He came close to a ring once again, but down the stretch the Niners couldn't slow the no-huddle attack at which Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, Williams and all the other Chiefs excel.
"We have heart," Mahomes said. "We never give up and those guys around us, the leaders on the team , have that mindset that we never give up."