Super Bowl LIV
The Super Bowl was received with plenty of anticipation as thousands gathered to watch the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs, millions more looking on from their homes across the country.
The 49ers won the coin toss but chose to defer, which allowed the Chiefs to start with the ball at the top of the first half. San Francisco started quite aggressively, giving Kansas City little choice but to punt the opening drive, garnering 62 yards in 10 plays. This featured a phenomenal 32-yard run by 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel. The drive was completed by Robbie Gould, whose 38-yard field goal gave San Francisco a 3 – 0 lead.
Kansas City responded, managing 75 yards in 15 plays, with Patrick Mahomes completing five of his seven attempted passes, totaling a considerable 40 yards, and Damien Williams rushing four times for 35 yards. The Chiefs faced 3rd and 11 on the 49ers’ 15-yard line and Mahomes scrambled across the first down line, but a hit from 49ers safety Jimmie Ward saw him fumble the ball. This resulted in the ball rolling backward and out-of-bounds which negated the first down, resulting in 4th and 1. A 4-yard run by Williams, however, was enough to convert the fourth down, and two plays later, Mahomes scored a 1-yard touchdown with just over half a minute left in the first quarter to make the score 7 – 3 in favor of the Chiefs.
The game remained tight in the second quarter. The second play of the quarter saw Kansas City’s defensive back Bashaud Breeland intercept 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass, resulting in the Chiefs getting their first down on their 44-yard line. Kansas City took full advantage of San Francisco’s mistake, and on the next play, Mahomes pulled out a 28-yard pass to Sammy Watkins. From this, the Chiefs began a 43-yard drive ending in a well-delivered 31-yard field goal by Harrison Butker. Extending Kansas City’s lead to 10 – 3.
However, the 49ers responded with fervor, and in just seven plays, the team moved the ball 80 yards, with over half the plays gaining more than 10 yards each. The final play saw a pass from Garoppolo caught by fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who dove into the endzone to score a 15-yard touchdown. With five minutes remaining in the second quarter, the score was tied at 10 – 10.
A 42-yard pass by Garoppolo then seemed to put San Francisco in the red zone, but a pass interference penalty was called. As a result, the teams went into halftime with the score still locked: the fourth time in Super Bowl history that the game has been tied at the halfway point.
Because of their deferral, the 49ers kicked off the second half and drove 60 yards in nine plays, with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders catching two passes to give his team 20 yards. A 42-yard field goal, taken by Gould, gave San Francisco a 13 – 10 lead.
A well-practiced 62-yard kickoff by Mitch Wishnowsky returned by Mecole Hardman for an additional 15 yards brought the ball to the Chiefs’ 9-yard line, but a series of well-aimed passes by Mahomes put Kansas City back on their 46-yard line. However, an interception by San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner returned the ball to the 49ers’ 45-yard line. Garoppolo responded with equally accurate passing, with San Francisco’s drive ending in a catch by Juszczyk on the Chiefs’ 1-yard line and a run by Raheem Mostert into the end zone. With neither side gaining much distance in the remaining two and a half minutes, the 49ers ended the third quarter having extended their lead to 20 – 10.
The fourth quarter began with more back-and-forth. A drive, thanks to the efforts of Tyreek Hill and Williams along with Mahomes, got the ball from Kansas City’s 46-yard line to San Francisco’s 23-yard line. However, an interception by Tarvarius Moore stopped the Chiefs’ momentum, and Wishnowsky’s punt caught by Hardman, put the ball at Kansas City’s 17-yard line. With just about nine minutes left to play, the Chiefs fought back. Their following drive saw them gain 62 yards in 10 plays. A few plays later, a pass interference by Moore resulted in the ball moving to the 49ers’ 1-yard line, where a touchdown was quickly scored by Travis Kelce. Bringing the score to 20 – 17, the Chiefs closed the margin to just three points.
After a San Francisco punt, Kansas City drove 65 yards in seven plays, which saw a 38-yard pass from Mahomes to Watkins. On the 49ers’ 5-yard line, Mahomes then threw to Williams, who stretched to get the ball over the line before going out of bounds. Although the margin was minuscule, the call was upheld after close review, making the score 24 – 20, granting the Chiefs a 4-point lead.
Although the 49ers put in a strong drive in response, Garoppolo made several incomplete passes before being sacked. This meant a turnover with just over a minute and a half left in the game. For the next two plays, the ball was carried by Williams who, on the second play, made a fantastic 38-yard run into the endzone for another touchdown, increasing Kansas City’s lead to 31 – 20 with a little over a minute left to play.
An interception by Kendall Fuller on San Francisco’s drive meant that the Chiefs could run out the clock and secure their first Super Bowl in half a century, and their second Super Bowl overall.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Patrick Mahomes received the title of MVP, becoming the youngest quarterback to ever do so. In total, he completed 26 passes out of 42 attempts for a grand total of 286 yards, in which there were two touchdowns and two interceptions. Additionally, he rushed for a 29 yards and a touchdown. Truly, a great performance.