MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – As only he can do, Patrick Mahomes turned what was the worst game of his life into the greatest moment of his short career and the first Super Bowl win of coach Andy Reid’s long NFL tenure.
“There’s going to be some bourbons flowing in Kansas City tonight,” Reid said after the Chiefs posted the second-biggest fourth-quarter comeback in Super Bowl history, scoring 21 points in the final 6 minutes to turn a 10-point deficit into a 31-20 victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.
After opening the second half with two interceptions in a span of eight passes, the 24-year-old Mahomes did it again. The guy who led the Chiefs back from playoff deficits of 24-0 and 10-0 came alive, throwing touchdown passes on the next two drives to pull ahead. Meanwhile, the defense that was overhauled after last year’s AFC Championship Game loss came up with a three-and-out when it was 20-17 49ers, plus Frank Clark’s fourth-down sack with the Chiefs ahead 24-20 with 1:33 left.
“There was no doubt in my mind,” defensive lineman Chris Jones said. “We got [Super Bowl] MVP Pat on our side. They’re going to make a movie about this. We shocked the world and we’re coming back next year for a repeat.”
Reid downplayed the importance of the victory for himself. He said it meant more to him that the Hunt family got to raise the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in 50 years. Then he mentioned the fans and then the players, saying, “I’d coach another 20 years if I could have guys like this every year.”
When forced to finally say what it meant to add a ring to the résumé of the sixth-winningest record in NFL history, Reid relented and said: “I’m really excited. But you win one and you want to get another one. We’ll enjoy this one for a little bit and start working on the next one.”
Mahomes said he had two goals when he came to Kansas City. Return the Lamar Hunt Trophy to the Chiefs by winning the AFC. And handing the Lombardi Trophy to Reid.
“He’s one of the best coaches ever,” Mahomes said. “He doesn’t need the trophy to prove that. But this eliminates any doubt.”
Apparently, there was no doubt on the Chiefs sideline when Mahomes’ first of two ugly interceptions led to a San Francisco touchdown and a 20-10 deficit with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
“We’re never out of it,” said Kansas City linebacker Damien Wilson, a former Gopher. “We were down 24-0 against Houston, 10-0 against Tennessee. We’re a very clutch team. But I will say this was a little close for me.”
Mahomes had gone 164 postseason passes without a pick when he threw two awful ones.
“The first one, I was supposed to keep sprinting out and I stopped, and that kept the linebacker [Fred Warner] from moving out of the way,” Mahomes said. “Then I hit him right between the 5 and the 4 [on his jersey].”
Mahomes’ second interception was a bad pass to Tyreek Hill in the red zone. He said he purposely threw the ball behind Hill to try and slow him down as a defender from the front side closed. But the ball bounced off Hill’s hands and was picked by Tarvarius Moore.
At that point, Mahomes’ passer rating was 49.1. His career low is 62.7.
“The third quarter didn’t go the way I wanted,” he said. “But I believed in my defense to get stops, and they did.”
Mahomes was too nervous in the first quarter, misfiring on several early throws. He was too conservative in the second quarter as the 49ers designed their game plan to take away the deep ball. And he was flat-out too awful in the third quarter.
But Mahomes said the tide turned on his first deep-ball completion — a 44-yarder to a wide-open Hill on third-and-15 with seven minutes left and the Chiefs down 10.
The 49ers were in trouble after that. Mahomes drove the Chiefs 83 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive with a 1-yard TD to Travis Kelce.
After the 49ers’ three-and-out, Mahomes accounted for all 65 yards on the go-ahead touchdown. He completed all five of his passes for 60 yards and a 5-yard touchdown to Damien Williams while running twice for 5 yards. Overall, Mahomes went 26-for-42 for 286 yards and a 78.1 passer rating.
“This is how [the Chiefs] have played all year,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “They don’t do it every drive, but they can score very fast. You know it’s only a matter of time, and we gave them too many opportunities at the end.”
Mahomes’ counterpart, Jimmy Garoppolo, had a 69.2 rating and two interceptions, including one the Chiefs turned into a field goal during a 10-10 tie in the first half.
For Mahomes, he becomes the second-youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl behind Ben Roethlisberger, who was 23 when Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL. For Reid, he is 1-1 as a head coach in Super Bowls after losing with the Eagles 15 years ago.
“Coach Reid might be the hardest-working guy in the league,” Kelce said. “He’s in the office at like 3:30 a.m. Sometimes, I never see his car move. You really want to play for and win a Super Bowl for a guy like that.”