Patrick Mahomes threw a walk-off touchdown to Mecole Hardman in overtime as the Kansas City Chiefs shattered the hearts of Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers with a 25-22 victory at Super Bowl LVIII in Sunday’s thrilling Las Vegas finale.
With Taylor Swift watching on in the stands, Mahomes found a way. The Chiefs found a way. Fortune favoured the champions, ominous inevitability prevailed again and Andy Reid’s side would become the NFL’s first back-to-back champions since 2003/2004 to cement the league’s newest dynasty.
The winning drive was every bit the latest instalment of unfolding greatness from a quarterback soaring towards a place on the NFL’s Mount Rushmore of signal-callers. In overtime, Mahomes rushed to convert a fourth-and-one, threw a strike to Rashee Rice to convert on third-and-six, pitched a daring pass underneath to Travis Kelce to convert on second-and-seven, before sinking San Francisco for good with a three-yard winner to Hardman.
Kansas City had been limping. Mahomes and his offense had been stuttering, Kelce had raged in the face of his head coach amid a frustrating first half as the 49ers looked in command, without ever quite reflecting it in the scoreline. That should have been the warning sign against a Chiefs team that had swatted at mistakes and doubts all season to book their return to the Super Bowl.
Mahomes finished the game 34 of 46 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Harrison Butker kicked four field goals including a 29-yarder to send the game to overtime with three seconds left.
49ers QB Brock Purdy completed 23 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown as he was denied a crowning end to one of football’s great underdog stories as the final selection at the 2022 NFL Draft.
Mahomes threw an interception on the opening drive of the second half, having been shut out of the end zone as the Chiefs trailed 10-3 heading into the break. Butker then moved the reigning champions within four when he kicked a new Super Bowl-record 57-yard field goal, just an hour after San Francisco’s Jake Moody had broken the record himself with a 55-yard kick.
Then came the error, a Kansas City punt ricocheting off the ankle of Darrell Luter and allowing the Chiefs’ Jaylen Watson to recover at the 49ers’ 16-yard line. Mahomes punished immediately as he picked out a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 16-yard touchdown to give Kansas City their first lead of the night at 13-10.
Purdy overthrew an open Deebo Samuel at the back of the end zone on the next drive, before eventually capping a 12-play, 75-yard response with a 10-yard scoring strike to Jauan Jennings by way of multiple broken tackles from his standout wide receiver. More drama would follow when Moody’s extra point was batted down by Leo Chenal to keep it a three-point game.
The 49ers sought to capitalise as they held the Chiefs to a 24-yard Butker field goal in reply thanks to Javon Hargrave’s third-and-goal sack on Mahomes.
With 1.53 to play, rookie kicker Moody held his nerve to give the 49ers a 19-16 lead with a 53-yard field goal, before Mahomes marched the Chiefs downfield to set up Butker’s game-levelling 29-yarder to send it to overtime.
Once there, Steve Spagnuolo dared to send the pressure against Purdy and reaped the rewards as the presence of Chris Jones forced an incompletion on third-and-four to limit San Francisco to a 27-yard field goal from Moody.
It was then over to Mahomes, who embraced the pressure to orchestrate a 13-play drive during which he salvaged a second-and-13 situation to inspire the Chiefs to a historic Super Bowl title.
San Francisco 49ers
- Passing: Brock Purdy, 23/38, 255 yards, 1 TD
- Rushing: Christian McCaffrey, 22 carries, 80 yards
- Receiving: Christian McCaffrey, 8 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD
Kansas City Chiefs
- Passing: Patrick Mahomes, 34/46, 333 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Rushing: Patrick Mahomes, 9 carries, 66 yards
- Receiving: Travis Kelce, 9 catches, 93 yards
Cagey was the word for a fragmented, imperfect, penalty-heavy and defensive-driven first half, during which the 49ers assumed a stronghold even if the scoreline may not have suggested it.
The defining flash-point arrived with four minutes left in the half when wide receiver Jennings received a lateral from Purdy before tossing it back across the field to Christian McCaffrey, who strolled in for a 21-yard touchdown and a 10-0 advantage at the end of an eight-play drive.
Moody opened the scoring in between seven drives that ended in either a punt or a fumble when he split the posts with a 55-yard field goal, briefly the longest kick in Super Bowl history.
San Francisco had threatened on a slick opening drive until McCaffrey fumbled under contact from Mike Pennel and Leo Chenal, with Greek defensive end George Karlaftis on hand to recover.
Mahomes thought he had sparked the Chiefs into life when he rolled left before unleashing a 53-yard strike to Hardman to set them up at the nine-yard line, only for Isiah Pacheco to lose a fumble on the ensuing play.
The Chiefs did eventually get on the board when Butker kicked a 28-yard field goal with 20 seconds remaining in the half, a promising drive stalling following Arik Armstead’s sack of Mahomes on third-and-five.
San Francisco had earlier been dealt a major blow in the opening half when star linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered an Achilles injury while running onto the field.
|49ers 3-0 Chiefs
|Jake Moody 55-yard field goal
|49ers 10-0 Chiefs
|Jauan Jennings 21-yard TD pass to Christian McCaffrey (extra point)
|49ers 10-3 Chiefs
|Harrison Butker 28-yard field goal
|49ers 10-6 Chiefs
|Harrison Butker 57-yard field goal
|49ers 10-13 Chiefs
|Patrick Mahomes 16-yard TD pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling (extra point)
|49ers 16-13 Chiefs
|Brock Purdy 10-yard TD pass to Jauan Jennings (missed extra point)
|49ers 16-16 Chiefs
|Harrison Butker 24-yard field goal
|49ers 19-16 Chiefs
|Jake Moody 53-yard field goal
|49ers 19-19 Chiefs
|Harrison Butker 29-yard field goal
|49ers 22-19 Chiefs
|Jake Moody 27-yard field goal
|49ers 22-25 Chiefs
|Patrick Mahomes three-yard TD pass to Mecole Hardman
What did they say?
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes: “This game was a microcosm of our whole entire season. The defense kept us in there and the offense made plays when it counted. I’m proud of the guys, they kept believing. Just know that the Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid: “There was no doubting it. The guys were great. The defense played out of their mind, and the offense just kept persevering, pushing and pushing. It was beautiful.”
Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman on his game-winning TD: “I blacked out man. I forgot we actually won the game.”
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan: “I don’t care how you lose. When you lose Super Bowls, especially ones when you think you can pull it off, it hurts. When you’re in the NFL, I think every team should hurt except for one at the end. We’ve got pretty damn close but haven’t pulled it off. We’re hurting right now.”
Sky Sports NFL’s Phoebe Schecter on Brock Purdy and the 49ers: “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. They’re always on the verge, just missing that one piece. But they should be absolutely proud of what they did. Brock Purdy was in his first full year at the helm at QB. He did a phenomenal job tonight. The stage was really never too big for him. Yes, there were a couple of missed throws but he overcame that and took it overtime in his first ever Super Bowl appearance.”