KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in nearly two decades, the NFL has a repeat Super Bowl champion — and it took Patrick Mahomes' magic in overtime to get there.
Mahomes ran a naked bootleg option on fourth-and-1 to extend the Chiefs’ drive in overtime after the 49ers had taken a three-point lead in overtime.
Nine plays later, he threw the first walk-off touchdown in Super Bowl history, a 3-yard touchdown to Mecole Hardman Jr. with three seconds left in the first overtime period.
Ballgame, Chiefs — and it felt inevitable.
Before the drive, “[Mahomes] was like, ‘Come on, we’re going to go score,’” said rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice, who had six catches for 39 yards. “That was it. We all felt when he said that, for them to kick a field goal and us to be able to have the ball in our hands, we knew we were in control.”
The score delivered a 25-22 win for the Chiefs, who have now won three Lombardi trophies in the last five seasons and became the first back-to-back champions since New England repeated in 2003-04.
“It’s even better the second time and the first time felt pretty (darn) good,” said safety Justin Reid, who had nine tackles and a half-sack in the win.
Mahomes finished 34 of 46 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also led Kansas City with 66 yards rushing in becoming the second-youngest quarterback to win three Super Bowl championships.
With a chance to cement a dynasty in Super Bowl LVIII, Kansas City’s first half Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was defined by missed opportunities and its second half started out with mistake after mistake.
San Francisco made enough gaffes on special teams to give the Chiefs a chance in the second overtime game in Super Bowl history.
Before halftime, the offense failed to cash in after an early turnover, fumbled away the ball inside San Francisco’s 10-yard line and got tricked for a touchdown in falling behind 10-3 at halftime.
Mahomes opened the second half with a botched quick pitch to Isiah Pacheco followed two plays later by his first interception of the postseason.
“When you get behind like that, you just have to keep fighting and doing the small things, right?” said linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who had four tackles.
When it mattered most in OT, Mahomes did everything right, going 8 of 8 for 42 yards with a touchdown and also adding two carries for 27 yards, including the game-saving fourth-down conversion.
“It was just Patrick being Patrick and he did it again,” Justin Reid said.
Mahomes also led a game-tying drive after San Francisco took the lead 19-16 with 1:53 remaining.
He finished 5 of 8 for 58 yards and scrambled twice for 6 yards in putting Kansas City in position for Harrison Butker’s 29-yard field goal to force overtime with 3 seconds left.
“It’s been an amazing five-year run,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said.
Hunt’s father, Lamar, founded the Chiefs, and his mother, Norma, who died last June, had attended every Super Bowl before her death.
REID ADDRESSES KELCE BUMP: With Travis Kelce off the field, the Chiefs fumbled away a golden scoring opportunity in the second quarter, and the fiery All-Pro tight end was ticked.
The broadcast caught Kelce's reaction to Isiah Pacheco's second-quarter fumble and a heated exchange that ensued with Andy Reid.
Kelce was spotted screaming in Reid's face and bumping the future Hall of Fame coach, who stumbled sideways a few steps.
But Reid chose not to overreact to the incident after the game.
“He loves to play the game and he wants to help his team win,” Reid said. “It’s not a selfish thing. That’s not what it is, and I understand that. ... As much as he bumps into me, I get after him and we understand that. He just caught me off balance.”
Several teammates said Kelce was among the most passionate players who spoke during a team meeting Saturday night. He insisted that the Chiefs — who were not favored by Vegas' sportsbooks to win any of their final three postseason games, including the Super Bowl — are never underdogs.
Mahomes and defensive tackle Chris Jones also addressed the team during that meeting.
SF’S LESS-THAN-SPECIAL TEAMS: Late in the third quarter, punter Tommy Townsend boomed his fifth punt of the game, which came down surreptitiously on 49ers cornerback Isaiah Oliver’s foot.
Return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud III alertly tried to secure the ball after the unlucky bounce, but he couldn’t corral before Kansas City cornerback Jaylen Watson arrived and dove on the ball.
The Chiefs hadn’t led yet in the game with the 49ers winning the field-position battle and the offense bogged down.
That changed one play after the special-teams turnover when Patrick Mahomes lobbed a 16-yard touchdown to a wide-open Marquez Valdes-Scantling up the seam for a 13-10 lead, Kansas City’s first in a defensive slugfest of a game.
San Francisco retook the lead with a 12-play, 75-yard march capped by Brock Purdy’s 10-yard touchdown to Jauan Jennings, who joined Nick Foles as the second player to throw for and catch a touchdown in a Super Bowl game.
Kicker Jake Moody drove his extra-point try low, allowing linebacker Leo Chenal to get a hand on it and keep it a three-point game.
Those two errors kept Kansas City within striking distance.
EARLY TURNOVER: San Francisco was humming on the opening drive.
The 49ers had three consecutive first downs before an off-tackle run by Christian McCaffrey to the right edge.
Defensive tackle Mike Pennel, who stepped up in Derrick Nnadi’s absence, got his paw on the ball and pried it loose with help from linebacker Leo Chenal.
Defensive end George Karlaftis dove on the free-rolling ball and won a wrestling match, but the Chiefs weren’t able to take advantage of the early turnover when the offense went three-and-out.
SUPER-BOWL RECORD BOOT(S): Thirty years after Buffalo kicker Steve Christie hammered a 54-yard field goal in the first quarter of Super Bowl XXVIII, 49ers rookie Jake Moody broke his Super Bowl record with a 55-yard bomb on the second play of the second quarter.
Moody’s kick, which perfectly split the uprights, provided the first points in a surprisingly defense-dominated game.
But his record didn’t last long.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker connected from 57 yards away — thanks to a slick hold by Tommy Townsend — with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
Moody’s field goal, which came at the 14:48 mark in the second quarter, lasted less than 25 minutes of game time.
He later added a 53-yard field goal as well.
SPEAKING OF DEFENSE: Kansas City totaled 16 yards and one first down on its first two drives, then narrowly converted a third-and-1 when rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice got a rare carry on a jet sweep and fumbled after a 3-yard gain.
Fellow wide receiver Justin Watson prevented a disaster with the recovery — but only momentarily.
Mahomes dropped a 52-yard dime into Mecole Hardman Jr.’s lap one play later, giving the Chiefs their first trip into 49ers territory — and deep into 49ers territory at the 9-yard line.
But Pacheco coughed the ball on a first-down run, preventing Kansas City from capitalizing on the big play.
TRICKY SHANAHAN: Approaching the red zone for the first time late in the second quarter, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan reached into his bag of tricks for a double pass.
Brock Purdy fired the ball to the left numbers for Jauan Jennings, while McCaffrey set up beyond a wall of blockers for a screen on the right numbers.
With two Chiefs closing in, Jennings whipped the ball across the field to McCaffrey, who cut inside the blocks and went untouched for a 21-yard touchdown.
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed cost Kansas City dearly on the drive.
San Francisco was facing third down before Sneed shoved Brandon Aiyuk in the face, drawing a personal foul.
Two plays later came the trick play for a touchdown and a 10-point lead.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones called the defense together on the sideline after the drive, hoping to refocus the unit.
INJURY REPORT: San Francisco linebacker Dre Greenlaw appeared to suffer an Achilles injury while trying to run onto the field in the second quarter.
He did not return to the game.
Midway through the third quarter, 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He was listed as questionable but returned the next series.
During overtime, San Francisco tight end George Kittle was spotted headed toward the locker room. He appeared to be favoring his right shoulder.
Kittle didn't remain in the locker room long, returning to the sideline during the opening drive of OT.
WAS TAYLOR SWIFT THERE?: Yes, absolutely, and of course. Would you miss the game if your boyfriend (or girlfriend) was playing in it? No, no you wouldn’t, and neither did Taylor Swift, who started dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce this past summer.
This was the 13th Chiefs game Swift attended this season.
It was Super Bowl LVIII — or 58, or 5+8=13 — and took place on Feb. 11 — or 2/11, or 2+11=13. If you know, you know. If not, that’s OK, too.