LAS VEGAS — Every Kansas City Chiefs player knew on the sideline what 49ers kicker Jake Moody nailing a field goal in overtime of Super Bowl LVIII meant. On the scoreboard, it signified San Francisco moving to the precipice of their sixth championship in franchise history.
But, as the simple math inequality easily proves, 15 > 6.
Patrick Mahomes took the field, his Kansas City team needing to score on its possession of overtime to keep the hopes of establishing the latest NFL dynasty alive. But to hear the Chiefs tell it, they already had the Lombardi Trophy in hands even before they actually made it official.
“If we can keep [the 49ers] to three, this game is won,” said Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, whose pressure forced an incomplete pass on third down on San Francisco’s possession in overtime.
By that time, Kansas City’s moribund offense had woken up. It went on marches of 69 and 64 yards, both taking at least 11 plays and both yielding game-tying field goals that, eventually sent the game to the extra session.
In the macro, it was obvious what Mahomes motivation was. But in the micro, Mahomes was peeved that the second game-tying drive wasn’t a game-winner, as a two-minute drill that moved the ball to the San Francisco 11-yard line only brought out a field goal after an incompletion in the end zone left only six seconds in regulation and, eventually, the decision to play for OT.
“Once we got that ball, we fell short in regulation, and we’re not going to let it do it again,” Mahomes said. “We’re going to go out there and win the game defense got the stop and we were able to do that.”
It was already a done deal before Mecole Hardman caught the 3-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes with three seconds left to set off wild scenes inside Allegiant Stadium. It was a wrap well before Mahomes, who led the Chiefs with 66 yards rushing (59 after the start of the second half), converted a 4th-and-1 with a four yard run to the right.
Thirty years on from a Joe Montana-led comeback by the Chiefs over the Broncos on Monday Night Football game that prompted the phrase “Montana Magic,” it was fait accompli that “Mahomes Mastery” would win the game that would officially usher in the league’s next dynasty.
“How much confidence is there in the world? Whatever that is, that’s what we have in him. The man has done it time and time again,” Hardman said of Mahomes. “I think he has proved himself in those situations that he’s so calm under pressure and he makes the right decisions. He knows what to do, even when he’s running with his feet or struggling to make it in a throw. He’s one of the best I’ve seen in those pressure moments like that and I wouldn’t rather have anyone else in those type of moments.”