GLENDALE, Ariz.– As Patrick Mahomes laid on the State Farm Stadium turf and felt the familiar pain of injury, the Kansas City Chiefs’ dreams of a Super Bowl triumph came to a screeching halt.
Mahomes limped off the field and took a seat on the bench, leaning back and grimacing. Backup Chad Henne rose to his feet, grabbed a football and started warming up.
Luckily for the Chiefs, they never needed Henne — only a halftime respite for their superstar quarterback to find a way to get the job done. By the time the game ended, he’d done just that, as Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 38-35 Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles to win his second Super Bowl and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.
Mahomes threw three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, while playing on an injured ankle, to lift the Chiefs from a 10-point halftime deficit.
Mahomes’ first half was pedestrian at best and far from his typical performance, but after using the extended halftime break to receive treatment and a fresh ankle taping — and take a moment to remind his teammates of why they reached the Super Bowl — he came out a different quarterback.
The proof was in the second-half production, which wasn’t gaudy, but was exactly what the Chiefs needed to win: 13-of-14 passing, 93 yards and two crucial touchdowns that not only got the Chiefs back into the game, but gave them a fourth-quarter lead.
As Rihanna dazzled the 67,827 in attendance at State Farm Stadium, Mahomes spent time with the Chiefs’ training staff, whom Mahomes said afterward did not administer a pain-killing shot, but did help him feel right enough to return to action.
“There’s nothing that’s going to keep me off that football field,” Mahomes said during the Super Bowl LVII trophy presentation.
Isn’t that the truth. Mahomes’ guts were on full display late in the game, when he took the field following Philadelphia’s quick response to tie the game at 35. With 43 yards between Mahomes and a second Super Bowl triumph and no one to throw to, Mahomes took off down the middle of the field, running with the belief he had a defender right on his heels to the very end of his 26-yard gain. The ankle held up, just as it did in Kansas City’s AFC Championship Game win over Cincinnati that sent them to Arizona.
“It felt great until I kind of rolled it a little bit,” Mahomes said of his ankle afterward. “A lot of soreness going into halftime, was able to move it around and get taped up a little bit and go play that second half. It didn’t feel good, but I was going to leave it all out there. I’m glad it was enough for the win.”
Perhaps all the Chiefs need is doubt — in the form of a scoreboard deficit — to find their inner champion. Mahomes authored a stunning comeback in his first Lombardi Trophy-winning performance in Super Bowl LIV, and the spark he provided helped Kansas City overcome a 10-point halftime deficit in his latest triumph.
The scramble proved to be the cherry on top of Mahomes’ second Super Bowl sundae, setting up Harrison Butker for a 27-yard field goal to give the Chiefs the win.
“I wish I’d make it easier and not be down, but I feel like I play better when we are down,” Mahomes said with a slight smile. “I’ll try to do whatever I can to learn how to not get in those situations and just start fast and finish faster. But you’ll back on these games for the rest of your life. … I’m just glad I get to enjoy it with some of the best men on earth.”
Mahomes’ performance won’t stand out in the record books — he finished with a line of 21-of-27, 182 yards, three touchdowns and 44 rushing yards on six attempts — but the way in which he and the Chiefs’ offensive staff utilized their many playmakers will. Kadarius Toney played a huge role, catching a touchdown pass on an perfectly timed call along the goal line and returning a punt 65 yards to set up another score. The player on the receiving end of that touchdown — rookie receiver Skyy Moore — picked a perfect time to make his maiden voyage to the end zone.
“He grew up in a locker room,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes. “He’s seen the greats, and he strives to be the greatest. … When it’s time for the guys around them to raise their game, he helps them with that.”
Mahomes took another giant step toward that goal Sunday. His rewards: another Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl MVP to hoist for the Kansas City faithful.