Pat Mahomes, Travis Kelce lead Chiefs to Super Bowl win

LAS VEGAS — The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, capping off a thriller in Las Vegas that saw several lead changes in the second half before ending in just the second Super Bowl to go to overtime.

The Chiefs will bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the second year in a row and the third time in five years after quarterback Patrick Mahomes rallied his team which had been dominated by San Francisco in the first half.

“What a game, right? It could have gone either way,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters. “I feel fortunate to have been on the positive side.”

The Chiefs’ win cemented coach Reid and Mahomes’ team as the NFL’s new dynasty.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” Reid said. “I get asked so many times, ‘Is it a dynasty?’ I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys you have the thesaurus, you figure it out.”

Mahomes was named MVP.

The game started slowly with the two defenses dominating and each team making mistakes. The 49ers got off to a 10-0 start and were up by a touchdown at halftime.

In the midst of that fast San Francisco start, cameras caught what looked like an angry sideline confrontation between Reid and star tight end Travis Kelce.

Reid said it only looked worse because he didn’t see Kelce approaching him, so he was knocked off balance.

“Cheap shot, but that’s all right” Reid joked after the game. “He was really coming over, ‘Just put me in, I’ll score, I’ll score. So that’s really what it was. I love that.”

The 49ers were slowed by a slew of injuries.

Early in the game, linebacker Dre Greenlaw slipped while jogging onto the field after a commercial break and was carted off the field for a reported Achilles injury.

In the third quarter, wide receiver Deebo Samuel went out with a hamstring injury, marking the Niners’ second injury on the night.

With about 2½ minutes left in the third, guard Jon Feliciano joined his teammates in the blue tent, prompting an injury timeout. In overtime, tight end George Kittle momentarily left the field with a shoulder injury. 

The 49ers pulled ahead with kicker Jake Moody’s 27-yard field goal, which gave San Francisco a 22-19 lead in overtime.

Minutes later, Mahomes’ 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman ended in a 25-22 Kansas City victory.

Sunday’s win had a similar vibe to the 2020 Super Bowl when the Chiefs staged a dramatic rally to stun San Francisco. All three of the Chiefs’ recent Super Bowl wins came after being down 10 points.

The loss marked another heartbreaking end for the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan.

In addition to coughing up two-score leads to the Chiefs in Super Bowls, the 49ers also blew a 10-point lead to the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 NFC title game.

“I hurt the most for the players,” Shanahan said. “I can’t tell you guys how long it takes to get here and just how long an NFL season is, going through January and all the way into February. So, our guys, I hurt for the most.”

The back-to-back Super Bowl champion Chiefs accomplished a feat not done since the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers in 2004 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 for consecutive championships.

Super Bowl 58 had been a long-awaited rematch, prompting some to wonder whether this game serves as a prophecy for the November election, during which President Joe Biden is expected to face former President Donald Trump.

The prophecy also mentioned how pop star Taylor Swift debuted a new album four years ago, and she recently announced a new album dropping in April.

Swift, who made the (approximately) 13-hour trip from Tokyo, served as cheer captain for her boyfriend Kelce.

Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after defeating the San Francisco 49ers during the 2024 Super Bowl on Feb. 11, 2024 in Las Vegas.
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Sunday.Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Still, Kelce didn’t have the night of his career.

Just before the end of the first half, Kelce, arguably the greatest tight end of all time, only had a single catch for 1 yard. But he came alive after halftime and ended up with 9 catches for 93 yards.

He came through with one the biggest plays of OT, hauling in a 7-yard catch on second-and-7 from the San Francisco 10. Mahomes found Hardman on the next play, for the walk-off win.

David K. Li reported from Las Vegas and Rebecca Cohen reported from New York City.

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