It was hardly Patrick Mahomes’ most sparkling night statistically.
In fact, the opposing team’s quarterback set a Super Bowl record and tied another.
Yet faced with a 10-point halftime deficit, with a right ankle injury still lingering, Mahomes guided the Chiefs on a comeback to win Super Bowl LVII 38-35 over the Philadelphia Eagles and stamped his name into NFL lore as one of the all-time greats.
In just his fifth season as a starter, Mahomes became the 13th starting quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls, and the 27-year-old megastar added his second Super Bowl MVP for his efforts.
Mahomes became the first player to win an NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999.
He finished the game 21-of-27 passing for 182 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the fewest passing yards for a quarterback who received Super Bowl MVP honors since Tom Brady threw just 145 in his Super Bowl debut in the 2001 season.
But in that second-half rally — shortly after he came up limping on the Chiefs’ final offensive play of the first half — Mahomes was surgical, completing 13 of 14 passes, the lone incompletion being a throw-away.
Mahomes added six carries for 44 yards, including the 26-yard scramble up the middle with less than three minutes remaining that got the Chiefs to the Philadelphia 17 and helped set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal.
Mahomes sustained a high ankle sprain against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their Jan. 21 AFC divisional round game and seemed to reinjure the ankle when tackled while scrambling with 1:33 remaining in the first half. He was seen limping when jogging off the field at halftime.
The limp was gone during the second half, the injury barely a memory.
“I told y’all this week, there was nothing that was gonna keep me off that football field,” Mahomes said upon accepting the award.
“I just want to shout out my teammates, man. We challenged each other. It took everybody to win this football game.”
Teammates like Nick Bolton, the middle linebacker who led Kansas City with nine tackles and scored on a 36-yard fumble return in the second quarter. Or Kadarius Toney, who not only caught a wide-open touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Chiefs their first lead, but then returned a punt a Super Bowl-record 65 yards to give Mahomes the shortest of short fields to work with on the next possession, just five yards.
Had the game swung the Eagles’ way, Jalen Hurts would have been the obvious pick for MVP. The do-everything quarterback ran in three TDs, tying Denver Broncos legend Terrell Davis for the Super Bowl record, and set a Super Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 70. He went 27-for-38 passing for 304 yards and a 45-yard touchdown bomb to A.J. Brown that multiple Chiefs defensive backs couldn’t defend.
Mahomes had high praise for his counterpart after the game.
“If there was any doubters left, there shouldn’t be now,” Mahomes said of Hurts. “I mean, the way he stepped up on this stage and ran, threw the ball, whatever it took for his team to win. That was a special performance that I don’t want it to get lost in the loss that they had.
“It was a special performance by him, man. You make sure you appreciate that when you look back on this game.”
In just five seasons as a starter, Mahomes improved his career playoff record to 11-3, and he finished the 2022 postseason a neat 72-for-100 for 703 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.
He also won the MVP award of Super Bowl LIV, when his Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers as he went for 286 passing yards, two touchdowns and a rushing score.
It’s still the early stages of what’s turning out to be a special career.
“He strives to be the greatest,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Without saying anything, that’s the way he works. He wants to be the greatest player ever. That’s what he wants to do and that’s the way he goes about his business. And he does it humbly, there’s no bragging.
“The great quarterbacks make everybody around him better, including the head coach. So he’s done a heck of a job.”
–Field Level Media