Chiefs RB Damien Williams deserved Super Bowl MVP
The best offense in the league prevailed over the top defense on Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs claimed Super Bowl LIV. In a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle, Andy Reid’s team outmatched Kyle Shanahan and his upstart San Francisco 49ers in a 31-20 outcome.
Here are four key takeaways from the thrilling final game of the NFL’s 100th season.
Damien Williams deserved the Super Bowl MVP
All eyes were on Patrick Mahomes ahead of Super Bowl LIV, with the expectation the Chiefs quarterback would secure the Super Bowl MVP if Kansas City won.
Mahomes did just that. Though, had bias been set aside, perhaps his teammate in the backfield, running back Damien Williams, may have collected the Pete Rozelle Trophy.
Williams played a pivotal role in Kansas City’s third comeback win of the postseason, as he rushed for 104 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown (plus one more) in the fourth quarter.
Mahomes, on the other hand, appeared shaken at times on football’s biggest stage. He tossed two interceptions, fumbled twice, and completed just 26 of his 42 passes. On the plus side, he tallied 286 yards through the air and three total touchdowns, good for a 61.6 QBR.
The superstar closed out the night holding both an individual award and the Lombardi Trophy, but Williams will go down as the unsung hero, who helped carry Kansas City to its second Super Bowl win.
Shanahan is fourth-quarter cursed
The 49ers had the game in their grasp but fell apart in the final six minutes.
Shanahan must be reeling, after he witnessed his second collapse in a Super Bowl. His first came as offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, when the New England Patriots bounced back from a 28-3 third-quarter deficit to win Super Bowl LI.
There have been 3 teams in Super Bowl history to lose a 10-point 4th quarter lead. Kyle Shanahan called the offensive plays for 2 of them.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 3, 2020
After the 10-minute mark in the 4th quarter, Shanahan’s teams were outscored a combined 46-0 (including OT of Super Bowl LI). pic.twitter.com/j1a5cGXTKu
Back then, Shanahan was criticized for his aggressive play calling with a large lead. This time around, he attempted a conservative approach, and it backfired.
He let the clock run out before halftime, when a timeout might have given the Niners a chance to put up points and break a 10-10 tie before the second quarter ended.
San Francisco added 10 points in the third quarter, but the Chiefs came surging back and scored 21 unanswered.
Remember when people used to say Reid couldn’t win big games? That narrative has shifted from the Chiefs head coach—now a Super Bowl winner—to Shanahan. Hopefully it won’t take the 49ers skipper as long as Reid (21 seasons as head coach and 222 victories) to collect his ring.
Garoppolo cracked under pressure
Former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo made his first start in a Super Bowl after he earned two titles as a backup to Tom Brady. Unfortunately for Garoppolo, it didn’t go quite as well for him under the pressure of the spotlight.
The San Francisco quarterback completed 20 of his 31 passes, but he connected on just three of 11 for 36 yards in the final quarter.
On the Niners’ second-to-last drive, trailing 24-20, Garoppolo overthrew Emmanuel Sanders on a deep ball that might have resulted in a touchdown. On the following play, on fourth-and-10, he took a sack. Kansas City scored the next possession to boost its lead to 11, then Garoppolo tossed an interception (his second of the day) on a pass intended for Deebo Samuel.
The performance went down as one of the worst by a quarterback in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, as Garoppolo registered a 2.8 rating in that period.
He and Shanahan should have a lot of reflecting to do together in the offseason.
Age is just a number
On Sunday, 24-year-old Mahomes became the youngest player to collect the trio of league MVP, Super Bowl title, and Super Bowl MVP.
He’s also the second-youngest quarterback to win an NFL championship, behind Ben Roethlisberger (23) in Super Bowl XL.
Mahomes should only get better from here, if the Chiefs can retain most of their receiving corps and bolster the defense, which struggled at times in the regular season.
Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes was 5-0 when trailing by double-digits this season, including 3-0 in the postseason. He is the first QB in NFL history to lead three double-digit comebacks in a single postseason.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 3, 2020
On a related note: shout out to Shakira, who turned 43 Sunday, and 50-year-old Jennifer Lopez. The Latina pop stars headlined one of the more entertaining halftime shows in recent memory and had the Internet buzzing over their age-defying performance.