The 100th NFL season concluded with a Super Bowl matchup of 2 of the league's best teams in the Kansas City Chiefs and San Fransisco 49ers. The Chiefs won in a game that we can draw a lot of observations from. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn't have one of his vintage performances where he is unstoppable, but was still crowned the game's MVP, the defense after getting carved up in the 3rd quarter finally buckled down, and the 49ers slowly unraveled down the stretch.
Through he's recognized as one of the best players in the game, Patrick Mahomes wasn't the unstoppable player he is throughout the first 3 and a half quarters, but still won MVP thanks to a great finish. But during those 3 quarters, he actually wasn't even close to himself. He was constantly being hurried and sacked by the 49ers' front 7. When he was able to get off a pass, he was ineffective throwing 2 picks in the second half. But in sports, finishing always matters in the end and that's what Mahomes did. Facing a 3rd&15 in the 4th, he unleashed a bomb to wide receiver Tyreek Hill that set up a touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce inside the 5. After a stop by the defense, Mahomes unleashed another big time throw. This time to Sammy Watkins who beat Richard Sherman to put the Chiefs in scoring position. Another short touchdown pass to Damien Williams this time, and the Chiefs took the lead and never looked back.
But we can also not ignore the performance of the Chiefs' defense down the stretch. After a rough start to the season, they became one of the best defenses in the league as they entered the Super Bowl. But by the 4th quarter, it was hard to see them having any effect. The 49ers' offense had been carving them up by balancing the run and the pass. But after a Mahomes' interception, the defense decided to wake up and they picked the best time possible. The last 4 possessions saw them make the most meaningful stops of the season. Last year, their defense was a big reason why they lsst in heartbreaking fashion to the Patriots in the championship game and in the offseason, they restocked bringing in defensive leaders such as Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark. Though these investments weren't cheap, they was worth every penny.
Another contribution to the Chiefs' comeback wasn't the team's play, but rather the collapse of the 49ers. Though they had a potent passing game, San Fransisco was a run-first team and though running back Raheem Mostert scored yet another touchdown in the playoffs, they stopped running the ball. When they were throwing it, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was either getting hurried or missing receivers when he had time. None of his missed throws were worse than when he missed what would've been a touchdown to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, which led to a turnover on downs. Three plays later a Williams touchdown was the dagger to what was a great turnaround.
If there was any way that the final football season of the 2010s as well as the NFL's 100th season to end, this was it. Both teams showed their potential for football's new decade in what was a hard fought Super Bowl. In the end, the Chiefs with Mahomes were too much for the 49ers. Hopefully, both teams won't disappoint in the future.