Super Bowl 54: The Ultimate Recap
Eat your heart out Andy Reid! You are a Super Bowl winning coach! Time to head over to the White House and enjoy the largest fast food buffet ever created. Speaking of which, how has Andy not received a McDonald’s or Red Robin sponsorship yet? What are these marketing people doing? LET’S GO! I will even write the script for your first commercial for you:
*Pan over a field full of red and white confetti. Football players are crying and hugging their teammates. Some have their family on the field with them. Dads have their children on their shoulders. The camera pans over to a stage. They announce the Super Bowl MVP*
“The Super Bowl 54 MVP is … Andy Reid!”
*Everyone goes wild. Andy grabs the MVP trophy and holds it in the air with a giant smile on his face.*
“Andy, what are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to McDonald’s!”
*The crowd goes silent and the man holding the microphone looks confused.*
“That’s right! I am going to McDonald’s and I’m going to enjoy a double whopper cheeseburger deluxe. Maybe two! Then, I’m going to bed!”
*The crowd erupts into a loud roar, cheering on Andy and his desire to eat McDonald’s. The camera pans over Andy as he pulls a burger out of his pocket magically and takes a big bite out of it. The camera zooms onto his face and Andy winks. End of commercial.*
See? Easy! Make it Happen.
This is not an Andy Reid promotion post though. It is a Super Bowl 54 recap post. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in comeback fashion. As our current President would say, they did the state of Kansas proud:
This got me thinking, why doesn’t Missouri have an NFL team? Seems like they would be a perfect fit. Oh well, life goes on.
The Chiefs successfully came back from down 10+ points in all three of their postseason games, including down 24-0 versus the Houston Texans. That was the first quarter of that game, and by halftime, the Chiefs led 28-24. Impressive, but the Super Bowl game felt different. In the first two games, the Chiefs came out slow in the first quarter. They turned on the gas in the second quarter. After halftime? Good luck keeping up!
In the Super Bowl, the 49ers did not jump out to that large lead we were used to seeing. The Chiefs stayed with them and both teams went into the locker room tied 10-10. In my mind, it was over right there. The Chiefs are going to make their normal adjustments and will torch the 49ers in the second half. It’s just what they do! For the most part, I was wrong.
They come out of the locker room and the 49ers work the play action pass perfectly and go up 20-10. I was confused and was just watching Patrick Mahomes, trying to understand what was happening. Nick Bosa was applying pressure on almost every snap, completely obliterating Eric Fisher. Was Eric holding him on most of those snaps? Maybe. But did you really want to see a million holding flags? Everyone was complaining mid-season about too many holding penalties. So, on the biggest football stage, they let the players play. Deal with it.
Back to Patrick, he was able to step up, roll out and avoid Bosa most of the time. He was moving well and doing normal Mahomes things. When it came to getting the ball to the receiver, there was a disconnect. The second interception was all on Mahomes. Ball was way behind Tyreek Hill and Tyreek lives on speed. He is not going to be able to stop on a dime, turn his hips and snatch the ball behind him. He did his best, but it bounces off his hand and goes into the arms of Tarvarius Moore. At this moment, I was pretty convinced the moment was too big for this 3rd year QB. Once again, I was wrong.
I am going to break it down like this for you:
Part 1: Kyle Shanahan’s Fault
I quickly have to go back to the end of the first half. The 49ers defense forced the Chiefs to punt and if executed well, it could pin the 49ers deep in their own territory, maybe inside the 5. With that line of thinking, I was fine with Kyle not taking one of his three timeouts before the punt. The Chiefs run time off the clock and the ball goes into the endzone. The 49ers now have the ball at their own 20 with 59 seconds on the clock and three timeouts. Time to go to work.
Well, Kyle dials up 2 runs for 5 yards that drains the clock to 27 seconds left and they take a timeout. Then, they hit Wilson out of the backfield for 20 yards, another timeout. Finally, Jimmy G goes deep for Kittle and they connect and put the ball on the 5 yard line. Unfortunately, they call offensive PI on Kittle and with 10 seconds on the clock, the 49ers take a knee to go into the half.
I do not understand the logic behind running the ball to start the series and wasting 30+ seconds. The only thing I get out of it is a feeling that Kyle Shanahan does not trust Jimmy G with the ball in a pressure scenario. He was satisfied with going into the half with a 10-10 tie. The one shot deep to Kittle was a “what’s the worst that can happen” play, not a “I trust Jimmy to score on this drive” play. If that was the feeling, then he would have had him throw some sideline passes, a couple of deep over the middle shots and use timeouts properly, and maybe another deep throw. I bring this scenario up not because they didn’t score so that’s why they lost. I brought it up because of what happened to Jimmy late in the 4th quarter.
We are still focused on Kyle though! The 49ers just intercepted Mahomes pass that was behind Tyreek Hill. We are all caught up now! The 49ers offense takes the field and everyone is expecting the same thing, run it down their throats. At this point, the 49ers were averaging over 5 yards a carry. They were mixing in run and play action passing well, but now it’s time to impose your will on the defense. First play, 6 yard run from Mostert. Boom, here we go. Next play, pass play to hit Kittle for 12 yards. Alright, mixing it up still. Not what we expected but it worked. Then, back to the ground, 1 yard gain. That’s okay, keep hitting them. Well, for some reason Kyle didn’t trust the run game to get 9 yards on 2 more carries, so he asks Jimmy to throw it. It doesn’t work, false start, throw it again, doesn’t work, punt.
Of course, the Chiefs go down and score on their next possession that included a deep 3rd & 15 conversion that was either a breakdown in coverage or great route designs. Either way, big bust on the defense of the 49ers. Still, they have the lead 20-17 and another chance to score and put the game almost out of reach. First play, Mostert for 5 yards. Perfect, keep going. Next, a pass that was incomplete due to Chris Jones batting the ball down. It was an odd play call but maybe just an unfortunate, but good play from the defense. Next, another pass where Jimmy is pressured and the ball is thrown no where near a receiver. Punt.
Part 2: Jimmy G’s Fault
The Chiefs would go on to score again and take the lead 24-20. With just over 2 minutes on the clock, the run game could not be leaned on. Regardless of play calling, it was time for Jimmy G to prove he could carry a team to victory. The drive started out great! A 17 yard run from Mostert loosened things up and gave Jimmy some juice. He hit Kittle and Bourne for another first down. Now, what happens after that is where I have my complaints. Deebo and Bourne were targeted on 1st and 2nd down and both were missed. Chris Jones impacted the first throw, but the 2nd throw was just a wild mess. On 3rd down, he goes deep to a wide open Sanders who beat double coverage. He overthrows it by about 5 yards. That was a touchdown and the lead right there, and everyone did their job except Jimmy. On 4th down, he did not know what sport he was playing. All you could see was panic and confusion. The pressure came, he couldn’t even consider moving his concrete feet. Right after the refs blow it dead, he tosses the ball with both hands to someone. Turnover on downs.
I was going to consider giving Robert Salah some grief here, but it’s the Chiefs. You can only stop them for so long. He told his defense to sell out on the run. Goal line defense and make them punt in 3 plays. Well, it sort of works for 1st down but on 2nd down, the real Super Bowl MVP Damian Williams bumps to the outside, beats containment, and out ran everyone else. No safety to push him out of bounds. Touchdown.
That wasn’t going to stop Jimmy from trying his hardest to embarrass himself further. He went back out there and missed his first throw. The second attempt was thrown short and didn’t arch enough. He should have put it up in the air and a little deeper downfield. Instead, it’s thrown on a line, the receiver has to stop, the safety and CB come over and pick it off. A couple of kneel downs later, game over.
I said earlier, I partially blame Kyle for Jimmy’s collapse because that end of the first half debacle showed a lack of trust in Jimmy in pressure scenarios. When it came down to “score or lose” in the final 2 minutes of the game, Jimmy lost faith in himself to make the right decision. His feet were never set, he held onto the ball too long and missed open receivers. I originally thought the moment was too big for Mahomes, but it turns out it was too big for Jimmy G.
Wrap It Up
We talked a lot about how the 49ers lost the Super Bowl more than we did the Chiefs winning it. I believe that is why the Chiefs won though. The 49ers defense held down the Chiefs offense for 3 quarters and all the offense had to do was do what they did best for the entire season: run the ball.
It is a common theme with some teams when they get into big games. They get too smart for their own good. If the 49ers lost on the legs of Mostert and Coleman, I would write a totally different article praising the Chiefs for stopping an excellent run game. But they didn’t stop it. The 49ers averaged 6.4 yards per carry at the end of the game. That’s ridiculous! Kyle wanted to outsmart the Chiefs and live off of play action. It worked for a little while but when you have the lead and a running back duo that is looking unstoppable, you run the ball.
Andy Reid stuck to his game plan for 4 quarters which was let Patrick Mahomes be Patrick Mahomes. Even though he threw 2 interceptions and was missing his target, Andy kept giving him the ball when it mattered. That is trust and a QB to HC bond that Kyle and Jimmy did not have.
Congratulations to Andy, Patrick, Damian, Travis and the entire Kansas City Chiefs organization! Go eat some cheeseburgers and party so hard that the state of Kansas can hear your cheers from Missouri!
The 2020-2021 season starts now!