Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes overcomes early struggles to deliver knockout blow
Mahomes 26 of 42, for 286 yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing TD as the Chiefs beat the 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV
By David Currie
Last Updated: 05/02/20 1:32am
"If you're the Super Bowl MVP in your worst game ever you might be pretty good."
They're the sentiments of former NFL player, and friend of Sky Sports, Ross Tucker, as Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to a stunning comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami.
Tucker had not long earlier tweeted, "Bad time for Mahomes to have his worst game ever" as the Chiefs quarterback threw his second interception early in the fourth quarter - with Kansas City already down by 10.
Mahomes had been bad. At that point, this much-vaunted passer, league MVP last year, projected to possibly be the greatest to ever play at the position, had completed just 17 of 28 passes for 166 yards, with two interceptions.
To put that into context, in his 35 games prior as Kansas City's starting quarterback, Mahomes had failed to top 200 yards on just four occasions, and one of those was the Denver Broncos game in Week Seven which he left hurt.
His last game in which he'd thrown multiple interceptions was all of 440 days ago, a 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Mahomes was on the ropes, out-fought and out-thought through three and a half quarters but, sticking with the boxing analogy, he delivered a couple of knockout blows late.
With seven minutes and 13 seconds left in the contest, the Chiefs backed up and facing 3rd and 15 from their own 35-yard line, Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for a 44-yard reception to stun San Francisco.
"The defining play of the whole entire game was that 3rd and 15, when they needed it," Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman told Sky Sports. "He hit Hill; that showed he was here and ready to win the game.
"Mahomes put the team on his back. He has been doing it all year."
Mahomes has indeed made a habit of pulling of the incredible, particularly this postseason, with Kansas City the first team to win the Super Bowl after trailing by 10 or more points in all of their playoff games.
No one will ever forget their 41 unanswered points after getting into a 24-0 hole early on in their epic 51-31 divisional round win over the Houston Texans. Mahomes didn't have to dig quite so deep this time round, but he did leave it very, very late.
After the deep ball to Hill, the Chiefs benefited from a blatant defensive pass interference call on Tarvarius Moore and Mahomes then picked out Travis Kelce down at the goal line to see Kansas City pull to within three of the 49ers.
"That turned the tide [Mahomes to Hill]," Norman stressed further. "He stung 'em, and then the huge play to beat [Richard] Sherman was the knockout."
Richard Sherman. Future Hall of Famer, the once Seattle Seahawk 'Legion of Boom' standout and the now leader of this No 1 ranked San Francisco pass defense.
Mahomes' knockout punch was delivered over his shoulders, Sherman beaten by Sammy Watkins for a 38-yard chunk, setting up a Kansas City 1st and Goal at the 10-yard line.
Three plays later, Kansas City had the lead, and Mahomes his second passing touchdown. Translation: Kansas City had a firm grip on the Super Bowl and Mahomes the MVP award.
At 24 years and 138 days old, Mahomes is the youngest player to be named NFL MVP and win a Super Bowl in their career. There's surely much, much more to follow.
Even prior to Sunday night in Miami, Mahomes was touted as the NFL's equivalent to Michael Jordan in the NBA; a once-in-a-generation type talent with the potential to finish his career firmly entrenched as the greatest ever.
There's already been favourable comparisons to greats of the game; Dan Marino, with Mahomes mirroring his rookie rise which saw him to a Super Bowl in only his second season; the maverick Brett Favre and his gunslinger ability; he's, for sure, the easiest QB on the eye since the arrival of Aaron Rodgers to the NFL over a decade ago.
Marino lost Super Bowl XIX to the 49ers and could never get back to another, Favre did win in 1997, reached another in '98 but couldn't add to his haul, while Rodgers too is still searching for a second some nine years on from his lone triumph.
Mahomes may find the road ahead just as rough but, leading a young and hungry Chiefs squad - one that is expertly coached by future Hall of Famer Andy Reid - he may also just have the GOAT Tom Brady's record six Super Bowl rings already firmly in his sights.
If Sunday was his 'worst game ever', then you wouldn't bet against him.
First though, he's off to Disney World.