Super Bowl LVII between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs surely lived up to the hype of a Super Bowl. The game had a lot of points, multiple lead changes, and a late score that decided the game.

Outside of subpar sod that led to poor field conditions, it’s hard to have complaints. So how did the Chiefs make sure they ended up on top for their second Super Bowl win in the last four years?

Keys to Kansas City’s win in Super Bowl LVII

In such a tight game, the Chiefs needed a lot of things to go right for them to win Super Bowl LVII.

If a few plays went differently, it could have been the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. Let’s take a closer look at what the Chiefs did well and the anatomy of Kansas City’s win in Super Bowl LVII.

Steady running game

The Chiefs have never been accused of being the most consistent rushing team. But they were the far more efficient rushing team in Super Bowl LVII, which ended up giving them a clear edge.

       

Outside of Jalen Hurts, the Eagles couldn’t get much going on the ground. However, Isiah Pacheco led the way for Kansas City, gaining 76 yards on 15 carries while Patrick Mahomes and Jerick McKinnon chipped in 44 and 34 yards, respectively.

In the end, the Chiefs gained 158 yards on the ground, averaging 6.1 yards per carry, doing much better with their rushing attack than most anticipated. 

Halftime “adjustments”

Right before halftime, it looked like Mahomes could barely walk on his injured ankle. Mahomes looked fine early in the game after being a little hobbled in the AFC Championship Game. After he appeared to roll the ankle while getting tackled right before the half, there were legitimate questions about whether Mahomes could even play in the second half. But whatever treatment he got during halftime seemed to work. 

In addition to getting a little extra time during the extended halftime show, something must have been done to help Mahomes play on his injured ankle because he showed no signs of discomfort in the second half.

He looked as good as new after halftime, leading the Chiefs to 24 points in the second half after the Kansas City offense scored just seven points in the first half. Mahomes ended the game completing 21 of his 27 passes with three touchdowns.

Not only did the MVP during the regular season win Super Bowl MVP honors but he snapped a streak of nine straight league MVPs to lose when playing in the Super Bowl.

Total efficiency

While the recovery Mahomes made in the second half was impressive, Andy Reid must have given quite a special speech in the locker room. The Chiefs trailed by 10 points at halftime, and with Mahomes hobbled, their chances were starting to look bleak.

According to analysts, the Eagles had a roughly 75% chance of winning the game at halftime.

However, the Chiefs were a completely different team in the second half, putting together the most efficient half imaginable. In the second half of the game, Mahomes threw just one incomplete pass.

On top of that, the Chiefs had no turnovers, no penalties, and didn’t allow a sack after halftime, nor did they punt the ball. In other words, they did everything they needed to do to position themselves to come back from their 10-point deficit to win.

One terrible penalty

While the Chiefs didn’t commit a penalty in the second half, it was one atrocious call that put them over the top. A defensive holding call on Philadelphia’s James Bradberry with 1:54 left essentially ended the game.

It was a borderline call at best and left the Eagles with virtually no chance. Without the penalty, the Chiefs would have gone ahead by a field goal but given the Eagles more than a minute and a half and one time out to attempt a comeback. 

Thanks to the holding call, the Chiefs had the luxury of draining the clock before kicking the go-ahead field goal.

That left the Eagles with time for just one play after getting the ball back. Of course, the Chiefs earned the victory with their play in the second half. However, a borderline penalty that didn’t need to be called put them over the top. Moreover, it made the last 90 seconds of an otherwise compelling Super Bowl anticlimactic, depriving Super Bowl LVII of the ending it deserved.

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