(NBC) – Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs, otherworldly quarterback, overcame several mistakes to lead the Chiefs to a 31-20 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers.
It was the 222nd career victory for Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who before Sunday had been the coach with the most wins without a championship in NFL history. The Chiefs (15-4) hadn’t been back to the Super Bowl since they won the fourth Super Bowl 50 years ago in January 1970.
Mahomes threw two costly interceptions and was off-target on other pass attempts. But he used his astonishing athleticism to avoid the pass rush of the 49ers’ defense, which was ranked No. 1 in the league, to amass 286 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions on 26-of-41 passing at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
Mahomes’ unusual combination of elusiveness and sheer strength was shown perhaps no more starkly than on a run late in the Chiefs’ first touchdown drive. Mahomes scrambled around the right end for 10 yards to the 49ers’ 4-yard line — where he was clobbered by San Francisco safety Jamie Ward, sending the ball flying out of bounds.
It was Ward who needed medical attention as Mahomes popped back to his feet.
Three plays later, Mahomes — the Chiefs’ leading rusher during the playoffs — pivoted, faked a pitchout and dived into the end zone from the 1, capping a 15-play, 75-yard drive.
But it wasn’t smooth sailing for the Chiefs. The 49ers (15-4) limited Kansas City to 156 yards in the first half, only 104 of them through the air. Then, with the 49ers ahead, 13-10, Mahomes threw an interception to the 49ers’ Fred Warner on the Chiefs’ first possession of the second half, which quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers’ offense turned into a 55-yard touchdown drive to go ahead by 10 points.
The Chiefs trailed, 20-10, going into the fourth quarter. Then Mahomes — the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 and its seventh-leading passer in 2019 — took over. He needed just 2 minutes, 40 seconds to drive the Chiefs 83 yards, cutting the deficit to 20-17, with a short touchdown pass to Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs held the 49ers and got the ball back at their 40-yard line with about 5 minutes to play. In another blitz-like drive, he marched the Chiefs 60 yards in 2 minutes and 26 seconds, completing the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Amen Williams to go ahead, 24-20.
With less than three minutes to play, Garoppolo couldn’t match Mahomes’ heroics. The Chiefs got the ball back and scored again on a 65-yard run by Damien Williams, sending the Chiefs — who were trounced by Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, 35-10, in the first Super Bowl in 1967 — heading home Sunday night with the NFL championship trophy named for Lombardi.