On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years, propelled by a fourth-quarter comeback where they outscored the 49ers 21-0. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named the game’s MVP despite having one of his more shaky performances of the season, so was he really the right choice? Ashton Stansel and Jorge Eckardt debate.
I think Mahomes was the right choice. He definitely had a shaky start to the game, throwing two interceptions and generally failing to get his team off the ground, but that didn’t matter when it was important: What mattered at the end of the game was that Mahomes took the ball in the fourth quarter and made magic happen. His offense scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, largely on the back of Mahomes, who was exceptional.
Meanwhile at Disney World… pic.twitter.com/4UWH96uRuR
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 3, 2020
The quarterback doesn’t always have to win the MVP, as we saw last year with Julian Edelman after a rather uninspiring performance from Tom Brady. Yes, Mahomes was the quarterback behind the comeback, but he would not have been able to do so without the excellence of his supporting cast. The big completion to Tyreek Hill on third and long was thanks to a crispy route from Hill that got San Francisco’s Jimmie Ward spinning in circles and left him wide open. The big completion to Sammy Watkins on the next drive was thanks to Watkins taking advantage of the slower Richard Sherman and beating him off the line of scrimmage. Most of all, Damien Williams was able to do something not many players have been able to do against the 49ers all season, and that’s run the ball. San Francisco had given up just 41.5 yards per game in the postseason; Williams finished the game with 104 yards all by himself. That included two touchdowns: the 38-yard touchdown rush to ice the game and one of Mahomes’ two passing touchdowns. Arguments could be made for Hill or Watkins with their two big plays accompanied by overall very solid games, but Williams was the true MVP of this game. San Francisco dared Kansas City to run the ball to try to prevent Mahomes from beating them, and Williams did a great job of making them pay.
38-YARD TOUCHDOWN. #ChiefsKingdom
— NFL (@NFL) February 3, 2020
While the plays and routes from receivers like Hill and Watkins were impressive, a lesser quarterback wouldn’t have been able to pull them off. Mahomes came back from a very rough first three quarters and threw good footballs for good plays to good receivers. Given that you can’t give the MVP to the whole offense, it seems fitting that Mahomes, who was the centerpiece, receive it. Hill, Watkins and Williams were good all game, but that didn’t stop their team from being significantly down in the fourth quarter. And while their routes were good, it was the throws that made the plays happen. What did turn that game around and cause a victory for the Chiefs was Mahomes’ resurgence. He was what turned the game around and created openings for the Chiefs to win.
Mahomes’ errors earlier in the game can’t be ignored. He threw an absolute duck to Fred Warner about two-thirds of the way through the third quarter and then another pick on a pass that was thrown well behind Hill, causing it to go off his hands and into the hands of Tavarius Moore early in the fourth. The first pick led to seven San Fransisco points, and the second one took what would have most likely been three points off the board, seeing as they were already in field goal range. He also fumbled the ball twice, but he was just lucky enough to fall on one and have the other go out of bounds. Mahomes just didn’t have a typical Mahomes day. Did he make it work? Yes, but his success was because of the excellent play of the people around him, not the other way around. Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the league, but the credit for Sunday should go to his supporting cast.
Ashton Stansel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.