Instant Reaction – Key Plays in Super Bowl LVII

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

Super Bowl LVII was everything it was supposed to be with the Chiefs number one pass offense against the Eagles number one pass defense that had the 3rd most sacks in the regular season in NFL history.  You had the AP MVP Patrick Mahomes against dual threat Jalen Hurts.  Altogether, we were waiting for fireworks and that’s exactly what we got.

The Chiefs managed to eke out the win 38 to 35 in what will be a hotly debated game, but for now, we’ll give you the keys plays from Super Bowl LVII.

First Half

  • In the Eagles opening drive, Jalen Hurts completed 4 of 5 passes for 54 yards that went 75 yards on 11 plays and ended with Hurts running for a one-yard touchdown.  It took 4:51 minutes and was exactly according to script for the Eagles.  The Eagles didn’t trail until there was only 1:53 left in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Chiefs immediately answered with a Mahomes to Travis Kelce touchdown.  The Eagles were in Cover-1 against the Chiefs’ 11 personnel, and cornerback Darius Slay and safety Marcus Epps were matched up with Kelce and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the right side. Kelce’s motion inside put Epps instead of Slay on Kelce, and Epps couldn’t cover him.
  • The Chiefs had a solid drive to the Philadelphia 24-yard line with 2:32 left in the first quarter, but on 4th-and-3, Andy Reid decided to kick a field goal and Harrison Butker doinked the 42-yard attempt, leaving the game tied.
  • Hurts hit A.J. Brown on a perfect 45-yard touchdown pass, with the Chiefs defense completely losing site of the ball.  Everyone was talking about Hurts beating teams with his legs, but firing on all cylinders downfield was going to be a problem for the Chiefs.
  • With 9:48 left in the first half, the Chiefs’ defense had a huge play with the Eagles driving with the lead.  Hurts flat out dropped the ball and the Chiefs had a 36-yard scoop and score touchdown.  Seeing as how the game boiled down to a field goal, this was an absolutely critical play, particularly with the Eagles driving and in line to blow the game open.
  • In all, the Eagles completely dominated time of possession in the first half, giving Mahomes and the Chiefs only about minutes with the ball.

Second Half

  • The Chiefs had a 10-play 75-yard drive to open the second half over 5:30 which made it a one score game and set the stage for one of the best half’s of football ever played in a Super Bowl (next to the New England Patriots comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, of course).
  • Kadarius Toney had an amazing 65-yard punt return with 10:33 left in the 4th quarter that resulted in a touchdown and an 8-point lead, the largest lead the Chiefs would hold in the game.  It was also the longest punt return in Super Bowl history, beating the Jordan Norwood pf the Denver Broncos and his 61-yard punt return against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.  Seeing as how the Chiefs had just taken a 1-point lead less than 2 minutes prior, this really forced the Eagles to focus on passing the ball on offense.
  • Of course, focusing on passing the ball wasn’t a problem as Hurts hit DeVonta Smith for a 45-yard reception with 5:45 left in the 4th quarter and then topped it off by running in a 2-Point Conversion, tying the game.
  • And of course, we can say all we want about the Chiefs ability to move the ball into the redzone with just over 2 minutes left in the game, on a critical 3rd down, a hotly debated defensive holding call on James Bradberry gave the Chiefs a 1st down.  We’ll save the debate for another article, but it certainly was a turning point in the game as it allowed the Chiefs to milk the clock down for Butker to hit a 27-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
  • Regardless of how you feel about the holding penalty, there’s no doubt that the Chiefs made significant adjustments at halftime leading to a second half where the flipped the script on time of possession, having a little over 16 minutes, almost double what they had in the first half, and managed to outscore the Eagles 24 to 11.  Mahomes had his best Super Bowl performance ever with a passer rating of 131.8.