By ROB MAADDI (AP Pro Football Writer)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes was magical when the Kansas City Chiefs desperately needed him to pull off another Super Bowl comeback.
Playing on an injured ankle, Mahomes threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and scrambled 26 yards on the go-ahead drive before Harrison Butker kicked a 27-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to give the Chiefs a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
The Chiefs won their second NFL title in four years and two-time NFL MVP Mahomes earned his second Super Bowl MVP award.
“I thought guys just embraced the moment,” Mahomes said about rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit. “In that first half, we were playing and doing some good stuff, but I felt like the guys were getting consumed by everything around us.”
Mahomes and Jalen Hurts excelled in the first Super Bowl matchup featuring two Black starting QBs. But Mahomes turned it up in the second half after reaggravating a sprained right ankle.
“It took everybody to win the game,” Mahomes shouted as red and yellow confetti littered the field.
Coach Andy Reid, who couldn’t win the big game in Philadelphia, beat his former team to earn his second ring with Mahomes and the Chiefs.
“We wanted to get this so bad for him,” Travis Kelce said. “His legacy in Philly lives on forever. … There’s a lot of pride in knowing that he’s had success in two different organizations, but this was the better one.”
With the score tied at 35-35, the Eagles tried to let the Chiefs score a touchdown with under two minutes left so they could get the ball back after a defensive holding call on cornerback James Bradberry on third-and-8 gave Kansas City a first down. But Jerick McKinnon slid at the 2, forcing the Eagles to use their last timeout.
“It was holding. I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide,” Bradberry said.
After Mahomes took a knee twice, Butker nailed his kick, sending thousands of red-clad Chiefs fans into a frenzy.
“It feels amazing just to see the confetti,” said Butker, who missed a 42-yarder in the first quarter. “I just tried to focus on one kick and focusing on the process.”
The Chiefs won their second Super Bowl following the 2019 season, 50 years after the first one. Mahomes led them back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco in that one. It took just three years to get another Lombardi.
Chiefs fans were outnumbered in the stadium, but did their part to silence the boisterous Philly fans with the tomahawk chop chant.
Down 24-14 with a limping Mahomes, the Chiefs (17-3) followed up Rihanna’s electrifying halftime performance with a sensational offensive outburst.
Mahomes, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the divisional round, hurt it again on a 3-yard scramble late in the second quarter. He limped off the field but showed no ill effects on Kansas City’s next possession.
“I knew it was pretty bad when he got up limping but I knew it wasn’t gonna be bad enough to where he was gonna pull himself off the field,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. “If we would’ve pulled him off, I would’ve had to fight him. He would’ve probably fought me. And so it wasn’t worth entertaining.”
Mahomes slipped — several players lost their footing on the natural grass surface — in the pocket yet somehow regained his balance and scrambled 14 yards to the Eagles 4, setting up Isiah Pacheco’s 1-yard TD run that cut the deficit to 24-21.
Mahomes then tossed a 5-yard TD pass to a wide-open Kadarius Toney to give Kansas City its first lead, 28-27, early in the fourth quarter.
After the Chiefs tightened up their defense, forcing Philly to punt, Toney returned a line-drive kick 65 yards to the Eagles 5 for the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.
On third down from the 4, Mahomes connected with Skyy Moore to extend their lead to 35-27. Moore also was wide open on the play.
But the Eagles wouldn’t go away.
Hurts hit DeVonta Smith for a 45-yard gain to the Chiefs 2 and ran in for his third score of the game. He also ran in for the 2-point conversion to tie it at 35-35 with 5:15 to go.
As “Fly! Eagles! Fly!” reverberated throughout the stadium, Mahomes and the Chiefs went back to work.
The 27-year-old Mahomes became the third player to win his second NFL MVP award before age 28. He also became the youngest QB to start three Super Bowls. Mahomes finally broke the MVP curse, becoming the first player to win the Super Bowl the same season after nine straight players lost.
Just five years after winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, the Eagles (16-4) came close with a different coach and new quarterback. Nick Sirianni replaced Doug Pederson in 2021 and Hurts took over for Carson Wentz in late 2020.
Hurts set a Super Bowl record with 70 yards rushing and tied a record with three rushing scores. He also threw for 304 yards and one TD.
“We use this pain, we use this failure to motivate us so we can make it a strength,” Sirianni said.
Hurts, who missed two games late in the season with a shoulder injury, had TD runs of 1 and 4 yards in the first half along with a 45-yard TD pass to A.J. Brown.
But Hurts also made a rare mistake when he fumbled without being hit while scrambling away from pressure. Nick Bolton picked it up and raced 36 yards for a score that made it 14-14. Hurts had just eight turnovers this season, six picks and two fumbles.
Mahomes finished 21 of 27 for 182 yards with three TDs and no turnovers. He ran for 44 yards.
Mahomes connected with Kelce on an 18-yard TD pass in the right corner to tie it at 7-7 in the first quarter. The Chiefs’ All-Pro tight end and Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce became the first set of brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl.
Their mom, Donna Kelce, wore a half-red, half-green jersey with No. 87 on the front for Travis and No. 62 on the back for Jason. She sat in a suite between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Damar Hamlin.
Eagles fans turned State Farm Stadium into a sea of green, chanting “E-A-G-L-E-S!” and singing the team’s fight song after each score. But they left disappointed.
Reid won more games than any coach in team history during 14 seasons with the Eagles but the one knock against him was that he couldn’t win the big one. Reid finally earned his ring in his seventh season with the Chiefs. They went back the next year and lost to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Reid, who turns 65 next month, ended any speculation about his potential retirement.
“If they’ll have me, I’ll stick around,” he said.
The first Super Bowl involving both No. 1 seeds since the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in February 2018 lived up to its hype. It was the third-highest scoring Super Bowl and the Eagles scored the most points by a losing team.
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi
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