MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — After a 50-year wait, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions once again, after Patrick Mahomes engineered a stirring fourth-quarter comeback Sunday to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, at a raucous Hard Rock Stadium.
It was a game of momentum swings, but the last one went to the Chiefs, who entered the fourth quarter trailing by 10 points but proceeded to score three touchdowns over the course of just 5 minutes 1 second of game clock, overwhelming a San Francisco defense that had simply been hoping to hold on to a lead.
“I mean we never lost faith — that’s the biggest thing,” Mahomes said in an on-field interview immediately after clock ran out.
Mahomes, 24, became the youngest player named Super Bowl most valuable player, one year after he had become the youngest player named league M.V.P.
Mahomes had looked shaky for much of the game, throwing two second-half interceptions as his team fell behind by 10 points. But he was picked up by his defense in the fourth quarter as they harassed San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into a series of bad throws and ineffective drives, allowing Kansas City’s offense to find its rhythm.
The comeback began with a 44-yard completion from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill on a crucial 3rd-and-15 play in the fourth quarter, and included short scoring passes to tight end Travis Kelce and running back Damien Williams. Mahomes finished the game having completed 26 of 41 passes for 286 yards, with the two touchdowns but also two interceptions. He got huge contributions from Williams (133 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns) and wide receivers Hill (105 receiving yards) and Sammy Watkins (98 receiving yards). Kelce, the team’s All-Pro tight end, scored the touchdown that followed Hill’s long catch, and began the Chiefs’ rally.
The win gave Coach Andy Reid his first championship after a long career defined by teams that were always good but could never quite get to the top. A Super Bowl champion as an assistant coach with Green Bay, he led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season as a head coach but lost the game to the New England Patriots.
An ebullient Reid was emotional after the win, saying of the comeback, “When you’re down by a couple scores, you have to jump in it.”
Comebacks have become the Chiefs’ signature. Sunday’s victory was the third comeback of 10 or more points by Mahomes and the Chiefs during this postseason — an N.F.L. record — and it seemed inevitable once Garoppolo and the 49ers’ offense began to falter.
Garoppolo, who controlled the game for three quarters, completed 20 of 31 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions, one of which came after the Chiefs’ comeback as San Francisco desperately tried to get itself back into the game.
For Coach Kyle Shanahan of the 49ers, the loss had to bring back bad memories of the Super Bowl three years ago, when his Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Patriots. While this comeback was not quite as extreme as the one engineered by Tom Brady that day, it was similarly gutting, as Mahomes single-handedly brought his team back from its lowest point, converting a 3rd-and-15 pass with 7:13 left in the game.
To follow the game as it happened, read on:
With the Chiefs looking to run out the clock, Williams breaks around left end instead and races down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown. Game. Set. Super Bowl.
A Kendall Fuller interception of Garoppolo with 57 seconds left is just the cherry on top, and a chance to douse Andy Reid in Gatorade as he finally claims his first title as a head coach.
San Francisco has handed the ball back to Patrick Mahomes with just 1:25 left and the Chiefs leading, 24-20.
After a 16-yard pass to Kendrick Bourne had provided some hope on the drive, Garoppolo’s next three passes were incomplete, with one being batted into the air, one nearly being intercepted, and the third sailing well out of his wide receiver’s reach.
On 4th-and-10, he was wrapped up by Kansas City and tossed to the ground for a turnover on downs.
This game is all but over.
That did not take long.
Patrick Mahomes completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams and after the extra point, Kansas City finds itself leading, 24-20, with 2:44 left. Williams came close to stepping out of bounds on the touchdown catch, but he reached the ball over the pylon to break the plane of the goal line and the play was upheld after a review.
The Chiefs trailed by 10 points before Travis Kelce’s touchdown catch with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter. They now just have to hold on for less than three minutes to secure the team’s first championship in 50 years.
The 60-yard drive had started with a few short drives and then Mahomes looked deep to his right and connected with Sammy Watkins for a 38-yard pass that put the Chiefs on the 49ers’ 10-yard line.
Looking to keep the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’s hands, the 49ers absolutely fell down on the job.
They started with a 5-yard run by Emmanuel Sanders. After a Jimmy Garoppolo pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage by Chris Jones, the Chiefs put pressure on him again, forcing the San Francisco quarterback to simply throw the ball away on third down.
Patrick Mahomes now has the ball on his team’s 35-yard line, trailing by only 3 points, with 5:10 left in the game.
The 49ers’ drive took just 1:03 off the clock.
The comeback may be beginning. Now we have to see how Coach Kyle Shanahan responds.
Lining up at the San Francisco 1-yard line, Patrick Mahomes rolled to his right and threw to Travis Kelce for a touchdown that along with the extra point has the Chiefs trailing, 20-17, with 6:13 left in the game.
Earlier in the drive, San Francisco successfully challenged a call of a complete pass, resulting in a 3rd-and-15, but Mahomes, under intense pressure from San Francisco defenders, launched a ball down the field to a wide-open Tyreek Hill for a 44-yard gain that put the Chiefs just outside the red zone.
Another attempt to Hill sailed well out of the wide receiver’s reach, and Mahomes was chased into throwing the ball away by Arik Armstead on second down. That set up a 3rd-and-10. Mahomes threw incomplete to Kelce in the end zone, but Tarvarius Moore, who delivered an interception earlier in the game, was correctly called for pass interference, with the 20-yard penalty putting the ball on San Francisco’s 1-yard line.
At that point it was just a matter of time, and Mahomes put the points on the board with just one more play.
If you’re looking for a reason for San Francisco to be nervous, it comes from Patrick Mahomes’s performances just in this postseason. In a divisional round game against the Houston Texans, Mahomes and the Chiefs fell behind by 23-0 in the second quarter before winning, 51-31. In the A.F.C. championship game against the Tennessee Titans, the Chiefs fell behind by 17-7 before winning, 35-24.
With just under seven minutes to play, the 49ers are leading by 10 points. But Mahomes has the ball and a chance to score. And with Mahomes, scoring plays tend to come in a hurry.
Given a bonus drive by way of the interception, the 49ers were not able to do anything with it. They gained only 17 yards on five plays, with Jimmy Garoppolo being pushed out of bounds for a 4-yard gain on a third-down play where San Francisco had needed 14.
Garoppolo has been effective all game for San Francisco, completing 18 of 22 passes, but he uncorked one stinker on this drive, with his pass sailing across the middle of the field with no receivers anywhere near it. Luckily for the 49ers, no Chiefs players were anywhere near, it either.
After a solid punt with no return, Kansas City has the ball back on its 17-yard line.
Patrick Mahomes rushed another pass and the 49ers made him pay again. Throwing to Tyreek Hill in traffic was risky, and the ball was knocked into the air, where the second-year safety Tarvarius Moore grabbed it for San Francisco’s second turnover of the game. It was the first interception of Moore’s professional career.
The Chiefs had once again been steadily moving the ball down the field with a series of short plays when defensive tackle DeForest Buckner broke up the momentum with a 9-yard sack in which he spun Mahomes to the ground.
Mahomes recovered from the sack to scramble for a 13-yard gain, setting up a 3rd-and-6. But the ill-fated pass attempt to Hill handed the ball back to San Francisco.
At the end of the third quarter, the 49ers are leading the Chiefs, 20-10, but Patrick Mahomes has Kansas City moving the ball on a drive that had begun with San Francisco’s defensive line repeatedly pressuring him in the backfield.
The fourth quarter will begin with Kansas City having a first down at its 46-yard line, and while Nick Bosa and the rest of 49ers’ defensive linemen appear to have worn down the Chiefs’ offensive line, Mahomes has yet to seem all that bothered by it beyond throwing the ball away on the first play of the current drive.
Mahomes has plenty of large comebacks in his career, including in this postseason, so he is sure to turn this game into a fight. But if there is one thing that was stressed among 49ers players and coaches more than anything else this week, it was that Coach Kyle Shanahan will never take his foot off the gas pedal. Not after his Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl three years ago.
Raheem Mostert plowed the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line and San Francisco, thanks to a crucial interception, is leading Kansas City, 20-10, with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
The 49ers’ defense set up the 55-yard drive when Fred Warner intercepted a pass by Patrick Mahomes, and the 49ers were immediately aggressive, with Jimmy Garoppolo completing a 16-yard pass to Deebo Samuel.
After two plays went nowhere, Garoppolo found Kendrick Bourne over the middle for a 26-yard gain and a pass to Kyle Juszczyk got San Francisco to the 1-yard line.
They gave the ball to Mostert, Juszczyk delivered a huge block, and the 49ers now have a two-score lead.
The news is not all good for San Francisco, however. Joe Staley, the team’s starting left tackle and its longest-tenured player, is out of the game with a hand injury. His return is questionable.
Patrick Mahomes made an absolutely brutal mistake, throwing a pass directly to linebacker Fred Warner for an interception, to hand the ball back to San Francisco shortly after the 49ers had taken the lead.
The Chiefs had just survived a strip-sack fumble in which Nick Bosa was able to slap the ball out of Mahomes’s hand as he streaked past him. Mahomes, looking to make something happen in a game where he has often settled for dinks and dunks, tried to make up for the sack by attempting a deep pass to Tyreek Hill and Warner did not even have to move to snatch the turnover, returning it 3 yards and then celebrating with his teammates by streaking into the end zone for a group photo.
The 49ers offense takes over at their own 45-yard line.
San Francisco continued to mix things up with the run and the pass, and after a drive stalled out on the edge of the red zone, they took the lead with a 42-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
Gould is now a perfect 15 for 15 on career attempts in the postseason, and the 49ers are leading, 13-10.
Jimmy Garoppolo got things started on the drive with two passes to Emmanuel Sanders that combined for 20 yards. Another end-around to Deebo Samuel went for 14 yards, but looked as if it might go for even more when he got a step on a few defenders along the sideline.
With 53 rushing yards, Samuel, a rookie wide receiver who is often used in the running game, has set an N.F.L. record for a wide receiver in a Super Bowl. He broke the previous record of 45, set by Percy Harvin of the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl following the 2013 season.
San Francisco would get one more first down on the drive, with a pass to Kyle Juszczyk, but they were not able to advance past Kansas City’s 24-yard line and needed Gould to bail them out on the drive.
Kansas City is known for its ultrafast wide receivers, but other than a 28-yard completion to Sammy Watkins, the Chiefs have not had any other pass gain more than 11 yards. The Chiefs’ second-longest play of the first half coming on a 14-yard run by Damien Williams.
To see Patrick Mahomes reduced to a series of short passes was surprising, but San Francisco linebacker Kwon Alexander said during the week that his team had what it took to stand up to fleet wide receivers like Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Watkins.
“What the answer to speed? Speed,” Alexander deadpanned before saying, “Nah, the answer to speed is smartness and being on top of your game and doing your job.”
He added: “When we go out there we play with each other as a team. We’re going to play fast, run, hit, cover, do whatever we’ve got to do to get this ring.”
With players as fast as Hill, Watkins and Hardman, any catch is a potential touchdown, so there is ample time for Alexander’s words to ring hollow in the second half.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira restored sparkle and spectacle to the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday night with headlining sets heavy on Latin pride, a year after the pop-rock band Maroon 5 performed an anodyne set with the rapper Travis Scott that seemed to please nobody.
Lopez, 50, took an athletic, dance-heavy spin through hits from her 21-year career in pop music, from “Jenny From the Block” to “On the Floor,” with a guest appearance from the Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin for his track “Mi Gente.” Lopez spun atop a pole for “Waiting for Tonight” (showing off skills from her role in “Hustlers”) and brought out a children’s chorus for “Let’s Get Loud” that included the singer’s daughter, Emme.
Shakira, 43, likewise reached back through her discography, which began in her native Colombia in the early 1990s and broke through in the United States with her 2001 album “Laundry Service”: “She Wolf,” “Whenever, Wherever” and “Chantaje.” She seized an electric guitar for “Empire” and crowd-surfed before “Hips Don’t Lie.” The Puerto Rican pop sensation Bad Bunny, draped in a silver coat, joined her to perform his verse from Cardi B’s “I Like It.”
At one point in the first half it seemed as if Kansas City might be running away with the game. The Chiefs had taken advantage of a Jimmy Garoppolo interception to kick a field goal, which put Kansas City up by 10-3, and with a Patrick Mahomes-led offense, any lead is a commanding lead.
Undeterred by the early deficit, San Francisco Coach Kyle Shanahan stuck to his run-heavy attack, eventually softening up the Chiefs’ defense to the point where Garoppolo was able to tie the game at 10-10 by throwing to fullback Kyle Juszczyk for a 15-yard catch-and-run.
San Francisco’s defense rewarded Garoppolo’s touchdown pass by forcing a punt on what initially looked like a strong Kansas City drive, and the 49ers looked to be in position to take a lead in the final seconds of the half, when Garoppolo found George Kittle for a long completion in Kansas City territory. But Kittle was flagged for offensive pass interference, which left the game tied 10-10 as the team’s headed into the locker room.
While each team had a turn with momentum, the 49ers ended up with a mild yardage advantage, 178 to 155. The Chiefs, though, largely controlled the clock, having possessed the ball for 17:13 of the half’s 30 minutes.
Mahomes is 12 of 18 for 104 yards, running for the Chiefs’ lone touchdown, while San Francisco has accounted for nearly half of its yardage on the ground, with Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Deebo Samuel combining for 89 yards on 11 carries.
After an extended halftime with a performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, San Francisco will receive the ball to start the second half.
Kevin Draper is already looking ahead to the halftime show:
A number of musical artists, including Rihanna, reportedly declined to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show last year in support of Colin Kaepernick. In the off-season, the N.F.L. signed a deal for Jay-Z’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, to become the league’s “live music entertainment strategist.” Roc Nation helped recruit Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to perform for this year’s show.
In response to criticism for partnering with the same league that many believe blackballed Kaepernick, Jay-Z said, “We are two adult men who disagree on the tactic but are marching for the same cause.” Read our story on the Roc Nation and N.F.L. relationship here.
In what could be Kansas City’s final drive of the first half, the Chiefs were forced to punt the ball away after a disappointing end to a drive that had started well.
Kansas City had gotten three quick first downs by way of passes to Damien Williams and Blake Bell, and a short run by Williams and then a 10-yard pass to Tyreek Hill.
A Williams run and a sweep by Mecole Hardman then combined for minus-4 yards, and on 3rd-and-14, a short pass to Williams resulted in just a 1-yard gain.
San Francisco will get the ball back on their own 25-yard line following a touchback, with 59 seconds left in the half.
Kyle Juszczyk, the 49ers’ throwback of a fullback, took a short pass and rumbled toward the goal line, diving into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown that along with Robbie Gould’s extra point has this game tied, 10-10.
San Francisco has shown an extreme commitment to the run all postseason, and today is no exception. An 80-yard drive consisted of 38 yards on the ground, with Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman finding scads of room to run against Kansas City’s defense. That softened up the coverage, as the Chiefs tried to compensate against the run, and Jimmy Garoppolo took care of the rest, with passes to Deebo Samuel and Juszczyk accounting for the final 26 yards of the drive.
That Garoppolo seemed so aggressive after having thrown an interception on his previous drive was a welcome sign for San Francisco.
Given a free drive by way of an interception, Patrick Mahomes continued to be aggressive, throwing deep to Sammy Watkins for a 28-yard gain to start the drive and converting a fourth down with an option toss to Damien Williams. But the Chiefs had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Harrison Butker, which put them ahead by 10-3.
The three plays after the Watkins catch combined for only 9 yards, but the Chiefs, for a second consecutive drive, didn’t let fourth down scare them. Mahomes raced to the sideline before tossing the ball to Williams for a 3-yard gain and the conversion. That was it, however, as two incomplete passes and a short run resulted in a 4th-and-7 at San Francisco’s 13-yard line, which sent out the field goal unit.
The Chiefs are suddenly in terrific shape to start the second quarter after getting the ball back to its offense by way of an interception.
After Deebo Samuel opened the quarter with a short loss on a run, Mike Pennell pressured Jimmy Garoppolo into an ill-advised pass, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland made Garoppolo pay for it by leaping up for an interception.
Kansas City will begin its drive on its own 44-yard line.
Ken Belson clears it up:
In an ad for the streaming service Hulu, Tom Brady mocked the concern about his future — which he stoked last week with a cryptic post to his social media accounts. Hulu leaned into the worries.
Brady can become a free agent next month for the first time in his long career. Patriots fans may fear the worst, with Brady reportedly garnering interest from the Raiders and Chargers. But one thing appears certain: Nobody should be surprised if Brady is playing football next season.
“They say all good things must come to an end,” Brady said Sunday’s ad while walking into Gillette Stadium, the home of the Patriots. “So it’s time to say goodbye as TV as we know it.”
“But me? I’m not going anywhere.”
The first quarter ended after Jimmy Garoppolo had begun his team’s latest drive with an 18-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders that got San Francisco to their own 43-yard line.
There were not many surprises in the opening quarter, with San Francisco moving the ball well on the ground and Kansas City surviving a few passes from Patrick Mahomes that missed their mark thanks to a surprising start from Damien Williams, who already has 32 rushing yards.
The game has yet to have a turnover and the Chiefs have a mild advantage in time of possession: 8:31 to 6:29.
Showing a quick burst with his legs, Patrick Mahomes ran the ball in from 1 yard, putting Kansas City ahead, 7-3, with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.
The drive had been extended thanks to the Chiefs’ showing some aggressiveness on fourth down, going for it on 4th-and-1 from the San Francisco 5-yard line with a direct snap run to Damien Williams. Mahomes’s touchdown run was the prize for that decision.
Over and over on the drive, Mahomes got the Chiefs most of the way to a first down with a pass, and Damien Williams picked up the rest of the yardage with a run.
Once Kansas City got into the red zone, San Francisco got its first sack of the game, with DeForest Buckner and Earl Mitchell tracking Mahomes down for a 1-yard loss.
Two plays later, when no options presented themselves, Mahomes raced up the right side of the field for a 10-yard gain, fumbling the ball out of bounds at the end of the play thanks to a huge hit by Jimmie Ward, who was briefly injured on the play.
It looked like Ward’s hit, which stopped Mahomes just short of a first down, had forced Kansas City to settle for a field goal, but after Coach Andy Reid had a change of heart, pulling his kicking team off the field, the Chiefs got their first lead of the day.