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Second-Half Surge Sends Chiefs to Second Super Bowl Title in Four Years

A Super Bowl quarterback battle for the ages was decided by ... a field goal.

Harrison Butker kicked a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds left to lift the Kansas City Chiefs to a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at Glendale, Ariz., in a game dominated by superlative quarterback performances.

Patrick Mahomes, who became the first regular-season MVP to be selected Super Bowl MVP since Kurt Warner in 1999, led the Chiefs to 24 second-half points as they scored on all four of their possessions.

Mahomes, who passed for three touchdowns and 182 yards, and coach Andy Reid teamed up to spark the Chiefs to their second title in four years and the franchise's third overall.

Mahomes, who rushed for 44 yards on a gimpy ankle, also won his second Super Bowl MVP award, joining some exclusive company. Only Tom Brady with five and Joe Montana with three have been named Super Bowl MVP more times than Mahomes, who is tied with Terry Bradshaw, Eli Manning and Bart Starr.

Quarterback counterpart Jalen Hurts accounted for all four Eagles touchdowns, including a Super Bowl-record-tying three rushing. He had 304 yards passing and 70 yards rushing, a Super Bowl record for a quarterback.

This was Reid's fourth appearance in the Super Bowl, and third in the past four seasons with the Chiefs. He also led the Eagles to it after the 2004 season, when they lost to the New England Patriots.

It was the third-highest-scoring Super Bowl ever, just two points behind Super Bowl XXIX, when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the then-San Diego Chargers, 49-26, and the previous Super Bowl the Eagles appeared in, a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII five years ago.

The Chiefs also scored a second-quarter touchdown on a fumble return by linebacker Nick Bolton. The play came on Hurts' only unforced error. As the quarterback began to roll to his right, he dropped the ball, which Bolton alertly picked up and raced to the end zone with. That tied the score at 14 at a point when the game could have gotten away from the Chiefs. As it was, the Eagles built a 24-14 halftime lead behind Hurts' dominance.

Lightning nearly struck twice as Bolton, who had a game-high nine tackles (eight solo) had an apparent second fumble return for a touchdown on the Eagles' first play of their first series of the second half overturned by a scoring review. L'Jarius Sneed hit Eagles running back Miles Sanders as he appeared to catch a swing pass, forcing the ball out. Bolton picked it up and was off to the races again.

Once it was confirmed Sanders did not have possession, Hurts lead the Eagles on a 17-play scoring drive for their fourth touchdown.

Chiefs' Turn Tables in Second Half

Mahomes and the Chiefs were undeterred, scoring at will in the second half after only one offensive score and just 20 plays in a first half dominated by the Eagles.

Kansas City struck on a 10-play 75-yard drive to start the second half, capped by Isiah Pacheco's 1-yard run. Next, the Chiefs went 75 yards in seven plays, capped by Kadarius Toney's 5-yard touchdown catch.

Pacheco and Toney were two of the Chiefs' unsung heroes. The former, a rookie running back, rushed for a game-high 76 yards on 15 carries. Toney, obtained at the trade deadline from the New York Giants, had a 65-yard punt return, the longest in Super Bowl history, to set up the Chiefs' third consecutive touchdown of the second half, a 4-yard pass to rookie Skyy Moore.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had the only reception by a Chiefs receiver in the first half (five yards), had seven catches for 48 yards in the second half. Travis Kelce, who caught Mahomes' touchdown pass on the Chiefs' opening drive of the game, had six receptions for 81 yards.

Kansas City's defense, which was gashed by Hurts and the Eagles repeatedly in the first half, gave up a field goal at the end of the Eagles' 17-play drive. That was it until Hurts led a drive that tied the score with 5:15 to play. Hurts hit DeVonta Smith on a 46-yard pass play to set up his third TD run. Hurts then ran in the two-point conversion.

Philly Dominates First Half

The Chiefs' defense simply could not get off the field in the first half. The Eagles, who are 1-3 in Super Bowl appearances, built a massive advantage in time of possession (21:54 to 8:06) because they repeatedly sustained long drives. Kansas City stopped them exactly once — on Philadelphia’s second drive, which ended in a three-and-out.

The Eagles’ touchdown first drive covered 75 yards in 11 plays. Their second went 68 yards in five plays. The third went 75 yards in 12 plays. And the field-goal drive chewed up the final seven plays of the first half. 

While the Chiefs had only those 20 plays from scrimmage, the Eagles amassed 17 first downs. The Eagles finished with 25 first downs to the Chiefs' 21.

Hurts So Good

It turns out the only thing that could stop Hurts was Hurts. His fumble was the only hiccup.

Kansas City had no answers for the dual-threat quarterback. Hurts generated 246 of the Eagles’ 270 yards of offense and all three Eagles touchdowns - two by land, one by air - in the first half. After three quarters, Hurts had accounted for 300 of the Eagles’ 335 yards.

His splash plays - the 45-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown, and 20-plus yard strikes to Brown and Smith - were mixed in with a heavy dose of runs and short catch-and-runs. The Eagles ran the ball 22 times in the first half and 32 times overall.

Had Hurts not fumbled, Philadelphia could have led 31-7 at halftime. 

His 70 yards rushing were a Super Bowl record for a quarterback. 

Defenses Go Missing in Action

Speaking of defenses, the expectation was they would have a profound impact on the game. Guess again. The teams combined for 757 yards of offense and 73 points - the third-most all-time. Sunday's game also was the second time both teams scored more than 30 points in the game; the Eagles' 41-33 Super LII victory being the other.

These teams finished the regular season as the NFL's top two sacking teams. Philadelphia's 70 were tied for the third most in a season. Kansas City had 55.

So what did we get Sunday night? One sack, when Khalen Saunders caught Hurts one yard behind the line of scrimmage on a third-quarter scramble.