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What We Learned: Eight Takeaways from Super Bowl LVII

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After a Super Bowl that went down to the wire, the Kansas City Chiefs kicked a game-winning field goal with 11 seconds left to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.

Patrick Mahomes battled through an ankle injury, there was another controversial penalty on the Chiefs' final drive, Jalen Hurts set Super Bowl quarterback rushing records, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid beat his former team to claim his second Super Bowl in his fourth appearance, including one as Eagles coach after the 2004 season.

Here are eight takeaways from Super Bowl LVII.

Mahomes Cements His Legacy

The Chiefs quarterback came into the game after winning his second MVP award and already having a Super Bowl win under his belt. However, Mahomes' second Super Bowl win puts him in elite company among NFL greats.

"It's Patrick Mahomes' 'MJ' moment, the MVP showed out," said current Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel, an analyst for The 33rd Team. "[Kansas City] scored on every possession of the second half to win it."

The only other quarterbacks in NFL history to win multiple MVP awards and multiple Super Bowls are Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Steve Young and the recently retired Tom Brady. Mahomes did all of this while playing through a high-ankle sprain, which he suffered against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round.

Mahomes reaggravated the injury at the end of the first half against the Eagles, but he gutted his way to completing 21 0f 27 passes for 182 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, allowing the Chiefs to erase a 24-14 halftime deficit. Mahomes even added 44 yards on the ground.

That stat line earned Mahomes his second Super Bowl MVP award and put him in some elite Super Bowl company. Only Tom Brady (five) and Montana (three) have been named Super Bowl MVP more times than Mahomes, who is now tied with Terry Bradshaw, Eli Manning and Bart Starr.

Andy Reid No Doubt HOFer

Kansas City's quarterback wasn't the only person adding to their legacy on Sunday night. Reid's second Super Bowl victory adds to his already impressive resume.

His 247 wins ranked fifth all-time, his 22 playoff wins rank second all-time, he's appeared in 10 conference title games, and he's won four of them.

Former coach Mike Martz, an analyst for The 33rd Team, believes Reid might have put himself in the conversation for one of the best coaches ever.

“He takes two teams to the Super Bowl. He had the Eagles in the NFC Championship four or five times, and he comes to Kansas City, two Super Bowls,” Martz said. “Clearly, he’s a Hall of Fame coach, there’s no doubt about that, and maybe one of the top two or three guys who ever coached the game."

Reid, who will turn 65 in March, struck down any rumors he would be retiring after this season, saying, "I think I'm going to hang around."

Whenever he does hang up the Hawaiian shirt, he'll have a direct path to the Hall of Fame.

Chiefs Turn Tables in Second Half

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

“They came out in the second half as a football team overall and played with more energy and pizzazz and were more physical than they were in the first half,” Martz said. “When they came out in the second half, they were a different football team.”

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 six 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.

Chiefs' Offensive Line Stepped Up

One of the biggest matchups coming into the game was the Chiefs' offensive line vs. the vaunted Eagles' pass rush. Philadelphia finished the regular season with 70 sacks, good for the third most all-time.

However, Kansas City's group stepped up in the biggest game of the season and allowed zero sacks. They also proved to be effective in creating movement in the running game, as the Chiefs finished with 158 rushing yards while averaging 6.1 yards per attempt.

“I think the key in this whole game was the offensive line for the Chiefs,” Martz said. “They absolutely blocked that front both in the running game and in the passing game gave (Mahomes) time. Of course, Mahomes being who he is, he’s going to make those plays, and he did.”

Hurts Proved He's Legit

Although the Eagles lost, Hurts proved he was a franchise quarterback once and for all. He broke multiple Super Bowl quarterback rushing records, including most touchdowns (three), touchdowns in a first half (two) and overall rushing yards (70).

Hurts got it done on the ground, which is what he's known for, but he also got it done through the air. He finished with 304 yards passing while completing 27 of 38 passes for one touchdown and zero interceptions.

Former NFL running back Robert Smith, an analyst for The 33rd Team, was impressed with Hurts' performance on Sunday night.

"All we heard before the season was Jalen Hurts couldn't throw, Jalen Hurts couldn't do this, Jalen Hurts couldn't do that, well he showed on the biggest stage that he could make the biggest plays," Smith said. "This is gonna be a painful experience for him, but I promise you this. This will not be the last Super Bowl Jalen Hurts plays in, and my guess is he's going to win one eventually."

Hurts did make one big mistake in the game when on third-and-5, midway through the second quarter, he fumbled the ball without being touched. Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown. 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.

It's hard to imagine the Eagles not being happy with the way he bounced back in the biggest game of his career, even if the pang of defeat is still overwhelming.

"I know the mistake that he made ended up costing his team," Smith said. "If you look at the scoreboard it ends up being the difference in the game, but I can't say enough about what Jalen Hurts did throughout this season."

Defenses Mostly Go Missing in Action

The expectation going into this game was that the defenses would have a profound impact on it. Aside from Bolton's score and another near miss, that wasn't the case. The teams combined for 757 yards of offense and 73 points — the third-most all-time in a Super Bowl.

Sunday's game ranked just two points behind Super Bowl XXIX, when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the then-San Diego Chargers, 49-26, and just one point behind the last Super Bowl the Eagles appeared in, a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII five years ago.

Sunday's game was also the second time both teams scored more than 30 points in the game, the Eagles' Super Bowl LII victory being the other.

Both Philadelphia and Kansas City finished the regular season as their conference's most prodigious sackers. Philadelphia's 70 were tied for the third most ever in a season. Kansas City had 55.

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

Lightning nearly struck twice for Bolton, who had a game-high nine tackles (eight solo). He 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.

Eagles' Receivers Did Their Part

It was a disappointing night for the Eagles, but Philadelphia’s wide receiver group should walk away from Super Bowl LVII with their heads held high. 

DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, in particular, were spectacular for the Eagles, combining for 196 yards receiving. Brown also hauled in a momentum-shifting 45-yard touchdown in the end zone to give the Eagles a 14-7 second-quarter lead. 

Brown might have caught the touchdown, but it was Smith though who led the team in receptions, with seven, and yards receiving, with 100. He made a highlight play of his own, releasing wide-open downfield for a 45-yard snag that took the Eagles inside the Chiefs’ 5-yard line, setting up the eventual game-tying score. 

Chiefs' Budding Dynasty

NFL fans love to debate what makes a dynasty, but it’s safe to say the Mahomes-Reid Chiefs are at the least on the precipice of putting together one of the most successful stretches in NFL history.

Sunday’s win makes two Lombardi Trophies in four seasons for the Chiefs with a Super Bowl loss to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers sandwiched in between. The Chiefs also have hosted five straight AFC Championship games. 

Some experts believe the Chiefs are the next great dynasty in NFL history, following in the footsteps of the Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots. They won three Super Bowls in four seasons from 2001-04 and three more in five seasons from 2013-18. 

“You’ve got a head coach and quarterback that are both seasoned, experienced and work really well together,” said analyst Eric Mangini of The 33rd Team, who won three Super Bowls in four seasons as a coach with the Patriots. “They’re poised to win well into the future.”