LAS VEGAS — Kansas City hit the jackpot when it drafted Patrick Mahomes, and he keeps on winning big.
Kansas City repeated as Super Bowl champion after Mahomes led a 25-22 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers in an overtime classic in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium.
Mahomes threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to former Jet Mecole Hardman Jr. with three seconds left in overtime to give Kansas City its third title in five years. KC is the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Tom Brady-led Patriots did it after the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
“Moments like this when guys come through, it truly is special,” Mahomes said. “It really is special just to be able to say we’re back-to-back champs.
“I hope people remember not only the greatness we’ve had on the field but the way we’ve done it.”
Andy Reid is overseeing a dynasty, with Mahomes the catalyst who refuses to lose. He is 15-3 in the postseason.
This was another brilliant performance by Mahomes, who led Kansas City back from a 10-point first-half deficit in this rematch of Super Bowl LIV. Mahomes completed 34 of 46 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also was Kansas City’s leading rusher with 66 yards on nine carries.
“That guy’s got magic in his right arm,” Travis Kelce said. “He found ways to propel us even with his legs.”
Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP for the third time, tying Joe Montana for the second-most MVPs. Mahomes also joined Troy Aikman, Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Brady as quarterbacks who have led their teams to at least three Super Bowl titles. Reid joined Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs and Bill Belichick as the only coaches to win at least three titles.
Hardman, an unlikely hero, started the season with the Jets, who traded him back to Kansas City in October. He caught three passes for 57 yards and a score.
“He’s always ready for the moment,” Mahomes said. “He was ready for that moment and [made] a couple of big plays.”
Kelce, who bumped and grabbed Reid out of frustration in the first half, finished with nine catches for 93 yards. Marquez Valdes-Scantling also caught a touchdown pass.
Harrison Butker drilled four field goals, including a Super Bowl-record 57-yarder. His 29-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
Brock Purdy completed 23 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 80 yards and had eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Jauan Jennings caught and threw a touchdown pass.
Jake Moody kicked three field goals but had an extra-point try blocked by Leo Chenal early in the fourth quarter to keep the 49ers’ lead at 16-13.
San Francisco got the ball first in overtime. Kansas City nearly forced a three-and-out, but Trent McDuffie was flagged for defensive holding on third down. That costly penalty led to Moody’s 27-yard field goal with 7:22 left.
The 49ers drove inside the 9, but Kansas City’s defense held them there. That proved huge and put the ball in Mahomes’ hands with a chance to win.
“Once we stopped them and held them to a field goal, our mindset is go win the game right here,” Mahomes said.
(About that OT clock: Even though KC scored with :03 left, time wasn’t an issue. As referee Bill Vinovich said at the OT coin toss, it’s the start of a new game, not a single quarter).
Kansas City had the chance to win at the end of regulation. It had a first down at the San Francisco 11 with 10 seconds left. Mahomes took one shot at the end zone but couldn’t connect with Kelce.
He wasn’t going to let his second chance go.
Kansas City started at its own 25, and Isiah Pacheco was stopped on third-and-1 from the 34. On fourth down, Mahomes ran 8 yards for the first down. Later, on a third-and-6, Mahomes found Rashee Rice for 13 yards.
Mahomes ran for 19 yards on a third-and-1 to the 49ers’ 13. Pacheco gained 3 yards on first down and Mahomes threw to Kelce for a 7-yard gain.
As the clock wound down, Mahomes rolled right and hit a wide-open Hardman on the right side of the end zone.
“Never a doubt in my mind,” Kelce said.
This was a devastating loss for Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers, who also blew a 10-point lead (20-10) in Super Bowl LIV.
“How much did that hurt?” Jennings said. “Anyone have some nails I can step on? That much.”
Said McCaffrey, “I’m still a little numb, angry and going through all the emotions.”
KC took its first lead, 13-10, after Jaylen Watson recovered a muffed punt. On the next play, Mahomes hit a wide-open Valdes-Scantling for a 16-yard TD with 2:28 left in the third.
The 49ers regained the lead as Purdy threw a 10-yard TD pass to Jennings, but the extra point was blocked. Later, Moody’s 53-yard field goal gave the 49ers a 19-16 lead with 1:53 left.
Mahomes couldn’t win it in regulation, but he did when he had to in overtime. That’s how legends and dynasties are made.
“I’m going to celebrate with my guys, how we’ve done this,” he said. “Then we’re going to get ready to work our way to get back to this game next year.”