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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Dawn of a dynasty

Patrick Mahomes celebrates as he becomes Super Bowl MVP for the third time in four years.

A game that started as an absolute slugfest turned out to be one of the greatest finishes in Super Bowl history. The Chiefs defeated the 49ers 25-22 in an overtime thriller. 

Going into the game, The Chiefs were trying to cement themselves as the NFL’s next dynasty, as a win would give them their third Super Bowl in four years. For the 49ers, it’s been a long 28-year title drought for what used to be a prominent franchise in the 1980s and ‘90s, as they looked for their sixth Super Bowl title. 

Early on, both teams made crucial mistakes near the redzone. The 49ers received the opening kickoff and quickly found themselves in Kansas City territory. On a first and 10 from the Chiefs 29-yard line, running back Christian McCaffrey had a costly fumble which gave possession to the Chiefs. 

Both offenses continued to stall throughout most of the first quarter. A common theme we saw in the first half was the 49ers defense’s constant pressure on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, leading to only 16 yards of total offense in the first quarter.  

Eventually the 49ers offense took control, as Brock Purdy found Chris Conley and Ray-Ray McCloud for big gains in Chiefs territory. After Purdy couldn’t connect with Deebo Samuel on third-and-14, the 49ers settled for a field goal attempt. Jake Moody nailed a 55-yard kick through the uprights to give them a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. 

The Chiefs offense finally got a jump start when Mahomes found Mecole Hardman down the field for a big completion down to the 49ers’ 9-yard line. However, the Chiefs gave it back the very next play as running back Isiah Pacheco coughed the ball up on a rushing attempt. 

The two teams once again exchanged punts, as the score remained 3-0 with 7:49 to go in the second quarter. The 49ers started to get into a rhythm offensively, as Purdy found Samuel over the middle for 12 yards on the drive’s second play. Running backs McCaffery and Elijah Mitchell kept the drive going, rushing for 19 total yards down to the Chiefs 21 yard line. The very next play the 49ers pulled out a trick play, as wide receiver Jauan Jennings threw the ball across the field to McCaffery who proceeded to run it in for a touchdown. The 49ers extended their lead to 10-0 with 4:23 to go in the second quarter.

A bit of urgency kicked in for the Chiefs offense, as no team has ever won a Super Bowl after being shutout in the first half. Pacheco made up for his mistake earlier by rushing for 20 yards to around mid-field. A few plays later, Mahomes found Justin Watson for a 21-yard gain down to the 49ers’ 39-yard line. They continued to get closer to the goal line as Mahomes found Rashee Rice for an 11-yard gain a few plays later down to the 14-yard line. Eventually, the Chiefs offense couldn’t punch it in, as they settled for a Harrison Butker field goal to make it 10-3, with the advantage going to the 49ers going into halftime. 

After Usher rocked the Vegas crowd, The Chiefs offense looked to score their first touchdown of the game to start the second half. The drive ended quickly as Mahomes threw an interception trying to find Marquez Valdes-Scantling down the field. 

Both offenses continued to stall to start the second half with the 49ers punting twice and the Chiefs punting once. 

If the Chiefs wanted to win this game, they needed to get their best weapon, Travis Kelce, involved. Mahomes did just that by finding him for an 11-yard gain to start the drive. A few plays later, Mahomes utilized his legs by scrambling for a gain of 22 yards down to the 49ers 43-yard line. The Chiefs failed to get a first down after that, settling for a Butker 57-yard field goal which is now the record for the longest kick in Super Bowl history. The Chiefs cut the lead to 10-6. 

Late in the third quarter, mistakes continued to lead to opportunities for the opposing team. The Chiefs punted the ball back to the 49ers, only for it to hit one of the players legs allowing the Chiefs to recover the ball in the red zone. The very next play, Mahomes found Valdes-Scantling for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs their first lead of the day at 13-10. 

The 49ers offense responded immediately as Purdy found Jennings for a gain of 17. A couple plays later he hit Brandon Aiyuk for a gain of 20 yards down to the Chiefs 22-yard line. On a second-and-9 from the 10-yard line, Purdy found Jennings over the middle for a touchdown to put the 49ers back in front. Moody’s extra point ended up being blocked at the line of scrimmage, keeping it a three-point game at 16-13. 

Mahomes drove the offense right down the field again, finding Kelce for two gains of 30 yards, and Watson for a gain of 20. The Chiefs ended up getting all the way down to the 49ers 4-yard line, but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal to tie the game back up at 16-16. 

The 49ers offense had a chance to put themselves in position to win with 3:53 remaining in the game. On the first play from scrimmage, Purdy found the man of the night, Jennings, for a gain of 23 yards down the 48-yard line. The 49ers took their time and ran the clock down. Eventually they faced a third-and-five with two minutes to go. If they gained a first down, they could continue to wind down the clock.  Purdy couldn’t connect with Jennings, forcing them to try a long field goal. Moody split the uprights from 53 yards out giving the 49ers a 19-16 lead with 1:53 to go. 

It was time for Mahomes to shine. There is no other quarterback any coach would want in this situation. The Chiefs worked their way into 49er territory as Mahomes found Kelce and Watson for big gains. From the 33-yard line with 16 seconds left in the game, Mahomes found his Mr. Reliable, Kelce, for a huge gain of 22 yards all the way down to the 11-yard line, giving the Chiefs an opportunity to win the game with 10 seconds left. The very next play Mahomes looked for Kelce once again in the end zone but couldn’t connect. The Chiefs jogged Butker out for a game-tying field goal attempt which was good.The 2024 Super Bowl went to overtime with a score of 19-19, only the second time in the history of the big game.

With the new overtime rules, each offense is allowed to possess the ball at least once. The 49ers won the coin toss and elected to start with the football. Purdy and the offense faced a crucial third-and-13 early in the drive. His pass was incomplete, but a defensive holding violation on the Chiefs allowed for the drive to continue. Soon after, Purdy found Aiyuk for a gain of 11 yards down to the 46-yard line. A few plays later, Purdy dumped the ball off to McCaffery, who ran for a gain of 24 yards down to the Chiefs’ 26-yard line. The 49ers ended up facing a third-and-four from the Chiefs 9-yard line. Purdy looked to throw but was pressured by Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones which forced an incompletion. The 49ers settled for a Moody 27-yard field goal to give them a 22-19 lead. 

Mahomes and the Chiefs offense had a second chance to go win the game with a touchdown. They faced a game deciding fourth-and-1 early, but Mahomes ran for eight yards to keep the drive alive. On third-and-6 from the 46-yard line, Mahomes found Rice for a gain of 13 yards down to the 49ers 41-yard line. A few plays later, Mahomes and his legs struck again, this time scrambling all the way down to the 13-yard line. A couple plays later, Mahomes found Kelce over the middle for a gain of seven yards down to the 3-yard line. The Chiefs were in prime position in the red zone. The following play, Mahomes rolled out of the pocket and found Hardman for a game-winning touchdown. The Chiefs hit the lottery in Vegas, winning their third Super Bowl in four seasons by a score of 25-22.  

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MICHAEL SPAHN, Sports Writer

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