MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Super Bowl’s return to South Florida after 13 years came during an important anniversary for the NFL, since the 54th game of its kind would come during the centennial season for the league.
But other numbers were on the minds of the participants at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday night under a perfect South Florida sky. For the Chiefs, it was 50, representing the number of years since they’d won a Super Bowl in what was their last appearance in January of 1970.
As for the 49ers, it was a 25 years wait for their last championship as they were back in the big game for the first time since February of 2013.
One of these droughts was about to end on Sunday night in Miami Gardens, and it was Kansas City that was able to bring their number of years without a title to zero.
Down by ten in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs rallied with a trio of fourth quarter touchdown drives to beat San Francisco 31-20 for their second Super Bowl title in franchise history. It also is the first championship for longtime NFL head coach Andy Reid, who wins the championship in his 21st season.
The first half featured a relatively even match-up as the teams traded scores over thirty minutes. After stopping the Chiefs on the first drive of the game, the 49ers took it 62 yards downfield before stalling out, settling for a Robbie Gould 38-yard field goal to make it 3-0. Kansas City responded by reaching the endzone late in the quarter as a Patrick Mahomes’ QB sneak completed a 75-yard score to make it 7-3. Jimmy Garappolo committed the first turnover of the game in the second quarter when his attempt to his right under pressure off-target and intercepted by Bashaud Breeland.
The Chiefs got a field goal from Harrison Butker out of that, but the 49ers responded on their next drive with a strong ground attack that gained 38 yards. That set up Garoppolo, who found Kyle Juszczyk over the middle for the 11-yard score to even the game up by ten.
The third quarter would belong to San Francisco, as they started off the half with a 60-yard drive and a 42-yard Gould field goal to grab the lead. Mahomes then made his first mistake of the game as he was picked off by Fred Warner which set up another 49ers’ scoring march. Garoppolo completed three passes for 52 yards before Raheem Mostert punched it in from one yard out to make it 20-10.
Despite another interception on the following drive, Mahomes rallied the Chiefs back for a scoring drive in the middle of the fourth quarter,. Aided by a 44-yard completion to Tyreek Hill on 3rd-and-15, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a short score to complete a 92-yard drive to cut the lead to three. After a stop on defense, Kansas City got down the field quickly again with five completions from Mahomes, the last coming to Damien Williams for the touchdown.
The running back was able to barely get the nose of the ball over the line before stepping out of bounds, but after replay confirmed, the Chiefs had a 24-20 lead.
Garoppolo got the ball back one more time but was sacked on fourth down to end that drive around midfield. Williams would finish it off in style for Kansas City, scoring a 38-yard rushing touchdown to end 50 years of frustration for the Chiefs on a beautiful night in San Francisco.