2020 Super Bowl: Mahomes catches fire late, leads Chiefs to 31-20 comeback win

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes overcame costly interceptions to lead three fourth-quarter touchdown drives as Kansas City beat the San Francisco 49ers.
Image: Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after throwing a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Mahomes was the game's MVP.Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

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By Alex Johnson

Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs' otherworldly quarterback, overcame several mistakes to lead the Chiefs to a 31-20 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers in the 54th Super Bowl.

It was the 222nd career victory for the Chiefs' Andy Reid, who before Sunday had been the coach with the most wins without a championship in NFL history. The Chiefs hadn't been back to the title game since they won the fourth Super Bowl 50 years ago, in January 1970.

Mahomes threw two costly interceptions and was off-target on numerous other pass attempts. But he exploited his astonishing athleticism to avoid the pass rush of the 49ers' defense, which was ranked No. 1 in the league, to pick up 286 yards with two touchdowns on 26-of-42 passing at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

"It was a beautiful thing," Reid said after the game.

Full coverage of the 2020 Super Bowl

Mahomes' unusual combination of elusiveness and sheer strength was shown on a run late in the Chiefs' first touchdown drive. He scrambled around right end for 10 yards to the 49ers' 4-yard line — where he was clobbered by San Francisco safety Jamie Ward, sending the ball flying out of bounds.

It was Ward who needed medical attention as Mahomes popped back to his feet.

Three plays later, Mahomes — the Chiefs' leading rusher during the playoffs — pivoted, faked a pitchout and dived into the end zone from the 1, capping a 15-play, 75-yard drive.

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Mahomes was named the game's most valuable player, but it wasn't smooth sailing for the Chiefs. The 49ers limited Kansas City to 156 yards in the first half, only 104 of them through the air. Then, with the 49ers ahead, 13-10, Mahomes threw an interception to the 49ers' Fred Warner on the Chiefs' first possession of the second half, which quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers' offense turned into a 55-yard touchdown drive to go ahead by 10 points.

The Chiefs trailed, 20-10, going into the fourth quarter. Then Mahomes — the league's Most Valuable Player in 2018 and its seventh-leading passer in 2019 — took over. He needed just 2 minutes, 40 seconds to drive the Chiefs 83 yards, cutting the deficit to 20-17, with a short touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce.

The Chiefs held the 49ers and got the ball back at their 40-yard line with about 5 minutes to play. In another blitz-like drive, Mahomes marched the Chiefs 65 yards in 2 minutes and 26 seconds, completing the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams to go ahead, 24-20.

With less than three minutes to play, Garoppolo couldn't match Mahomes' heroics. The Chiefs got the ball back and scored again on a 38-yard run by Williams, sending the Chiefs — who were trounced by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, 35-10, in the first Super Bowl in 1967 — heading home Sunday night with the NFL championship trophy named for Lombardi.