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Kansas City Chiefs win 3rd Super Bowl in 5 years in OT against San Francisco 49ers


In between the Super Bowl commercials last night, there was also a football game - pretty good one for Taylor Swift and anyone else who may have been watching. The Kansas City Chiefs fell behind, then pulled ahead, then fell behind, and then won over the San Francisco 49ers in overtime - the final score 25 to 22. ESPN's Martenzie Johnson was watching. Good morning, sir.

MARTENZIE JOHNSON: Good morning. How are you Steve?

INSKEEP: Oh, I'm doing OK. So I was watching the early going, and it just really felt like the 49ers had come to play, and the Chiefs didn't. Like, the Chiefs were really lucky not to be far behind. And eventually they were behind 10-nothing. So how did they turn it around?

JOHNSON: Basically mistakes by the 49ers. That's the one thing that you can't do against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, and they did that. Like you said, they did get out to 10 early. But it could have been far worse for the Chiefs. There was a fumble on the first drive by the 49ers and then a holding call on their second drive, and they just kept the Chiefs in the game for the entire rest of the game until we get into overtime. But basically, the mistakes by the 49ers, but then the Chiefs got it rolling in the second half. The defense stepped up a lot. And obviously, the receivers caught passes for the Chiefs this time. And Patrick Mahomes was just inevitable, as he always is.

INSKEEP: Well, let me talk about Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback. For those who don't follow this all the time, he can pass. He can also run. He scrambles incredibly well. And it appeared in the early going that the 49ers' defense had contained him. They kept him from running all around the field. Did he eventually adjust as the game went on?

JOHNSON: He did. So he didn't have many throwing lanes. He had to hold on to the ball a lot in the first half, but then he started dicing them up in the second. I'm not a schematics person, but he found time to get the receivers open. And like you said, he faced times - third and inches, fourth and inches - where he just took off himself. He realized I'm not going to be able to throw it at anyone. I don't have the passing lanes that I need, so I just have to get this myself. And it's just very reminiscent of a Michael Jordan or LeBron James or Tom Brady, where it's like, nothing else is working, so I'm just going to rely solely on myself. And you saw it again in regulation and, obviously, in overtime.

INSKEEP: So I'm old enough to remember when the 49ers were the inevitable team in Super Bowls. They just won no matter what decades ago. Now, it seems like the Chiefs are the inevitable team for the moment, and the 49ers have lost a few times. What does another loss mean for coach Kyle Shanahan and his team?

JOHNSON: Let me just start by saying I was not alive during the 49ers' initial run.

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

JOHNSON: So this is brand new to me.


JOHNSON: But as far as Shanahan, you got to feel bad for him when he was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons when they played the Patriots, they were up 28-3; they lose. When he was the head coach of the 49ers a couple of years ago, when they play the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, they're up 10 points against the Chiefs, and they lose. And then this one, again, up 10-0, up late in the fourth quarter, and they lose again. It just means he has a difficulty getting over the hump.

There were some questionable play calls. I saw something about how they should have taken the ball second in overtime rather than first. So it's just small things. They're right there, though. But the main thing I zero in on on Shanahan is he really loves to have - I won't say mediocre - but average quarterbacks and hoping that they can take him to the Super Bowl - Garoppolo, Brock Purdy. And, really, you just need a - you need an elite quarterback 'cause at the end, Brock Purdy facing third and five, I believe, had to throw the ball away when Patrick Mahomes (ph) got there. If you have a lead quarterback, you might win this game. That's the only thing stopping them.

INSKEEP: OK. ESPN's Martenzie Johnson. Thanks for your analysis. Really appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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