Analysis Opinion

Winners and losers from Super Bowl LIV

They finally did it. After 50 years of watching the big game from home, the Kansas City Chiefs have finally won the Super Bowl. 50 years of great defenses but offenses that couldn’t produce. 50 years of juggernaut offenses but defenses that were gashed repeatedly. The Chiefs could never quite put together the perfect formula, until now. With one of the most prolific offenses in the history of the league, the defense proved that they can hold their own. This game had plenty of highs and lows and here is a list of winners and losers from Super Bowl LIV.

Winner – Chris Jones DT Chiefs

If you looked at Chris Jones’ stat line you wouldn’t think that he was any kind of factor in this game. He had zero sacks and zero tackles. But what he did do was bat down three passes in the fourth quarter that was detrimental in the Chiefs comeback. The first deflection came on a second-down throw when the 49ers were up by three. It forced a critical third-down that San Francisco couldn’t overcome. The second and third deflections came when the Chiefs had the lead and the defense had to protect it. Jones also brought the pressure in the first half that allowed Bashaud Breeland to come away with an interception. Making those kinds of impacts on the biggest stage bodes well for a player who is looking to get a new contract in 2020.

Loser – LeSean McCoy RB Chiefs

LeSean McCoy was inactive for the Super Bowl. It is the second straight game with that status, and he had only played one snap in the Divisional game. When the Chiefs signed McCoy after the preseason this year, there was a bit of excitement among fans who were hoping to get the running back who was almost unstoppable in Philadelphia. That was not the guy they got. There were small flashes here and there early in the season, but as games went on, McCoy showed that he was more of a liability than an asset. In just 13 games played, he had three total fumbles, losing two of them. With Damien Williams returning to full health late in the season, it was clear that McCoy wasn’t needed as much in the run game.

Winner – Sammy Watkins WR Chiefs

Sammy Watkins shows up in big games and this one was the biggest game of his career. Watkins had five receptions for 98 yards, including a 38-yard pass to set up the touchdown to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. He finished the playoffs with 288-yards and a touchdown. Many people bring up Watkins’ contract as a concern moving forward, but his plays in big moments are proving that he is worth every penny.

Loser – Richard Sherman CB 49ers

Richard Sherman was covering Watkins on that 38-yard pass play. Watkins burned him. Watkins told the media after the game that he saw Devonte Adams do a similar play against Sherman in the NFC Championship game. To make matters worse for the cornerback, on the following touchdown to Damien Williams, Sherman had a chance to push Williams out of bounds but was too late. Richard Sherman still has a couple of good years left in this league, but he is nowhere near the player he was when he played for the Legion of Boom.

Winner – Damien Williams RB Chiefs

There is a strong consensus that Damien Williams should have been the MVP of Super Bowl LIV. He rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries, including the 38-yard touchdown to seal the win. Last season, Williams looked like he was going to be the team’s starting running back for the foreseeable future. However, after the club signed McCoy, and Williams battled injuries, the running back spot had never been more uncertain. Williams came back, though, and in the playoffs, he racked up nearly 200 total yards and six touchdowns. Next season, the job should be his to lose.

Loser – Jimmy Garoppolo QB 49ers

One of the major questions was whether or not Jimmy Garoppolo could go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes. For three and a half quarters he did but when it became a three-point game and Jimmy G had to protect the lead he went three and out, throwing two incompletions. After the Chiefs took the lead Garoppolo went 2-4 and took a sack on fourth down. One of those incompletions was an overthrown deep ball to a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders that would have regained the lead. Finally, when the Chiefs are up 11 points and the 49ers need a miracle, Jimmy G threw an interception. Can Jimmy Garoppolo go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes? The answer is no.

Winner – Patrick Mahomes QB Chiefs

The first three and a half quarters of this game didn’t play out the way Patrick Mahomes had hoped. He saw lots of pressure from a relentless 49er front four and his throws were not on the mark. Mahomes had never thrown an interception in any of his previous playoff games. By midway through the fourth quarter, he had two. It certainly looked like it wasn’t going to be his night. Then 3rd and 15 happened. Mahomes threw a bomb to an open Tyreek Hill for 44 yards and set up the touchdown to get within three points of the 49ers. 3rd and 15 is right where the Chiefs want them. Patrick Mahomes this season is 13-17 for 299 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks when throwing on 3rd and 15 or more. That is not supposed to happen. But for number 15, 3rd and 15 is no big deal. After that play, the rest is history and now Patrick Mahomes is the youngest player in NFL history to have an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl MVP under his belt.

Loser – Kyle Shanahan Head Coach 49ers

Kyle Shanahan is one of the brightest young head coaches in the NFL and he has done some great things in his three years with the 49ers. However, he is now known for blowing the lead in not one, but two Super Bowls. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons when they played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead and lost the game in overtime. Fast forward to this past Sunday and once again, a Kyle Shanahan led offense blew a big lead in the Super Bowl and lost. Granted, this wasn’t a 25-point lead, but it was two scores and it was late in the game. He went away from what got him there and put all of his trust in a former Patriots back-up quarterback (Don’t worry Kyle, the Chiefs have done that too). Shanahan has a really good team and they may get back to this game, but I bet it takes a while to get over this one.

Winner – Andy Reid Head Coach Chiefs

Big Red finally got one. Now to most people, Andy Reid was already headed to Canton when he retires, but for those few that would’ve argued it, they no longer have a case. With his 222nd win, Reid is now a Super Bowl Champion head coach. What he spent 14 years trying to do in Philadelphia, he was able to accomplish in year seven with the Chiefs. He came to Kansas City after possibly their worst year as a franchise and was able to turn them into a playoff team in one season. And now he has done something for Kansas City that hasn’t been done since Hank Stram did it during the 1969 season. Nobody in the NFL deserves this win more than Andy Reid.

Loser – The national media haters

Certain members of the national media have always hated on the Kansas City Chiefs even during the Mahomes era. I am not sure what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that the Chiefs are a smaller market, so the media thinks that they don’t deserve the attention or respect. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk went as far as to suggest that the 49ers should take cheap shots at Mahomes, regardless of a penalty, to gain an edge in the game. He then later went on to complain about a clean hit on Jimmy Garoppolo while inbounds. Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless has always been critical of the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. He stated on his show, Undisputed, that the Chiefs are full of themselves and offensive coordinator Eric Beinemy was arrogant.

He would also say, after the Super Bowl, that Mahomes’ 3rd and 15 pass was “pretty lucky”.

I am not too sure what the reason for the hate is, but I do know that the Chiefs are Super Bowl champions and Florio and Bayless are going to have to spend the entire offseason talking about it. And if Skip thought they were arrogant before, wait until next season.

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