How Chiefs won Super Bowl 58: Breaking down Patrick Mahomes’ OT drive, ‘Corn dog’ play-call that beat 49ers

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How good was Patrick Mahomes leading a game-winning comeback for the Chiefs in Super Bowl 58? He did it four times, with his team finally beating the 49ers 25-22 in overtime.

The 49ers led the game 10-0 late in the first half. They led 16-13 and then again 19-16 in the fourth quarter. Mahomes was special erasing those deficits by orchestrating clutch field-goal drives. He parlayed that into a spectacular performance on the Chiefs’ lone possession that flipped a 22-19 OT deficit into a Super Bowl repeat for his team and a third Super Bowl MVP for him.

The 13-play, 75-yard drive will go down as one of the best in NFL history. It took 7:19 of the remaining 7:22 left on the clock to get it done. Here’s looking back at how the Chiefs took the lead for good in Super Bowl 58.

How the Chiefs beat the 49ers: Patrick Mahomes’ game-winning drive in Super Bowl 58

No punch from Pacheco, but all maestro Mahomes 

The drive started meh with a two-yard pound inside by running back Isiah Pacheco. Then Mahomes, who miscommunicated with rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice at the end of regulation, went right back to him for a key nine-yard gain on second down. Rice was put in motion, looked like he was going to run his route inside, and pivoted to open space outside to get just short of the first down.

When Pacheco was stuffed on 3rd-and-short, Mahomes set up in the shotgun, giving the 49ers some fear it would be a pass play. Instead, the Chiefs used a moving Kelce to give Mahomes the extra room on the edge he needed on the option-looking keeper.

The eight-yard run gave the Chiefs new life, and Mahomes set the tone for what was to come with plenty of patience and, of course, no panic.

MVP to MVS, but Rice strikes twice

The Chiefs put veteran wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in motion to the right of Mahomes on 1st-and-10, having him settle for a short pass. Unfortunately, MVS decided to retreat in the face of 49ers would-be tackles, ending up with an inexplicable three-yard loss after the catch.

What did Mahomes do? He knew that play still “worked” and trusted MVS on the next play, an easy seven-yard completion vs. zone defense with the 49ers giving plenty of cushion with five defensive backs. On the ensuing 3rd-and-6 from the Chiefs’ 46, the 49ers made the mistake of showing blitz to Mahomes and also coming through on it, leaving an open Rice streaking with plenty of open field ahead for a 13-yard gain.

First down again, this time at the 49ers’ 41, just outside game-tying field-goal range for Harrison Butker.

Mahomes to Pacheco, his way

With Pacheco’s running proving futile early, he still came up huge on the final drive as an outlet receiver. First, with 3:33 now left, Mahomes made the smart decision not to force the ball downfield into coverage, beating a potential sack by Nick Bosa with a short checkdown to his running back for four yards. Then the 49ers brought heat again, and the Chiefs ran another well-timed screen, this time with Pacheco getting a key five yards to set up another 3rd-and-short.

Mahomes’ wheels are turning

Mahomes didn’t want to face another 4th-and-short, clearly, when he took one quick look right, one quick look left, then decided to take off and run, using his legs to his advantage like he had all night long in regulation. The red, gold, and white seas parted for him to rumble 19 yards to set up a first down at the 49ers’ 13.

Mahomes ended up with 66 rushing yards to go along with 333 passing yards to lead the Chiefs.

Mahomes’ magical finishing touch

The Chiefs get resettled on first down with a short Pacheco red-zone run to take it to the 10-yard line. Then Mahomes made sure to get tight end Travis Kelce involved at the right time, throwing him a short pass at the line of scrimmage and letting his go-to guy fight through for the needed seven yards to set up 1st-and-goal at the three-yard line with only 40 seconds left in the first overtime. 

Then came the master stroke that everyone knew was coming. Working off fake inside motion by wide receiver Mecole Hardman, Mahomes drew the entire 49ers defense toward the middle of the field, also taking advantage of Kelce’s looming threat.

“Corn Dog,” as the play was called, will go down in Chiefs’ lore with “Jet Chip Wasp,” the connection between Mahomes and Tyreek Hill that burned the 49ers in Super Bowl 54. Hardman, who started the season with the Jets, scored a la Kadarius Toney (inactive for this game) in Super Bowl 57 to get this third ring, too. It was pitch. It was catch. It was inevitable.

Mahomes made play after play to rally the Chiefs in Super Bowl 58, but as he tends to do almost all the time in his now three-ring career, he somehow still saved the very best for last.

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