NFL Reactions: Super Bowl LVII

NFL Reactions: Super Bowl LVII

This article is part of our NFL Reactions series.

Congratulations to Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes has a resume that puts him in the equation as the second-best quarterback to ever play, behind Tom Brady- at least for now! 

I love the Chiefs. I love the Eagles. Honestly, I love every team in the league. I have no personal stake in which team won. But I hate that much of the postgame discussion will be about the officiating. Many feel that a championship cannot be decided on that defensive holding call. Many will feel cheated that Instead of what could have been one of the most amazing finishes ever seen in a Super Bowl, it ended with a few kneel downs and a chip-shot field goal while waiting for the clock to run out. Again, I'm very excited for the Chiefs and their fans, and that's all that matters. History will simply record this as a 38-35 victory. However, I am not excited about answering questions about the referees this upcoming week. I just want to talk about these amazing teams and players. Unfortunately, I can foresee my fate this week!

First-Half Reactions

  • The Chiefs decided to sell out to stop the run to start the game. It made sense, as the Eagles were likely to try to impose their will on the ground. In addition, Kansas City likely wanted to see how healthy Jalen Hurts' shoulder was. They found out quickly that Hurts was fine. With the defense focusing on the run, they were undermanned against A.J. Brown

Congratulations to Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes has a resume that puts him in the equation as the second-best quarterback to ever play, behind Tom Brady- at least for now! 

I love the Chiefs. I love the Eagles. Honestly, I love every team in the league. I have no personal stake in which team won. But I hate that much of the postgame discussion will be about the officiating. Many feel that a championship cannot be decided on that defensive holding call. Many will feel cheated that Instead of what could have been one of the most amazing finishes ever seen in a Super Bowl, it ended with a few kneel downs and a chip-shot field goal while waiting for the clock to run out. Again, I'm very excited for the Chiefs and their fans, and that's all that matters. History will simply record this as a 38-35 victory. However, I am not excited about answering questions about the referees this upcoming week. I just want to talk about these amazing teams and players. Unfortunately, I can foresee my fate this week!

First-Half Reactions

  • The Chiefs decided to sell out to stop the run to start the game. It made sense, as the Eagles were likely to try to impose their will on the ground. In addition, Kansas City likely wanted to see how healthy Jalen Hurts' shoulder was. They found out quickly that Hurts was fine. With the defense focusing on the run, they were undermanned against A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, as the Eagles had little trouble putting points on the board. That's been the dilemma all year for defenses when facing Philadelphia. When they're clicking, they can beat you in any way.
  • When breaking this game down, my assumption was that Travis Kelce would continue to be unstoppable. Defenses have known all year that he is the player who needs to be contained. On the first couple drives of the game, he was wide open on three different occasions while posting 60 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, the Chiefs didn't run many offensive plays for the rest of the first half, so he was mostly invisible in the second quarter. With the Chiefs limiting Patrick Mahomes' second-half throws, Kelce barely reached the over on his yardage prop.
  • Although there weren't many penalties in the first half, there were some pivotal ones that had significant consequences. These all seemed to be legitimate penalties, and each of them fell into the category of 'lack of discipline.'
    • Zach Pascal committed offensive pass interference, which put the Eagles in a first-and-20, leading to a first-quarter punt.
    • Frank Clark had a defensive offside that moved the chains for the Eagles on a third-and-four on a drive that led to an Eagles TD.
    • Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo was offside on a third-and-one, putting Philly in a third-and-six situation. On the ensuing play, Jalen Hurts coughed up a fumble that was returned for a TD by Chiefs' linebacker Nick Bolton.
  • During the second quarter, on one of the few plays that Patrick Mahomes had to scramble, he was tackled when a defender got a hold of his injured ankle. As a football fan, I was hoping this wouldn't happen, but I also realized that this was always a real possibility.  At the moment of the injury, I felt he would return, but I was concerned as to how he would fare against this Philly defense. Pulling out a playoff game while injured against Jacksonville was one thing, but doing so against this defense would likely be a much greater challenge.

Second-Half Reactions

  • To the surprise of nobody (haven't we learned not to question Superman yet?), on the first drive of the second half after Mahomes re-injured his ankle, he immediately moved the Chiefs down the field for a quick touchdown. And of course, a pivotal play was him sprinting for 14 yards on a third-down play. He later had a pivotal run on the game-winning drive. There aren't enough superlatives to fully grasp his greatness.
  • Despite Mahomes' clutch play, the Chiefs ran the ball more than usual in the second half. And even though they were successful, it seemed that the increased running was a direct reaction to Mahomes playing injured. Fortunately, the Chiefs have an excellent run-blocking line, which benefitted them in situations when they need to run the ball. They ended up attempting 27 passes while running the ball 26 times. And the run game was consistently excellent, as Kansas City ran for over six yards per carry. Actually, their passing production only resulted in 24 more yards than their rushing attack.
  • With great teams facing off, big plays often are the difference. In addition to Bolton's fumble-return TD, Kadarius Toney's 65-yard punt return put the Chiefs in a great position after they scored a TD to go up by eight points with nine minutes left. For those who asked if the acquisition of Toney was worth a third-round pick, a play like this in the Super Bowl makes that a deal the Chiefs would complete every time.

Other Reactions

  • The Chiefs offense was a machine in the second half. They scored on every possession. Had they not needed to kick a field goal in the waning seconds, they could have scored TDs on all four drives. Of course, the Toney punt return gave them a short field on one possession, but with the way the Chiefs were moving the ball, it may not have mattered.
  • This was an offensive-lover's dream. Each team scored in every quarter. But the only quarter that each team didn't score a TD was when the Eagles kicked a field goal in the third quarter. 
  • After Philly went into the half with a 24-14 lead, they will likely be frustrated that they couldn't hold the lead. They certainly were hoping their pass rush would have been a factor. However, between the Chiefs getting the ball out quickly in the passing game and having success on the ground, they mostly eliminated that aspect of the Eagles defense. 
  • I would have loved to see Jalen Hurts have a chance to drive the Eagles down the field in the last two minutes. He was amazing. He put the entire offense on his back as both a runner and a passer. As impressive as his 70 yards and three TDs on the ground were, his 304 yards through the air on this stage was impressive.
  • Finally, how is it possible that the NFL can have the Super Bowl played on a field in which there are poor field conditions? The fact that players were slipping and had to change cleats is mind blowing. And when the announcers stated that the Chiefs had an issue with the field conditions when facing Arizona earlier in the season really made this frustrating. Certainly, this was equal for both teams, but if a player was seriously injured because of the field conditions, it really could have tainted the biggest game of the year. Fortunately, it seemed that the teams adjusted well to the field in the second half.
  • Well, that's the last 'Reactions' article for this season. I'll have a different weekly column in the offseason. I am going to miss having NFL action every weekend.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Coventry
Coventry was a finalist for the FSWA football writer of the year in 2022. He started playing fantasy football in 1994 and won a national contest in 1996. He also nabbed five top-50 finishes in national contests from 2008 to 2012 before turning his attention to DFS. He's been an industry analyst since 2007, though he joined RotoWire in 2016. A published author, Coventry wrote a book about relationships, "The Secret of Life", in 2013.
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