MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes was struggling, and the Kansas City Chiefs were in huge trouble.
Until the young quarterback coolly brushed aside three quarters of frustration and came through in the clutch.
As he has already done so often in his young career.
Mahomes threw two touchdown passes on consecutive fourth-quarter drives to lead the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory and deliver the franchise its first Super Bowl title in 50 years.
“We have heart,” Mahomes said. “That’s just from Day 1. Coach pushes us to be the best people that we can be, and we never give up.”
The 24-year-old Mahomes was selected the game’s MVP after bouncing back from being intercepted on two straight possessions and seeing the Chiefs’ title hopes appear to be in serious jeopardy.
“We never lost faith,” Mahomes said. “That’s the biggest thing. Everybody on this team, no one had their head down. And we believed in each other. And that’s what we preached all year long — and we had this guy (coach Andy Reid) right here to get us there.
“And we found a way to get it in the end.”
Trailing 20-10, Mahomes and the Chiefs suddenly got going — and didn’t stop until they stood in a confetti shower with the Lombardi Trophy.
And it was the late-game performance of Mahomes that got them where Len Dawson last delivered the Chiefs in 1970.
Mahomes capped a 10-play, 83-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown toss to Travis Kelce that made it 20-17 with 6:13 remaining.
On Kansas City’s next drive, Mahomes zipped the ball around — for 13 yards to Kelce and 3 to Tyreek Hill, before tossing a perfectly placed rainbow toss to Sammy Watkins down the right sideline for 38 yards to get the ball to the 49ers 10.
Three plays later, Mahomes threw a 5-yard pass to Damien Williams, who reached over the goal line — and it stood after a video review — to put Kansas City up 24-20 with 2:44 remaining.
Mahomes flexed both arms and shouted in celebration, letting loose of three quarters of frustration and sensing a Super Bowl title.
After Kansas City stopped Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers on fourth down, Williams ran for 4 yards — and then sealed the win by zipping 38 yards into the end zone for a 31-20 lead with 1:12 left.
It was reminiscent of the divisional round when Kansas City fell behind early against Houston before Mahomes led the Chiefs back from a 24-point deficit to tally the greatest comeback in franchise history.
The Chiefs weren’t in nearly as big a hole in this one, but the 49ers were making it tough all night for Mahomes to get in a rhythm.
Mahomes finished 26 of 42 for 286 yards and the two scores, and also had a 1-yard touchdown run against the 49ers.
“Coach Reid told me after both of them (interceptions) to keep firing,” Mahomes said. “Keep believing in your eyes, keep throwing it. He gives me the confidence to go out there no matter what I do, and it worked out well in the end.”