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Graney: Mahomes rises to occasion again in ‘unbelievable’ performance

Updated February 12, 2024 - 12:49 pm

San Francisco had just taken a 22-19 lead in overtime of Super Bowl 58 on Sunday, just kicked a field goal to put it one defensive stop away from a sixth world championship, when something was overheard in the Allegiant Stadium press box.

“Kyle Shanahan must be scared to death right now given who’s on the other sideline.”

Patrick Mahomes has that sort of effect on opposing coaches.

One of the best to ever take a snap did it again.

He’s an amazing player. Just incredible. A magician unlike anything we’ve seen before at quarterback. And now, a three-time Super Bowl champion.

Mahomes did as you might expect in leading the Chiefs on a game-winning drive to secure a 25-22 win against the 49ers.

Yep. The guy walked it off. Another ending made for Hollywood by the A-list star.

The first Super Bowl played in Las Vegas couldn’t have scripted a better and more thrilling end. It was a game that struggled for excitement through three quarters but more than made up for it late. It was once again Mahomes rallying his team in the biggest of moments, much like he did four years ago against these 49ers.

“It means a ton,” Mahomes said while basking in the glow of back-to-back titles. “This is awesome. It’s legendary.”

Just like him.

Second to Brady

That legend wrote another chapter here. His chase of Tom Brady as the greatest quarterback to play the game took another step forward. He might still trail Brady and those seven titles by a significant margin, but Mahomes is more than just in the conversation. He’s in the same area code now.

He should be second to Brady on any such all-time list.

“Mahomes is really good,” 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy said, providing the night’s leading understatement. “You just don’t want to give (him) an opportunity to go down and win the game off a touchdown.”

This was Mahomes’ second Super Bowl game-winning drive in as many seasons. And it was historic.

It included a Mahomes scramble for 8 yards on fourth-and-1. It included a pass for 7 yards to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and one of 13 to Rashee Rice. Mahomes scrambled for 19 more. He hit Travis Kelce for 7 yards. That put the ball at the San Francisco 3.

That’s when it happened. Mahomes rolled right and found a wide open Mecole Hardman for a touchdown and Super Bowl victory.

This, after Mahomes led the Chiefs on an 11-play, 64-yard drive to set up a game-tying field goal by Harrison Butker with three seconds remaining in regulation.

Just more of the magic that makes Mahomes — now a three-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player — so gifted.

“I was brought into this culture,” Mahomes said. “I just wanted to keep pushing to be better. We battled until the end, just like this entire season. This is really special. We find a way.”

They were underdogs against Buffalo in these playoffs and won. Underdogs against the Ravens and won. Underdogs on Sunday night. They struggled offensively throughout large parts of the season, not clicking the way we had become accustomed to under coach Andy Reid.

But how at this point can you bet against Mahomes in these times? How can you doubt his ability under the brightest of lights?

Witnessing greatness

“Kansas City, I’ll see you at the parade,” Mahomes said to a throng of Chiefs fans going delirious in the stands. “Let’s do it, baby.”

He did. We continue to witness greatness.

Kyle Shanahan’s team kicked a field goal, took the lead in overtime and handed the ball to Patrick Mahomes. It really must be the scariest feeling in football.

We saw why yet again.

“He’s unbelievable,” Chiefs tackle Jawaan Taylor said. “That’s it.”

That’s all.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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