The San Francisco 49ers faced the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. Here are takeaways and highlights from the game.
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Final Score: Chiefs 25, 49ers 22
For the past two weeks, most of the talk surrounded the 49ers and their No. 2 offense going up against the vaunted Chiefs defense, plus Kyle Shanahan seeking to get the Super Bowl monkey off his back, while Kansas City relished being the underdogs. The 58th Super Bowl ended with the second-ever overtime edition as Kansas City walked off victorious on the big stage once again, 25-22.
A defensive showdown dominated the first half. The opening 49ers drive saw them make it into the red zone before an uncharacteristic Christian McCaffrey fumble gave Kansas City the ball just five plays into the game. A defensive struggle further ensued past the end of the first as the teams went to the second quarter scoreless. Jake Moody booted a Super Bowl record 55-yard field goal to finally open the scoring 12 seconds into the second quarter. A chance was presented for Kansas City to respond not long after, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled near the goal line.
With less than five minutes to go in the half, the 49ers reached deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out a play that evoked memories of the Philly Special from Super Bowl 52. Jauan Jennings, Brock Purdy, and Christian McCaffery executed a perfect trick play to put the 49ers up 10. Kansas City finally got points on the board just before the half, and the teams went to the locker room with San Francisco up seven.
After Usher’s halftime performance, a defensive struggle continued through most of the third quarter, until Harrison Butker one-upped Moody’s hours-old record by booting home a 57-yard field goal to bring the Chiefs within four points. As time wound down in the third, however, a Chiefs punt led to a Ray-Ray McCloud fumble, and Kansas City immediately responded to take their first lead of the game. The score remained at 13-10 to open the final frame.
The fourth quarter began with Purdy finally getting into a rhythm again. The drive ended with Jennings’s second touchdown (and first receiving touchdown) of the night to get the 49ers back in front, though Moody’s extra point attempt was blocked. Kansas City closed in but couldn’t re-take the lead and had to settle for another Butker field goal. With just under six minutes left in regulation, the score was tied at 16.
Moody’s second 50-plus-yard field goal sailed straight through to get the 49ers back in front with 1:53 to go and two timeouts for Kansas City to use. Mahomes did as only he could to get Kansas City back into range to tie the game with another Butker field goal, and for the second time in the Super Bowl era, the game headed to overtime.
In the extra frame, San Francisco made the most of their free possession to get in front once more. Needing a field goal to bring the game to a second overtime or a touchdown to win, Mecole Hardman Jr. caught a pass from Mahomes to end the game. Kyle Shanahan will walk out of Las Vegas still unable to free himself of the Super Bowl curse that hangs over him.
Super Bowl 58 Highlights
CHIEFS BALL!!! pic.twitter.com/S0MONClbls
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 11, 2024
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) February 12, 2024
WE HAVE THE LEAD.
WE REPEAT, WE HAVE THE LEAD!!! pic.twitter.com/7ZCATsbTTk
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 12, 2024
MAHOMES TO MECOLE HARDMAN FOR THE LOMBARDI 😱🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 12, 2024
And with that, the 2023 NFL season has come to an end. 32 teams began this year all gunning for the same piece of hardware that the Chiefs walked away with on Sunday night. A dynasty has now officially been christened in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs, as they have secured their third Lombardi Trophy in five seasons.
Kyle Shanahan will once again face the difficult question this offseason of just what happened as he prepares to run it back in 2024, where there will be a rematch awaiting these 49ers and Chiefs at some point during the season.
For the league as a whole, the Scouting Combine awaits at the end of this month, and a new league year will begin on March 13. The draft happens at the end of April, and after that, the build-up to the 2024 season will begin in earnest.
Next year, the Super Bowl shifts to New Orleans. The last time the Caesars Superdome hosted the big game was Super Bowl 47 between the Ravens and 49ers. Time will tell who travels to New Orleans next February.
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