By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
Patrick Mahomes didn’t lose the Super Bowl for the Kansas City Chiefs.
His team’s sloppy defense, poor line play, predictable playcalling, and dropped balls did.
Kansas City fell into the trap of failing to adjust in the early part of the game, and simply waited for the game to come to them.
It didn’t happen, and the Chiefs failed to generate their usual offensive explosion.
To borrow Shakespeare’s line, the Chiefs were “hoisted on their own petard.”
Their faults, often masked by Mahomes’ heroics, were exposed.
They eventually would leave Mahomes as the sacrificial lamb.
Mahomes, however, showed everyone how he is the most elusive and likely the most talented quarterback in the league.
He attempted or completed some passes in a twisting configuration that seemed humanly impossible. He is the best and most effective scrambler throwing on the run since Fran Tarkenton, and Steve Young and even better.
At times, he looked like a sidearm pitcher delivering his attempt.
Yes, Tom Brady won his seventh title in a vintage, near flawless performance, but Mahomes accounted for 497 yards running all over the field — according to Next Gen stats– from defenders like a spoofed and scared deer in cornfield. Ironically, he broke his own mark of 495 set against the Raiders early in the regular season.
He was sacked three times, took eight hits, and was pressured a Super Bowl record 29 times.
The Chiefs downplayed the fact they didn’t have tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz in the lineup.
That narrative changed quickly and Mahomes looked like he was scrambling in delirium. Still, Mahomes maintained his composure unlike some of his secondary mates, mainly defensive leader Tyrann Mathieu.
Offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, regarded as the best coaching candidate (overrated) and still hasn’t been hired, again abandoned the running game until he had to jump start his offense in the second half with handoffs to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who basically was a decoy in the first half.
Bienemy failed to get the ball across the middle enough to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce after Tampa effectively shut down the outside lines and the deep ball. Hill, Kelce and others failed to catch balls that hit them in catchable places.
As for Mathieu and his highly touted secondary teammates, they were the victims of a pass rush that slowed Brady the time to pick them apart, and they also flagged early for their mugging techniques and failed to abandon it when they needed.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnoulo, who devised a brilliant plan with the Giants to stop Brady in an earlier Super Bowl, didn’t have any answers for the GOAT.
Mahomes had a 26-for-49, two interception, 270 yards and 33 rushing yards evening. He always had the ability to take over a game, but he didn’t have the support he usually does.
Tampa Bay’s defense also played a monumental role in handcuffing his progress.
The Chiefs have an offseason to examine what happened in their embarrassing 31-9 defeat and to begin to now fix some obvious issues.
One thing will be certain – let Mahomes be Mahomes.