From a rookie sensation in a losing effort to a no-name buried on the depth chart, Breakout Live examines the top players from Super Bowl LIV.
The rookie who got his nickname from the neighborhood bully character in the 1995 movie “Friday,” bullied the Chiefs on the Niners opening drive, setting a Super Bowl record for longest rush by a receiver with a 32-yard end around that Samuel nearly took all the way. Deebo would later best Percy Harvin’s Super Bowl record 45-yard rushing total on a 3rd quarter scamper, ending with 3 totes for a Super Bowl record 53 yards.
On a team that features reception machine, George Kittle, Samuel also led the team in receptions with 5 for 39 yards. While Deebo was making big plays, the 49ers built a 10-point lead heading into the 4th quarter. Samuel curiously had zero touches in the fateful 4th quarter, when the Niners squandered a glorious opportunity to hoist the Lombardi. The dynamic rookie left Super Bowl LIV on the losing end, but would walk away with two Super Bowl records.
What a meteoric rise for Damien Williams. Buried on the Chiefs depth chart behind Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware at the beginning of the 2018 season, to a lucrative contract extension by that season’s end, Williams looked like the Chiefs #1 running back heading into 2019. However, the Chiefs signed LeSean McCoy prior to Week 1, casting doubt on Williams’ role as the lead back given the past connection with Andy Reid in Philadelphia. By season’s end, Shady McCoy was a healthy scratch and made inactive for the Super Bowl (must’ve been some fear from the Chiefs in having too many former Buffalo Bills active for a Super Bowl), clearing the path for Williams to be the main man on the ground.
Williams did not disappoint, with 17 carries for 104 yards and 4 catches for 29 yards. It was Williams on a 5-yard touchdown catch that gave the Chiefs the lead in the 4th quarter, and his 38-yard touchdown run late in the 4th that iced the Chiefs first ever Lombardi.
Going simply by the box score, this was far from Patrick Mahomes’ best game from a numbers perspective. There were the two 2nd half interceptions, the 26-42 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, pretty pedestrian by the standard set by the fast-becoming face of the NFL. Where Mahomes’ legend grew was 3rd and 15, down by 10, with just over 7 minutes remaining, when hit Tyreek Hill for a critical 44-yard connection. That would be the beginning of the end for San Francisco and their seemingly insurmountable 10-point 4th quarter lead.
As Mahomes often does, he flipped a switch late and led his team to three 4th quarter touchdowns, turning a 10-point deficit into an 11-point win. Mahomes became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to victory in three consecutive postseason games after trailing by 10 or more points and was crowned Super Bowl MVP.
Honorable mention to the much-maligned head coach often on the receiving end of stinging criticism for his clock mismanagement and overall poor decision-making in key situations. Always considered a very good coach, Reid could never quite get a team over the hump… until Super Bowl LIV. Welcome to greatness, coach.