Pitchers and catchers have reported and USFL doesn’t start until April. Might as well fill the emptiness with a Super Bowl recap!
Super Bowl 57 was a great game, until it wasn’t.
Let me back up for a second.
There are 2 ways for a buzzer beater game to end in the NFL. The first, and more desirable, is when every second counts. Every movement matters, every snap is rushed, every player is running on pure adrenaline.
The second, far less dramatic version is when the team on defense is out of timeouts and the offense can basically run the last 2 minutes out with kneel downs and take a timeout with 4 seconds left (But why 4? Why not 2? Why risk leaving a second on the clock?). Then the kicker comes out for a chip shot that will solidify his name in Super Bowl history.
Except a lot of people already stopped paying attention because that’s the worst possible narrative to end a close game. If you say the NFL is scripted, I’ll say their writers should be fired if they thought that ending was better TV than KC going up 3 and Jalen Hurts having 1:40-ish and no timeouts to win, lose, or tie.
What makes this underwhelming version of a finish even harder to swallow is when it looks like we’re all set up for version 1, but a critical, game-changing penalty leaves us with version 2.
I’m not about to litigate whether a defensive holding occurred. It did. But you can’t convince me there wasn’t a more egregious defensive holding every third play throughout the game that wasn’t called. Literally, not once. That was the only call of any kind on anyone in either secondary all game.
I accept it as a foul. I really do. I do not accept it as consistent with the game. So if you’re one of the people saying if it’s a penalty in the 1st quarter, it’s a penalty in the 4th quarter! …you should ask yourself why it wasn’t called in the 1st quarter. Unless you believe that was the first time that foul or worse happened all game. Is that really what you think?
In any case, in the spirit of the most boring Super Bowl script ever, I’m indifferent to the call. I’d rather talk about the plays, not penalties, that made this game.
Jalen Hurts was masterful all game. Almost all game. 304 yards and a TD passing, 70 yards and 3 TDs rushing, and no picks. But, the fumble. Philly went into halftime with a 24-14 lead that wouldashouldacoulda been 24-7.
That said, the response from Hurts and the offense was impressive. After that apparent momentum-shifting fumble return TD, they marched and still put up 10 more points before the half. And they needed all of them to hang in through the 2nd half.
Nope, this isn’t about the fumble return that was overturned. This is about the 0 turnovers created by Philly’s defense. Zero. I rarely type out numbers, but I’m doing it here to show the importance.
Not even a botched snap or missed handoff. Not even a sack. For all I talked about Philly owning the trenches, KC’s offensive line dominated and even a gimpy Mahomes wasn’t sacked once.
I’m not about to join the Mahomes v. Brady conversation cause it’s a ridiculous comparison that’s unfair to both of them. But what I saw from Mahomes reminded me a lot of Brady. Protect the ball, subtle pocket movements to throw off the rush, take what you’re given and make them pay late in the game for showing their hand too early. It was masterful.
But Philly’s defense was not. No sacks, very little pressure, run through by KC’s running game, and not even a peanut punch or dropped interception. I don’t know if they were just playing safe, but it looked lazy.
There were a lot of important drives, but there was one that really stuck with me. The first half of this drive was fairly plain. Nothing too crazy, save for some hard power running from Isiah Pacheco.
I found that interesting because Pacheco had always been more of a patient runner. It’s almost as if Reid/Bieniemy/Pacheco saw the speed Philly had on defense and said let’s change things up a bit. And the result was Pacheco impressing me even more than he has all year.
As the 3rd quarter closed and KC started moving left to right on my screen, and noticed quite a bit of movement up and down as well and wondered what Reid and Bieniemy were up to. And then came the Toney touchdown on set up by a fake motion, which had been set up by lots of real motion, and I just chuckled at the master class being delivered.
That drive put KC up by a point and it was when you could just feel something special brewing.
Btw, that touchdown play is called Corn Dog.
Then another KC touchdown. 35-27.
THEN a Hurts touchdown AND conversion TO TIE. 35-35.
THEN an INJURED Mahomes midfield 30 YARD SCRAMBLE!
THEN PHILLY’S DEFENSE MAKES A STAND AND THEY MIGHT GET THE BALL BACK WITH ENOUGH TIME TO WIN!
AND THEN! AND THEN!!
Holding, Defense. Everyone takes a 2 minute power nap. Chip shot good. Game over. If that was a script, it was the worst script ever.
Needed an hour or so of Cyberpunk as a palate cleanser before bed. BEEP BEEP M$@?!F%*#!