The Chiefs’ Super Bowl 57 Win Was Everything It Was Supposed To Be

The Kansas City Chiefs made a bet in the offseason. Last March, the Chiefs traded away Tyreek Hill with the hope the offense could still function at a high level because Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid exist. In the regular season, Kansas City led the league in EPA per play on offense. 11 months later, the Chiefs are again Super Bowl champions with a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

A second Super Bowl victory isn’t legacy-defining for Mahomes and Reid because there is still the potential for more with Mahomes just 27 years old and finishing his sixth season in the NFL. Amid retirement speculation, Reid stated he’s having fun and he’ll be back. Wherever they are in their journey together, there’s little question we’re already witnessing one of the best coach-quarterback combinations we’ve seen and it was so apparent throughout the game.

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The win, clearly, was more than just those two but what the duo did, especially when coming into the second half down 10 points with a hobbled Mahomes, made it clear why the Chiefs would be able to rely on the league’s best offense whenever it was needed. The way Kansas City played and succeeded in the game was a culmination of everything the Chiefs believed they could be after the trade.

Mahomes didn’t have the impressive volume stats — he only finished with 182 passing yards, which was his lowest total in a game this season — but his efficiency was incredible. He averaged 0.45 EPA per dropback, which was the best for a quarterback outside of the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl in the 2017 season.

Top 10 Quarterback EPA per Dropback In Super Bowl Since 2000
data per TruMedia

PlayerSuper BowlEPA/Dropback
Tom BradyLII0.47
Nick FolesLII0.47
Patrick MahomesLVII0.45
Russell WilsonXLVIII0.45
Drew BreesXLIV0.40
Tom BradyXXXVIII0.38
Tom BradyXLIX0.36
Russell WilsonXLIX0.35
Colin KaepernickXLVII0.30
Jalen HurtsLVII0.30

We might not have gotten a superhuman throw from Mahomes — a deep shot from an impossible arm angle into a tight window with otherworldly accuracy — but that was part of the point. The Chiefs were never in the wrong play. Everything was controlled. The game plan and execution were nearly perfect. That’s where the superstardom of Mahomes shined through. The Chiefs had a 57.1% success rate in the game, according to TruMedia, which would be the second-highest for a Super Bowl team behind the 2009 New Orleans Saints at 62.7%. Kansas City’s 66.7% passing success rate is also only behind that New Orleans team at 71.8%.

Mahomes had just a 6.19-yard aDOT while 77.8% of his passes were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and only 38.1% of his passes gained 10 or more yards which was the 12th-lowest rate of his career. But that was all by design and did not take away from the efficiency of the offense.

There were two things the Chiefs wanted to exploit in the passing game. The first was the middle of the field. If there is a weakness on an Eagles defense that was fourth in EPA per dropback during the regular season, it was the linebackers. The Chiefs went there early, using Travis Kelce in the middle of the field. 

The first offensive play of the game for the Chiefs put Kelce in motion and while safety Marcus Epps traveled with him, the Eagles dropped into a zone at the snap. That allowed Kelce to run between linebacker T.J. Edwards and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson for a 20-yard gain.



Kansas City’s next completion was an 18-yard touchdown to Kelce that forced the Eagles to be sound with coverage responsibilities and execution. The Chiefs used a short motion with Kelce from outside into a stack behind Marquez Valdes-Scantling. As Kelce got into position, the Chiefs snapped the ball. Marcus Epps was coming down with the motion and whiffed on a press attempt off the line, which allowed Kelce a clear path to the end zone.



Then on the next drive, the Chiefs put T.J. Edwards in hell. Kansas City ran a jet motion with Kadarius Toney, which pulled in the linebackers. But then Edwards had to change direction and run with Kelce. As Kelce broke back to the outside, Edwards had to change direction again, got lost, and slipped on the turf… though Kelce would have been well past him, slip or not.



68.4% of Mahomes’s pass attempts came between the numbers in this game, his highest mark of the season. According to Next Gen Stats, Edwards allowed four catches and 48 yards on six targets as the nearest defender. Slot corner Avonte Maddox allowed five catches for 44 yards on five targets.

The Chiefs also wanted to keep the Eagles’ pass rush contained and they pulled that off in a few ways. Early on, it was with some under center play-action but as the game went into the second half, Kansas City relied on getting the ball out quickly. The shift was fairly apparent.

Patrick Mahomes by Half, Super Bowl 57
data per TruMedia

HalfEPA/PlayComp/AttaDOTYPAPressure RateTime to Throw

In the second half, Mahomes averaged 2.33 seconds to throw and 62.5% of his passes were within 2.5 seconds of the snap, per TruMedia. Across the entire game, Mahomes went 15-of-15 for 0.47 EPA per play on throws within 2.5 seconds. His aDOT on those throws was only 1.6 yards past the line of scrimmage but screens were a big part of slowing down the pass rush. 

Mahomes still saw a similar amount of pressure but was considerably more effective facing pressure in the second half (0.45 EPA per play) than in the first half (-1.00 EPA per play). The quarterback who had the lowest rate of pressure turned into sacks in 2022 took no sacks against a defense so good at bringing down the quarterback in 2022, everyone on the defense was involved.

It also helped the overall efficiency that a few of these throws came near the goal line.

No team was better inside the red zone than the Chiefs during the 2022 season and they used some of their tendencies to break the Eagles. Kansas City used motion on 71.1% of their red zone plays during the regular season and playoffs, the second-highest rate in the league. So much of that comes from jet motion, which opens up so much of the menu Kansas City works with, especially in the low red zone.

The Chiefs throw to the jet guy outside the numbers. They run the jet sweep pass. The motion opens up lanes for the traditional run game. The Eagles know this and the Chiefs knew the Eagles would be on high alert so they used those tendencies against the defense.

Both of Kadarius Toney’s touchdowns with the Chiefs came on jet motion in the red zone. In Toney’s second game in Kansas City, he was completely uncovered for a six-yard touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Later in the season against Seattle, Toney scored on a jet sweep pop pass.

So when Toney started in motion with the Chiefs on the 5-yard line, the Eagles were prepared… or so they thought. Darius Slay was the corner opposite Toney and when the receiver started his motion, Slay bolted across the formation ready to cover it. But when Toney cut the motion short and broke back outside, there was no defender in the area. It was a tremendous counter to a look the Chiefs have given all season.



Mecole Hardman started the season as the jet guy but Toney took over once he was acquired of the games he was active. But earlier in the game, Skyy Moore was the man in motion with Toney off the field. On the next drive, set up by a 65-yard Toney punt return, Moore acted as if he was going to go in motion again. This time, the Eagles were going to pass off the route to Avonte Maddox (29) inside. As Moore starts to motion, Maddox commits to the motion. Again, that left a wide-open half of the end zone when Moore stopped and broke back outside.



But it wasn’t just the passing game for the Chiefs. Kansas City averaged 0.26 EPA per play on running back rushing attempts and the ability to consistently move the ball on the ground when needed kept the offense in rhythm.

Kansas City had 19 carries for 110 yards while the Eagles were prepared for the rush. 57.9% of the Chiefs’ rushing attempts were into a heavy box of eight or more defenders, per TruMedia. Yet, the Chiefs averaged an impressive 2.79 yards before contact per rush and another 3.0 yards after contact.

Philadelphia came into the game with one of the league’s most efficient and diverse running games but it was Kansas City that gave a number of different looks and concepts to control the ground game. Of the 19 running back runs, nine came in 11 personnel, eight came in 13 personnel, and six came from 12 personnel.

The Chiefs rocked different personnel groupings throughout the game. Philadelphia matched almost everything in nickel — 96.7% of the Eagles’ plays came with five defensive backs on the field. Kansas City was able to figure out what they could do in each personnel grouping.

Chiefs Personnel Usage & Efficiency, Super Bowl 57
data per TruMedia

1147.2%0.4264% / 36%0.480.14
1226.4%0.4757.1% / 42.9%0.490.65
1318.9%-0.0420% / 80%0.59-0.08

Two meaningful carries — an Isiah Pacheco touchdown and a third-and-1 conversion on the final drive — came in 21 personnel. The Chiefs had 25 total 21 personnel plays before this game.

On the 1-yard Pacheco touchdown in the third quarter, the Chiefs again used the jet motion but it helped open up a running lane as Jerick McKinnon lined up as an H-back and came across the formation to block.



Pacheco and McKinnon had only been on the field together for one other play this season, a one-yard touchdown run against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18. On that play, the Chiefs started in a split-back look before McKinnon motioned to the same spot and play Kansas City ran for this touchdown.

The Chiefs’ other two-back play came with an under center split-back look on a third-and-1 from their own 47-yard line with 3:37 remaining in the game. Kansas City had a pull lead to the left and Pacheco gained 10 yards.



That third down conversion brought the Chiefs’ win probability from 62% to 69%, per Next Gen Stats. The following play might have been the biggest of the game. A 23-yard scramble from Mahomes set the Chiefs up inside the red zone with under three minutes to go with a running clock that needed just one more snap until the two minute warning. The play bumped Kansas City’s win probability from 69% to 81%.

If there was a truly special Mahomes play, this was it.



All the right levers were pulled at the correct time and that was also true on the defensive side of the ball. Jalen Hurts had an unbelievable game (a top-10 Super Bowl performance by EPA from the table at the top) but the running game that got the Eagles here could not get going.

On 17 running back carries, the Eagles put up 45 rushing yards. They averaged -0.26 EPA per rush, their fourth-worst rushing performance of the season. Just 35.3% of the Eagles’ running back attempts picked up positive EPA.

There was only one game this season when the Eagles were stopped at or behind the line at a higher rate than the 29.4% from the Super Bowl. The biggest difference between those two games was in the Week 3 meeting with the Washington Commanders, 50% of the Eagles’ running back carries came against a stacked box. Against the Chiefs, that figure was just 23.5%.

It was just the second time this season — along with a Week 10 game against Washington — when no Eagles running back had a carry for 10 or more yards.

The Chiefs kept the box neutral but the second level of the defense was quick to react and there were few tackles broken. Kansas City was able to hold Cincinnati down by stopping plays on first contact and the 1.59 yards after contact by the Eagles’ running backs in the Super Bowl was their lowest in any game this year.

Hurts was incredible, arguably the best game of his career. The holding call on James Bradberry at the end robbed us of a potential final drive. But even that might not have been enough to match up with what was running at peak performance on the other side. The Eagles were billed as the deeper roster coming into this game with the star power of Mahomes leading the Chiefs. Mahomes was great but the Chiefs as a team put together one of the most impressive Super Bowl performances.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Before the season, FiveThirtyEight had the Chiefs with a 66% chance to make the playoffs. The 8% chance to win the Super Bowl was the fourth-highest but second in the conference behind the Buffalo Bills (10%). 

The vision for what this roster could be and what Mahomes could do with Kelce, a new set of receivers, and one of the most innovative offensive coaches in the league. That vision came together quicker than expected and now the Chiefs have won their second Super Bowl in four years.

Mahomes makes things easier on and off the field. He opens up the offense. His presence allows moves like the Hill trade to not only happen, but be successful in the aftermath. When all else fails, the Chiefs always have the best player on the field. But nothing failed during the Super Bowl and Kansas City had all the answers. As scary as Mahomes can be for opponents, winning this way might make the Chiefs even scarier going forward.