Football fans were treated to something they have never seen before in Super Bowl LVIII.
A game that went to overtime under the new rules.
In the wake of the 2019 AFC Divisional Round game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, when Patrick Mahomes and company needed just 13 seconds to force overtime and then won when they won the coin toss, the NFL changed the rules for playoff games. Under these new rules, both teams were guaranteed a possession in overtime.
With just under two minutes. remaining rookie kicker Jake Moody drilled a 53-yard field goal — his second 50+ kick of the game — to give the San Francisco 49ers a 19-16 lead.
There was just one problem.
Mahomes had two time outs and a lot of time at his disposal.
Kansas City drove right down the field, using this critical third-down conversion from Mahomes to Travis Kelce to extend the possession:
Kansas City had one shot at a game-winning touchdown, and Mahomes looked to connect with Kelce on a back-shoulder throw. But the pass fell incomplete, and Andy Reid called on Harrison Butker for the game-tying field goal to force overtime.
Butker converted, and we were headed to just the second overtime in Super Bowl history, and the first under the new rules.
San Francisco won the coin toss and elected to receive. Strategically, this makes sense even with both teams guaranteed a possession, because the game will potentially advance to sudden death if it remains tied after the first two possessions, and you want to be the team with the first crack at winning in that scenario.
It looked as if the 49ers were going to go three-and-out. But on a 3rd and 13 Chiefs defensive back Trent McDuffie was flagged for defensive holding, gifting San Francisco a fresh set of downs.
Brock Purdy and company took advantage.
On their next third down, a 3rd-and-2 situation, Kyle Shanahan put three receivers in a stack — like the 49ers were a basketball team running an in-bounding play — and Purdy connected with Brandon Aiyuk to move the chains, and get the 49ers out near midfield:
Then after a short run from Christian McCaffrey on first down, the Chiefs brought pressure, but Purdy was able to escape and find McCaffrey in space for a huge gain:
However, the Chiefs eventually stiffened, up against their own goal line, and a blitz on third down forced Purdy to throw the ball away. Moody came on and converted the short field goal to give San Francisco a 22-19 lead.
Still, Mahomes had one more chance. A field goal would push the game into sudden death, but with a touchdown the Chiefs would be Super Bowl champions for the second-straight year, becoming the first team since the New England Patriots went back-to-back in Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX.
The first course of business?
Converting a 4th and 1 in their own territory.
Isiah Pacheco was stopped on a third-down run, setting up the 4th-and-1 situation. Kansas City took a time out to get everyone on the same page, and then broke the huddle and put Mahomes in the shotgun.
And trusted their QB:
A few plays later, the Chiefs faced a 3rd and 6. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks had a decision to make: Bring pressure and try and force Mahomes into a mistake, or try and play coverage?
He brought pressure, and Mahomes made him pay:
Mahomes hangs in the pocket just long enough to target Rashee Rice on a crossing route, and the Chiefs get a fresh set of downs.
The script, as it were, asked Mahomes to convert another third down to keep the drive alive.
And he did just that, again using his legs:
And then, it ended:
Mahomes comes out of a run fake and rolls right, before targeting Mecole Hardman in the right flat for the walk-off touchdown.
Fire the confetti cannons.
There will certainly be months and months of second-guessing to come. There was also the blocked PAT in regulation that took a potential point off the board for the 49ers.
But one thing is clear.
The Chiefs have their dynasty.