The Chiefs trailed by 10 at half-time, with Mahomes limping his way into the locker room after aggravating the ankle injury he picked up earlier in the playoffs. But, after the break, Mahomes – named Super Bowl MVP – led his team on four-consecutive scoring drives to stun the Eagles.
Mahomes threw three touchdowns, but his stat line was otherwise a modest one, completing 21 of 27 passes for 182 yards, with Kansas City’s offense kept off the field for large chunks of the game.
Philadelphia dominated time of possession, while quarterback Jalen Hurts himself enjoyed an incredible outing on the game’s biggest stage – throwing for over 300 yards and running in three TDs – but the game swung in the second half as Mahomes carried Kansas City on his back.
The Chiefs nudged in front for the first time with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter as Mahomes found a wide-open Kadarius Toney for the go-ahead score and, after a badly timed three-and-out on offense from the Eagles, KC swiftly found the end zone for a second time inside three minutes.
Toney had a say in proceedings again, with a Super Bowl-record 65-yard punt return to set the Chiefs up at the Philadelphia five-yard line, before another blown coverage allowed Mahomes to find Skyy Moore all alone this time for the TD.
But back came the Eagles, with an unruffled Hurts finding DeVonta Smith deep down the left sideline for 45 yards to set up his third rushing score of the game. Hurts then hurled himself over the goal line for the game-tying two-point conversion too, with five minutes and 15 seconds left.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Mahomes’ performance was his ability to scramble despite his banged up ankle, as he rushed for 44 yards on six carries, and it was one such run – this one for 26 yards – that helped set Kansas City up at the Eagles 17-yard line just before the two-minute warning.
With time running out, Eagles fans will point to a questionable ‘pass interference’ call on James Bradberry against JuJu Smith-Schuster that granted the Chiefs a fresh set of downs and allowed them to run off more of the clock before Harrison Butker ultimately booted the game-winning field goal with eight seconds left.
There was time left for one last play, but Hurts’ desperate deep heave down the field fell incomplete to end a Super Bowl classic.
Chiefs 0-7 Eagles Jalen Hurts one-yard TD run (extra point)
Chiefs 7-7 Eagles Patrick Mahomes 18-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce (extra point)
Chiefs 7-14 Eagles Jalen Hurts 45-yard TD pass to AJ Brown (extra point)
Chiefs 14-14 Eagles Nick Bolton 36-yard fumble return for a TD (extra point)
Chiefs 14-21 Eagles Jalen Hurts four-yard TD run (extra point)
Chiefs 14-24 Eagles Jake Elliott 35-yard field goal
Chiefs 21-24 Eagles Isiah Pacheco one-yard TD run (extra point)
Chiefs 21-27 Eagles Jake Elliott 33-yard field goal
Chiefs 28-27 Eagles Patrick Mahomes five-yard TD pass to Kadarius Toney (extra point)
Chiefs 35-27 Eagles Patrick Mahomes four-yard TD pass to Skyy Moore (extra point)
Chiefs 35-35 Eagles Jalen Hurts two-yard TD run (two-point conversion)
Chiefs 38-35 Eagles Harrison Butker 27-yard field goal
The game exploded into life early in the first quarter, hinting at the entertainment to come, as the Eagles scored on their opening drive for the 11th time this season (leading the NFL), with the Chiefs answering back almost immediately.
Mahomes, untroubled by his ankle issue in the early exchanges, hooked up with his favourite target, Travis Kelce, for an 18-yard score to tie things up at 7-7 and move the pair to within one of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s record 15 postseason TDs.
The Chiefs missed the chance to take the lead later in the first quarter as Butker doinked his first field goal attempt off the upright, and Philadelphia nudged ahead again to start the second as Hurts, with all day to throw, found AJ Brown for a massive 44-yard touchdown.
A Hurts error on their next series, however – Nick Bolton forcing a fumbling and running it back for the 36-yard scoop and score – again levelled things up, but the Eagles QB swiftly made amends with his second rushing touchdown of the first half.
Philadelphia added to that lead, with a Jake Elliott field goal to end the first half, but not before Mahomes’ ankle got banged up when being chased down by TJ Edwards on a scramble.
He limped, grimacing into the locker room, only to return after Rihanna’s half-time spectacular in inspired form, firing the Chiefs to a memorable victory.