Congrats to Chiefs Kingdom for taking down the 49ers 25-22 and capturing their third Super Bowl title in the last five years. While the game was relatively sloppy (7 total fumbles) and only featured one TD after 40 minutes of action, things escalated quickly down the stretch and led to a memorable back-and-forth overtime thriller.

What follows are seven thoughts on (sadly) the last meaningful NFL game we’ll have the privilege of watching until next September.

The Patrick Mahomes experience

As if there was any doubt already: We are truly witnessing greatness in Kansas City. Mahomes now joins Tom Brady (5) and Joe Montana (3) as the only three-time Super Bowl MVP winners after throwing for 333 yards and two TDs to go along with a team-high 66 yards on the ground.

Reminder: Mahomes hasn’t exactly had the luxury of working with the world’s best pass-catchers this season.

No longer equipped with anything resembling consistent downfield threats, No. 15 posted a career-low 6.8-yard average target depth throughout the regular season before winning his two biggest games of the season with lowly marks against the Ravens (5.9) and 49ers (6.4) alike.

Of course, it’s not that Mahomes doesn’t want to go deep; there just hasn’t been a single consistent downfield WR threat in this offense since Tyreek Hill was shipped to Miami two years ago. Kudos to Mecole Hardman for hauling in this b-e-a-utiful bomb on Sunday, but Mahomes didn't complete a pass thrown 10-plus yards downfield after the 9:17 mark in the fourth quarter.

Good news: Mahomes has maintained the ability to consistently kill defenses by extending the plays, even if the result isn’t a dagger deep pass quite as often as it used to be. Nobody has been better at avoiding sacks during his reign of terror—and this skill proved particularly useful against Nick Bosa and company on Sunday night::

  • 2023: 10.6% of pressures resulted in a sack (No. 2 among all qualified QBs)
  • 2022: 9.8% (No. 1)
  • 2021: 13.4% (No. 3)
  • 2020: 9.6% (No. 2)
  • 2019: 11.6% (No. 3)
  • 2018: 13.3% (No. 3)

Overall, Mahomes boasts the position’s lowest pressure-to-sack rate (11.3%) since 2018 among 53 QBs with at least 250 pressured dropbacks, while he also ranked fourth (51.4%) and ninth (31.3%) in first downs and explosive runs per scramble this season. This doesn’t even include his usual witchcraft which inevitably results in chunk gains through the air.

While Mahomes took three sacks against the 49ers, he lost just eight total yards and posted a 9-66-0 rushing line that included five first downs. Turns out taking away the deep ball doesn’t exactly help with, you know, getting the now three-time Super Bowl champion to the ground.

“Had us in the first half, not gonna lie.” – Travis Kelce

Kelce had just a single catch for one yard during the first 30 minutes of action despite allegedly giving one of the best pump-up speeches in the history of mankind on Saturday night. Things really weren’t going great!

And then the second half happened—and Kelce started to look a lot more like his usual postseason self. He wound up catching eight of nine targets for an additional 92 yards during the final two-plus quarters of action, adding to his ridiculous playoff game log with Mahomes under center.

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Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs with the ball against San Francisco 49ers safety Ji'Ayir Brown (27) during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Chronologically since 2018:

  • 7 rec-108 yards-0 TD
  • 3-23-1
  • 10-134-3
  • 3-30-0
  • 6-43-1
  • 8-109-1
  • 13-118-2
  • 10-133-0
  • 5-108-1
  • 8-96-1
  • 10-95-1
  • 14-98-2
  • 7-78-1
  • 6-81-1
  • 7-71-0
  • 5-75-2
  • 11-116-1
  • 9-93-0

Add it all up: 142 receptions, 1,609 yards and 18 TDs in 18 games. Pretty, pretty, pretty good for the now three-time Super Bowl champion.

Even GOAT deniers can’t deny Kelce a place on the position’s Mount Rushmore at a minimum—and it turns out he’s not planning on stopping anytime soon.

Sunday we spelled redemption M-e-c-o-l-e

Mecole Hardman was having a postseason to remember in a bad way prior to Sunday. Overall, the fifth-year pro converted four touches into *zero* yards and two fumbles while also looking absolutely lost trying to track some deep passes against the Dolphins.

And now: Hardman is a Super Bowl hero after hauling in a 52-yard dime in the second quarter and (far more importantly) catching the game-winning three-yard score in overtime. Not too shabby for the same guy who started the season on the Jets and largely couldn't find the field for anyone throughout the season.

Even better? Hardman called his shot.

Christian McCaffrey, running back, THE running back, y’all

We'll never know who would have won MVP on the 49ers with a victory, but CMC certainly made a valiant case. A perfectly balanced 80 rushing and receiving yards included a score and capped off an incredibly productive postseason for the NFL’s all-time leader in fantasy points per game.

Seriously: The man hasn’t missed in six playoff games with his new employer:

  • 2023 Wild Card: 15-119-0 rushing, 2-17-1 receiving
  • 2023 Divisional Round: 10-35-1, 6-22-0 
  • 2023 NFC Championship: 15-84-1, 4-22-0 
  • 2024 Divisional Round: 17-98-2, 7-30-0 
  • 2024 NFC Championship: 20-90-2, 4-42-0
  • 2024 Super Bowl: 22-80-0, 8-80-1

CMC led the 49ers in rushing (268) and receiving (152) this postseason—he’s locked in as the 2024 fantasy 1.01 for good reason.

Jauan Jennings: DOG

A list of cool things that Jennings did on Sunday:

  1. Threw a 21-yard TD to Christian McCaffrey on a cool throwback screen that featured him taking a HIT while throwing. While that was Jennings’s first NFL pass attempt, the former Tennessee Volunteer was actually a highly coveted high school QB recruit back in the day.
  2. Jennings lived up to his "3rd and Jauan" nickname with a clutch 17-yard snag to extend a drive late in the third quarter that culminated with...
  3. Him catching a 10-yard TD by winning against stud Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed and bodying his way into the end zone. It wasn’t that big of a joke to suggest Jennings had a legit chance to win MVP at this point in the game (the official NFL X account even suggested it). 
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Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) celebrates with fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) after making a catch for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was already easy enough to love Jennings because of his relentless run-blocking, but Sunday was another example that the 26-year-old veteran is a capable pass-catcher as well when called upon. The restricted free agent will certainly have a market should the 49ers not find a way to keep him in town.

That one miss to Deebo

Deebo Samuel was already dealing with a shoulder injury coming into the game before later suffering a hamstring issue. While he led all 49ers pass-catchers with 11 targets, Deebo caught just three of them for 33 scoreless yards.

Naturally, this wasn’t all on Samuel—particularly when it came to a certain fourth-quarter incompletion that probably should have been a 22-yard TD.

Luckily, the miss wouldn't burn Purdy and company, as they found the end zone anyway five plays later to avoid another Jimmy G to Emmanuel Sanders sort of situation.

Speaking of the 49ers’ much-debated signal-caller…

Brock Purdy is who we thought he was

A damn good QB.

Sure, his 255 passing yards and a score don't exactly jump out of the box score, but Mr. Irrelevant once again found a way to mix extended play goodness with the sort of “game managing” that makes a lot of sense to do inside of an offense overflowing with high-end playmakers.

The performance wound up being one of just three in which Purdy failed to average at least seven yards per attempt, yet we're also talking about someone who managed to put together a late fourth-quarter drive to give his team a three-point lead with just 1:53 remaining in the fourth quarter of the f*cking Super Bowl.

Shocker: Purdy and company didn’t have their best day against a Chiefs defense that has largely given QBs of all shapes and sizes fits this season. And yet, it was far from the sort of performance that should lead to any level of panic surrounding his standing as the team’s QB of the present and future.

The numbers all say Purdy was the 2023-24 NFL MVP. Even if things didn’t end the way anyone involved with the 49ers would have preferred, their 24-year-old signal-caller still performed well enough to force OT against someone who might eventually go down as the best to ever do it.

You can start drafting Purdy for 2024 ALREADY with Underdog Fantasy, where you can get a 100% deposit match of up to $100 when you sign up below with promo code LIFE!

SB Wrap Up
Ian Hartitz
Ian Hartitz
Ian is a senior fantasy analyst at Fantasy Life and he truly believes every day is a great day to be great. He's spent time with Action Network, NBC Sports and Pro Football Focus over the years, writing and podcasting about all things fantasy football along the way. Ian's process relies on a mix of film analysis and data study; whatever is needed to get the job done (job done). There's no reason fun can't be had along the way — we do live on a rock floating around a ball of fire after all. Outside of football, Ian enjoys MMA, his dachshund Lilly and candles.