Chiefs 31, 49ers 20

Super Bowl LIV: Good, bad and ugly

Super Bowl LIV: Good, bad and ugly
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In the 54th edition of the Super Bowl, we got an epic performance from both teams as the Chiefs pulled off yet another playoff comeback and won 31-20 over the 49ers. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Chief's quarterback Pat Mahomes' performance was worthy of the Super Bowl MVP. Mahomes was 26/41 for 286 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 44 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. His two interceptions came on back to back possessions sandwiched by a 49er touchdown. However, they stayed poised and mounted their comeback behind his two touchdown throws, both in the 4th quarter.

-49er quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played a fantastic game. Coming into the game, he had only attempted 27 passes, completed 17 of them for 208 yards in their two games this postseason. Tonight however, he was 18/22 for 195 yards a touchdown and an interception. So much for the narrative of him being their Achilles heel.

-What a treat we got to see opposing play-callers in this game! The Chiefs with Andy Reid & Eric Bienemy on offense, and Steve Spanuolo on against the 49ers with Kyle Shanahan & Mike LaFleur on offense and Robert Saleh on defense. The chess match throughout was football porn for this self-professed nerd. The players executed the plays called, but to see the punches and counterpunches of the calls was awesome.

The Bad

-On their first possession, Mahomes threw a fastball in the flat on 3rd&3 that he probably wants back for two reasons: he had Sammy Watkins open on a slant and he threw a ball to Damien Williams he couldn't catch. They went three and out, punted, and gave up a field goal on 49ers ensuing possession. His pass on 2nd&3 was batted down as well.

-Shanahan decided not to use a timeout tied 10-10 with about 1:20+ left before halftime before the Chiefs punted or after they ran their first play was odd. Calling the timeout on 4th down would've given them over a minute and still have two timeouts to work with. Very Bill O'Brien-esque of him.

-Chiefs' wide reciever Tyreek Hill alligator armed a 3rd&6 conversion in the 4th quarter while they were down 20-10. It ricoheted off his arms and was picked off by Tavarius Moore. It would've been a 1st down and the Chiefs were already in field goal range. Bare minimum they could've drawn within seven points. Instead, their comeback was thwarted.

The Ugly

-Jimmy Garoppolo threw an awful interception early in the 2nd quarter which Bashaud Breeland caught. Garoppolo was pressured up the middle when Ryan Mostert missed on helping with pass protection. Instead of taking the sack, he threw up a duck as he was getting hit. This swung momentum firmly in Chiefs' favor following their touchdown on their previous possession and went up 10-3 following a field goal after the turnover.

-Mid way through the 3rd quarter, the Chiefs had a better 4th down conversion percentage (100% on 2/2) than a 3rd down conversion percentage (28.6% on 2/7). This was after converting one on their first drive of the second half. To make matters worse, Mahomes threw a pick on their next 3rd down attempt dropping them to 25% on 3rd down conversions. This from a team that converted 47.6% of their 3rd downs in the regular season and 44.4% this postseason. The turnover led to a touchdown and a 20-10 49er lead with 2:35 left in the 3rd quarter.

-The commercials sucked! We got maybe two okay ones and one really good one (the Jason Momoa one). The halftime show was meh as well. I mean, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira dancing and girating is always appealing, but where was the iconic performance/moment? Good thing the game was awesome.

I'm so happy for Chiefs' head coach Andy Reid. He truly deserves this. The man has been coaching in this league since I was in grade school. He's endured so much and has accomplished so much more. Mahomesn and this offense was able to deliver Reid what Donovan McNabb and the Eagles couldn't. Kudos to the 49ers and their organization. They're class acts and were able to put up a good fight. I'm sure they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. But for now, all hail the Chiefs! That fanbase has gone 50 years between Super Bowl wins. They've remained loyal, loud and proud the entire time. They truly deserve this. What a way to end the NFL's 100th season!

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Following Houston's 6-4 road trip, the Astros returned home to finish the first "half" of the season before the All Star break hosting Florida and Texas. Houston's road trip was filled with clutch performances in New York, dominance in taking 3 of 4 in Toronto, and a dose of close calls and tough realities with a short-handed team against Minnesota.

Now the Astros hope to take care of business against the lowly Marlins and division rival Rangers. The Texas series, in particular gives Houston the opportunity to reassert their hold on the #2 spot ahead of the Rangers who have won their last 5 games in a row (as of the time this was published). Both teams have won 7 of their last 10 games and hope to catch a free-falling Seattle team to overtake the division lead.

Dana Brown told the media last week he expects both Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker to be reactivated following the All-Star break but Tucker's updates continue to be more promising than Verlander's and MUCH more promising than Lance McCullers. Astros manager informed the media this week that McCullers has been shut down from throwing after his arm did not respond well to his recent bullpen sessions and the team is formulating the plan for what's next for the embattled pitcher. McCullers hasn't pitched since the 2022 postseason and underwent season-ending flexor tendon surgery last June. McCullers is under contract with Houston until 2026.

An eventual return for Kyle Tucker would spur a juggling act from Joe Espada to find a proper balance of time for all his outfielders, none of which have separated themselves offensively. Chas McCormick had a great month of June recording an .804 OPS but that run looks more like an anomaly as his scuffles have continued over the past 2.5 weeks, recording just 4 hits over his last 32 plate appearances.

While Jake Meyers has wowed fans and teammates with his glove this season, his offense has hit a skid, hitting just .184 with a .565 OPS over the past month. After rookie Joey Loperfido's torrid debut, he too has struggled with the bat, hitting just .216 with .599 OPS over the same time period.

An unexpected bright spot has been the recent play of first baseman Jon Singleton. Over the last 4 weeks, "Big Jon" is batting .302 with an .802 OPS. It's worth mentioning that Singleton's season numbers are better than Florida's Josh Bell, who drew interest from Astros fans over the past several seasons as a potential answer at first base. Bell has 135 more ABs this season so its not quite an apples-to-apples comparison but there's no doubt Singleton's contributions were sorely needed following the release of Jose Abreu.

To watch part 1 of this week's episode of Stone Cold StrosStone Cold Stros, just click the video above or to listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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