Chiefs 31, 49ers 20

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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5 questions on the John Wall trade

The Rockets made a big move. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets point guard carousel continued to spin Wednesday night, as the Woj bomb-iest of Houston-related Woj bombs erupted in the Space City:

For the third year in a row, the Rockets will begin the season with a new point guard, in an attempt to finally find someone that can play alongside James Harden. Let's take a look at how the Rockets got to this point, and what it means moving forward.

What led to the trade?

Russell Westbrook simply wanted out. Westbrook is the type of player that needs to be the number one ball handler and that simply wasn't ever going to happen on a James Harden led team. Other reports cited Westbrook's frustration with the lack of accountability and casual atmosphere within the locker room. Ultimately if anyone was going to be moved between Harden and Westbrook, it was always going to be Westbrook.

Why John Wall?

This one is another fairly straightforward answer: they both have relatively similar contracts. Each is making an absurdly overpriced $40 million this season, and both were disgruntled with their current team. Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard tossed the idea around a few weeks ago, but couldn't find a deal they liked. It was reported that discussions resumed Wednesday afternoon and within a few hours the deal was done in an almost one-for-one swap.

How does Wall fit?

This is a little more complicated because it's not exactly known what head coach Stephen Silas' game plan is. It's also difficult to predict whether or not Harden will still be on the roster when the season starts. But let's assume that Harden takes the court for the Rockets and that Silas' system resembles something similar to what we've seen in Houston for the past few years. In that case, Wall would be a slight upgrade to Westbrook. Westbrook is more athletic than Wall, but when healthy Wall was no slouch. In addition he's a much better defensive player and has much better court vision than Westbrook. Westbrook's assists were usually a bailout after attacking the lane with his head down, while Wall is more likely to set up a teammate.

This isn't to say that Wall doesn't need the ball though. He's fairly ball dominant, but not nearly as much as Westbrook. Harden proved last season that he's capable of effectively playing off the ball if necessary, so it seems like a better fit from a distribution rate alone. If they can find that sweet spot like they did with Chris Paul and stagger the lineups so that each star gets their own time to create, there's potential for an improved Rockets team more reminiscent of their 2018 run than the past two years.

What are the best and worst case scenarios?

The worst case is that the Rockets were sold a lemon. Wall has potential to be an upgrade, but comes with huge risk. He last took the court in 2018, where he was sidelined with a knee injury. He subsequently ruptured his Achilles in an accident at his home while recovering from the knee injury, forcing Wall off the court for almost two years. It's possible an extremely unfortunate Wall reinjures something and completely derails the machinations of the trade. Even if he's recovered fully, it will take time to get him up to game speed which could frustrate Harden on a team that can't afford a slow start in their stacked conference. Harden has managed to cultivate drama with just about every co-star he's played with, so there's no reason to assume this attempt would go any better.

The best case scenario is that Wall arrives ready to play team basketball and resembles the better part of his pre-injury form. Wall and Harden buy into Silas' new system, space the floor, and take turns carving up the lane with dribble drives and kick outs to players who can actually hit from distance. This version of the Rockets could potentially be a 3-seed in this year's Western Conference.

Who won the trade?

At the moment the Rockets. Not only did they remove at least one of their locker room distractions, but they also gain a first round pick. If Wall can stay healthy and Silas can keep both stars happy, this team should be a lot more fun to watch than last season's clunker.

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