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NFL 2022 Super Bowl LVII Recap

Man, what a game. That'll go down as a top 5 Super Bowl in NFL history. We got some electric offense, some big time defensive and special teams plays, and another Mahomes 10-point deficit playoff comeback. This was one for the ages, so let's dive into what made it so great (or not so great at times).

Photo: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images


The Officiating

Getting this out of the way now, I thought the officiating was damn-near perfect minus a few plays. In a season filled with ref controversy, which spilled into this game, they called a clean game and only missed 2 or 3 calls, if that. Before I go further, I need to address the defensive holding call which virtually sealed the game for the Chiefs. At first, and for at least an hour after the game ended, I firmly believed it wasn't only a bad call, but the wrong call. It was incredibly close, but after watching film, it was definitely a hold - and even moreso a great call by the refs to see it that close.

This was 100% the right call, and it doesn't matter when the call was made, you make that call every time.

Outside of that, there were a few calls and non-calls that come to mind that were questionable. The first was a Landon Dickerson false start that was missed early in the game, and there was close illegal contact call from Jordan Davis on Patrick Mahomes. Dickerson rocked back in his stance and jolted just before the ball was snapped, and later, Jordan Davis clubbed Mahomes in the back and front of his helmet when chasing him down for a tackle. Both were close and tough to see, and could've gone either way.

The last call I'll bring up is when the Eagles hurried to the line and snapped the ball, but the play was stopped by the refs since the Chiefs didn't have time to sub players in after the Eagles made a substitution. People can say it was the refs or NFL rigging the game, but refs holding up a play so the defense can sub happens multiple times in every game.

Additionally, all four reviews were absolutely right. Kenneth Gainwell didn't break the plane on the TD run, DeVonta Smith didn't maintain possession throughout the entire catch, Sanders did not make a football move before L'Jarius Sneed hit him and forced a fumbled, and Dallas Goedert was able to drag his back foot and get his front foot down after regaining possession on his bobbled catch.

The last thing I'll say is that since we have perfect camera angles and can take still shots of the exact millisecond a call is or isn't made, doesn't mean a given play is or isn't a penalty at full speed. You can argue a penalty could be called on every play, but that's football. To boot, refs are seeing the plays happen in real time and are usually moving with the players from snap to whistle. I'm the first advocate that officiating in the NFL is in a bad state, and that there needs to be sweeping changes within the officiating regime. With that being said, the general overreaction to "missed calls" over the past several weeks due to not fully understanding the rules and stipulations in place is a bad look all around.

Game Review

Outside of the controversy, we saw fantastic offensive performances from both teams. Despite the success from both teams, I think each team played great for different reasons. The Eagles had a lot of success by chewing the clock and staying aggressively-conservative. What I mean by that is they ran a lot of old-school plays with new-school mechanics. They ran plenty of gap style run plays with at least one or two players pulling, but they did so with pulling Jason Kelce and their tackles more than their guards. This was complimented perfectly with short route concepts, meshed with a few deep shots to AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith sprinkled in there. Although this didn't work as well in the second half, it still had an impact in moments. Add in the unstopable QB sneak that converted 4 out of 4 times, the Eagles were able to add in some wrinkles while staying true to their ideology.

On the flip side, the Chiefs defensive woes early on hindered this offense from doing damage in the first half. Between multiple offsides and blown coverage assignments throughout the first 30 minutes, the Eagles made light work of this defense, despite fumbling the ball away for a score. Once the defense locked in for the second-half and only allowed 11 points, the Chiefs offense got rolling in a big way. After being down 24-14 at half, they went on to score 24 points, with 17 of them coming in the 4th quarter.

Defensively, both teams couldn't create any pressure. The Chiefs had only 3 pressures the entire game, and while the Eagles had more, they turned none of them into sacks despite posting 70 during the regular season. I thought Haason Reddick and Javon Hargrave would have had a larger impact, but they were kept in check most of the night minus a couple of designed stunts. Additionally, both team's run games exposed holes within each defense. Isaiah Pacheco and Mahomes did exceptionally well running inside, while the Chiefs had no answer on how to stop Jalen Hurts on designed runs and scrambles. In the end, Nick Bolton's scoop and score was the difference in a tight ball game.

The field was a major concern, as players kept slipping and needing to change their cleats throughout the entire game. The NFL has yet to make a comment on it, but it's strange considering State Farm Stadium maintains their grass relatively well as they can roll the field outside of the stadium in order to get proper sunlight. Going into this game, the NFL prepared a new field for 2 years with locally grown sod, but it didn't seem to be in the best shape. Hopefully we get answers soon.

Super Bowl LVII Awards

Offensive MVP: Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia Eagles

Patrick Mahomes played great, but Jalen was the best player on the field. His stat line was insane, as he hit 27 of 38 passes for 304 yards and 1 TD, including 5 big time throws and no turnover worthy passes. He also added 13 carries for 70 yards and 3 TDs, including 3 runs of 10+ yards. He did have a costly fumble in the first half that resulted in a TD the other way, but that was his only bad play of the night.

Defensive MVP: Nick Bolton - Kansas City Chiefs

Bolton had himself a day. He had the highest defensive grade out of both teams with an 87.4, as he posted 9 total tackles, including 3 stops, and added a big time scoop and score to snatch the Eagles momentum early in the game. In coverage, he allowed 3 receptions that went for 5 yards each. He was around the ball the entire game and kept the Chiefs defense alive.

Trench Tyrant: Andrew Wylie - Kansas City Chiefs

I thought Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, and Brandon Graham were going to abuse Andrew Wylie all day, and just the opposite happened. Wylie allowed just 1 pressure on 30 pass block snaps, with none resulting in sacks. He also had multiple pancake blocks against Haason, as he shut down one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

Special Teams MVP: Kadarius Toney - Kansas City Chiefs

The main reason Kadarius won this award was for his incredible 65 yard punt return to set the Chiefs up in great field position to extend their lead to 8 points. He made one defender miss, and then made his way to the opposite sideline with a convoy of blockers in front of him. It was a great play, and his second big play of the night after scoring the go-ahead TD earlier that same quarter.

Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images


Final Notes:

This game was a perfect capture of the entire NFL season. We got to see some great offensive play, with a sprinkle of big defensive moments, and rounded up with some more officiating controversy. This game had it all, and I can only hope this trend will carry into next season (minus the awful officiating throughout the year).

Make sure to check back soon as I'll have my NFL 2022 Season Recap posted within the next week. We'll cover the best players, games, moments, and more as we close out one of the craziest years in recent memory.


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