One of the main storylines of Super Bowl week was the big, bad Eagles’ defensive line.
That unit came up small on Sunday night thanks to a retooled Chiefs offensive line shutting it down. The Eagles, who led the NFL with 70 sacks this season, were held to no sacks in Super Bowl 2023 and had only five quarterback hits on Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes will get most of the credit for the 38-35 win, but he pointed to his linemen.
“I think the biggest thing was the offensive line,” Mahomes said. “The way they were able to protect me in that second half whenever we couldn’t use those chips, we couldn’t use that stuff to help them out against a great defensive line, that’s the reason we won this game.”
It was a drastic difference from the Chiefs loss in the Super Bowl two years ago when the Buccaneers made Mahomes’ night miserable and Kansas City could not compete because of its offensive line. General manager Brett Veach made it his mission to improve the line after that game and the Chiefs drafted center Creed Humphrey and guard Trey Smith, traded for tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and signed Joe Thuney to a five-year, $80 million contract in free agency. Brown, Humphrey and Thuney were all Pro Bowlers in 2022. PFF ranked the Kansas City line fourth best in the NFL.
On Sunday night, those investments paid off. Mahomes felt some pressure from the Eagles in the first half but barely got touched in the second half. Mahomes was playing on an injured ankle, making protecting him even more important.
The Chiefs’ line did not just do well in pass protection. It also opened up holes in the run game, gaining 158 yards on the ground with Isiah Pacheco leading the way with 76 yards.
Entering the game, there was a lot of talk about how dominant the Eagles’ defensive line was — its 70 sacks the third most in a season in NFL history. The Eagles had four players with double-digit sacks in the regular season.
On Super Bowl Sunday, that fearsome front was no match for the guys up front for the Chiefs.