LAS VEGAS — The first half of Super Bowl LVIII is in the books. The San Francisco 49ers scored first and held a 10-0 lead until just before halftime, when the Kansas City Chiefs converted a chip-shot field goal to make the score 10-3 at the end of the second quarter.
Here are the top five takeaways from the first half of Super Bowl LVIII.
Top 5 Observations From Super Bowl LVIII
Patrick Mahomes Needs Another Super Bowl Comeback
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will need to mount a comeback to win their third Super Bowl in five years, but they’ve been here before.
Mahomes has trailed by double-digits in all four of his Super Bowl appearances, so a seven-point deficit should be manageable. He missed on just 2 of 13 attempts in the first half, averaging 9.5 yards per attempt.
Mahomes has been pressured on 35.3% of his dropbacks. He’s been able to create, but he hasn’t enjoyed the same clean pockets as 49ers QB Brock Purdy despite ending the first half with the same pressure rate.
Costly Chiefs Errors
If the Chiefs want to come back on Sunday, they’ll need to stop committing self-inflicted mistakes.
Mahomes hit wideout Mecole Hardman for a 52-yard completion to San Francisco’s 9-yard line with 13:01 remaining in the second quarter, setting up the Chiefs with first-and-goal. It was the third-longest pass of Mahomes’ career.
That deep shot looked like the spark Kansas City needed, but running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled one play later. Pacheco’s miscue cost the Chiefs 13.1 points of win probability, per Next Gen Stats.
Meanwhile, All-World TE Travis Kelce posted just one target, one catch, and one yard in the first half. He was spotted yelling at Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after being pulled for backup TE Noah Gray.
Add in five penalties for 50 yards, and KC is beating itself.
49ers’ Trick Play Works
The 49ers scored the only touchdown of the first half on a long pass play, but Purdy wasn’t the one throwing the ball.
San Francisco got creative near the end of the second quarter. After starting at their own 33, the 49ers drove past midfield and faced a 2nd-and-10 from the Chiefs’ 21.
Purdy took the snap and fired the ball left to wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who threw it back right to RB Christian McCaffrey, who broke multiple tackles for a long TD.
Kyle Shanahan’s Clock Management Still Needs Work
The 49ers are leading at halftime, but head coach Kyle Shanahan’s questionable clock management decisions reared their head near the end of the second quarter.
The Chiefs took their time at the end of the half, methodically driving down the field and hoping not to give the ball back to San Francisco.
Kansas City had a 1st-and-10 from the 49ers’ 14-yard line with 1:09 remaining in the second quarter. Shanahan had all three timeouts remaining but improbably failed to use one until after third down, with just 23 seconds left on the game clock.
Had Shanahan used his timeouts earlier, San Francisco could have had a chance to drive down the field and score at least a field goal.
49ers Lose LB Dre Greenlaw
The 49ers will be forced to play the second half without one of their best defensive players.
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered an Achilles injury while running onto the field after a 49ers punt. While he was initially listed as questionable to return, Greenlaw has been ruled out.
Part of one of the league’s best linebacker duos alongside partner Fred Warner, Greenlaw represents a significant absence. Oren Burks took his place in the starting lineup.
With Greenlaw out, the Chiefs could potentially lean into multiple tight end formations, forcing the 49ers to deploy base defensive personnel and put backup linebackers on the field.
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