If I told you the Chiefs didn’t score a single offensive touchdown during the Super Bowl, and still lifted the Lombardi Trophy, would you believe it?
That’s exactly how it played out in our latest Madden sim pitting the reigning champs against arguably the greatest team of all-time (not to diminish what the ’72 Dolphins and ’07 Patriots accomplished), the 1985 Chicago Bears. Mike Ditka’s Monsters of the Midway were known for their punishing defense, a unit led by Hall of Famers Mike Singletary, Richard Dent and Dan Hampton. And wouldn’t you know it, the Bears’ mighty defense gave the Chiefs fits, limiting cannon-armed Patrick Mahomes to the second-lowest passing output (a meager 148 yards through the air) of his three-year career.
Mahomes, who will probably join Singletary, Dent and Hampton in Canton someday, looked uncharacteristically flustered, failing to find the end zone against Da Bears (that makes a baker’s dozen for me) while committing a rare interception on an errant deep bomb intended for tight end Travis Kelce. But as he often does, Mahomes saved his best for last, assuring there’d be no Super Bowl shuffling for the Bears this year by engineering a go-ahead scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. The reigning Super Bowl MVP zinged a bullet at Tyreek Hill, who scampered to an 18-yard pickup on second-and-12 just before the two-minute warning. That pushed the Chiefs into easy field-goal range for Harrison Butker, who broke a 17-all tie by booting a 26-yard beauty with 37 ticks on the clock. The Bears had a chance to rebut with a little over half a minute remaining, but after burning all their timeouts on the previous drive, Chicago could only get off two plays before time ran out.
The Chiefs’ 20-17 victory was fueled in large part by their dominance on special teams. Stud rookie Mecole Hardman channeled his inner Devin Hester by taking the opening kickoff back for six while Dorian O’Daniel supplied similar heroics in the fourth quarter, going the other way for a touchdown after scooping up a fumble by Bears return man Ken Taylor. Both plays proved costly for the Bears, who yielded a mere 209 yards (148 passing, 61 rushing) in the losing effort.
Chicago’s Super Bowl defeat will long be remembered for its missed opportunities. While Harrison Butker starred with two field goals for Kansas City, his Bears counterpart Kevin Butler needed a little more leg on his 51-yard attempt, which clanked off the upright. Jim McMahon produced decent counting stats (209 passing yards and a touchdown with another 59 yards rushing) for the Bears but left points on the table with his end-zone pick on first-and-goal early in the second quarter.
Chicago squandered a brilliant performance from Walter Payton, who paced the Bears with 138 rushing yards. Sweetness parted the sea on his 54-yard touchdown gallop, knotting the score at seven just 41 seconds into the first quarter. At that point, it looked like we might have a barnburner on our hands, but clearly that wasn’t the case as the final 59 minutes and change produced only a combined 23 points. KC’s ground game went nowhere with Chicago permitting just 58 rushing yards on 26 carries (2.23 yards per attempt) to workhorse Damien Williams.
For the second straight sim we saw a defensive player earn top billing with pass-rusher Chris Jones receiving Super Bowl MVP honors on the strength of two sacks. You won’t have to wait another week for our next Madden stream because the Patriots and Buccaneers will be gutting it out on our airwaves Tuesday night at 8 PM ET. WEEI’s Jermaine Wiggins and Nick “Fitzy” Stevens will be on the call for that one as virtual Tom Brady makes his much-anticipated return to Gillette Stadium after departing Foxboro in free agency.