Rams CB Marcus Peters on his former Chiefs teammates
Please, please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE give us a rematch in the Super Bowl. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Give us this game again, on American sports’ biggest stage, because there could not possibly be a more entertaining match of stars and schemes and violence and gorgeous athleticism.
Give us this game again, with a championship on the line in Atlanta in February, because that’s what deserves to be on the line with teams this good.
Actually, give us this game again, with a better officiating crew, because that’s also what teams this good deserve.
The Rams beat the Chiefs 54-51 here on Monday night, a game every bit as entertaining as that Big 12 score would indicate. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was creative, and accurate, and also too often careless. Rams quarterback Jared Goff was surgical, on time, and for the Chiefs too often unbothered.
Here’s something: the Chiefs gave up the go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes left, and the immediate reaction was ... too much time. Except then the game was ended — for all intents and purposes — on an interception by Marcus Peters, the man the Chiefs traded after last season, the one who we all thought this game would revolve around a long time ago, before we saw the madness that ensued.
This is the next generation of both the NFL and Chiefs, something we’ve also all seen coming for some time, but never so forcefully, so overwhelmingly, so entertainingly. Patrick Mahomes threw for 464 yards and six touchdowns and will actually watch the tape and see mistakes — and not just on the interceptions.
The list of grievances against the officials out of this is too long for the internet, and includes missed calls on both sides, even if the view through a red lens (understandably) focuses on missed holds on Chris Jones and false starts on Rams right tackle Rob Havenstein and soft pass interference calls early against the Chiefs’ secondary and personal fouls for Tyreek Hill doing the same peace-sign celebration he’s done so many times before without consequence.
This was fun, from the jump and through the final gun. We overhype just about everything in sports, from uniform combinations right on up, but every once in a while all of us who play various parts of the ecosystem get it right.
If the Super Bowl is a rematch, and it’s 75 percent this entertaining, it’ll be a classic.
The Chiefs were a combination of wildly undisciplined and occasionally singled out unfairly with penalties, but they kept their brains enough to stabilize.
The Rams’ offense is a ballet when it’s going, and it was going. There seems to be a different receiver open in half-second increments of Jared Goff’s drops. Some of it is with pick plays, most of it with innovative play design that is literally changing the league.
The Chiefs offense is more like a choreographed rock dance, moments of balletic screen passes interrupted by thunderous stiff arms by Kareem Hunt or balls thrown 63 yards in the air from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill.
Together, this is as just about entertaining as football can be, and the logical end of what the NFL has been pushing for years — better quarterbacks, more open play calls, and basically a mandate against defense.
This is what the NFL wants to be in 2018, complete with off-the-field drama that just adds to the entertainment. The game was moved from Mexico City, of course, away from a field deemed unsafe, back to Los Angeles where the league put on a heck of a show in seven days.
More than 70,000 fans showed up, many of them first responders to the tragic fires given free tickets, some of them diverting their plans from Mexico on short notice to watch the show.
The payoff proved worth the trouble, with touchdowns in just about every way imaginable — short passes, improvised passes, long passes, intercepted passes, and fumbles. If you had never seen football before, and did not want to watch more, there would be no hope.
Maybe try something with more action, like an actual knife fight on surfboards with sharks circling the water.
Let the rest of us watch the rematch, hopefully. In the Super Bowl.