Steve Spagnuolo and the Chiefs defense shut the door on the Niners

A lot of the credit belongs to Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes…but save a small sliver for Steve Spagnuolo and that defense.

Steve who?

This guy. Standing next to the guy guy.

While Mahomes is, was, and will always be the at the center of Kansas City’s success, Spagnuolo – whose NFL coaching career spans 20 years just like Reid’s – had his unit ready to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV, especially in crunch time.

In other words, Mahomes is the key, but the Chiefs defense still closed the door.

Kyle Busch gets it.

In reality, Sunday represented somewhat of a pedestrian effort for the Kansas City offense. Halfway into the fourth quarter, Mahomes had only put up 10 points and had thrown two interceptions.

The San Francisco defense was flying high.

But flying under the radar was the Kansas City defense.

In fact, after the Niners scored their second touchdown of the game with 2:35 left in the third quarter, taking a 20-10 lead in the process, Spagnuolo and the defense took over, allowing 49 yards on 17 plays in the fourth quarter.

In addition, the Chiefs picked off Garoppolo for a second time, forced two punts and forced a turnover on downs, all in the final 15 minutes of Super Bowl LIV.

Spagnuolo has a history of shutting down high-powered offenses.

Remember in 2007, when that team beat that other team – the team that hadn’t loss to any other teams – by holding them to just 14 points?

The Niners offense, like those New England Patriots from 2007, came into Sunday as hot as ever.

San Francisco was averaging 32 points per game in the postseason and was posting 235.5 yards per game on the ground.

Kansas City held them to 141 on the ground.

And while 141 yards isn’t ideal for any defensive coordinator, compared to what the San Francisco ground game had been doing this postseason, 141 is the best Kansas City could have hoped for.

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In the case of the Chiefs, defense might not win championships.

But in the fourth quarter, it certainly helps.