We need to show Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Andrew Wylie some love.
In the buildup to Super Bowl LVII, supposedly smart people — like myself — argued that the Philadelphia Eagles defensive front would be a huge different in the game. Notably, the matchup between Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick, and Wylie, the Chiefs right tackle.
With 13 of Reddick’s 16 sacks this season coming over the right tackle, this was a matchup that could tilt the course of Super Bowl LVII.
It certainly did.
Just not as we expected.
Reddick, and the rest of the Philadelphia offensive line, struggled to get any consistent pressure on Patrick Mahomes all night. The Eagles defense did not get a single sack during Super Bowl LVII, and Wylie silenced both Reddick, and his doubters.
His stalwart effort started early, on this connection between Mahomes and Travis Kelce to open the scoring for Kansas City. Watch as the right tackle takes on the bull rush move from Reddick, fights to reestablish his anchor, and give Mahomes enough time to get off this throw to Kelce for the first Chiefs’ touchdown of the night:
In the third quarter, while everyone was watching Mahomes scramble, take not of what Wylie does at the top of the screen:
Reddick slips, perhaps falling victim to the slippery surface that was a constant theme of Super Bowl LVII, and Wylie pounces, punishing the pass rusher by pinning him to the turf and not letting him get back to his feet.
On this play from the fourth quarter, watch how well Wylie mirrors the various moves Reddick tries to put together, giving Mahomes time to find JuJu Smith-Schuster to move the chains for Kansas City:
Later, on a pivotal scramble from Mahomes, Wylie again held his own on the edge against Reddick, helping create the lane for his quarterback:
This time, Wylie got a little assistance from Kelce, who chips the pass rusher before releasing into the flat. Still, Wylie was in good position throughout the play, locking Reddick up and giving Mahomes time to create.
Wylie’s effort, along of that from the rest of the Kansas City offensive line, was a huge reason for the Chiefs’ win in Super Bowl LVII. For many, one of the big advantages the Eagles had heading into the game was their ability in the trenches. Their ability to get consistent pressure with four throughout the regular season — and at a staggering rate in the playoffs — was a big part of their success throughout the year.
Of which Reddick was a massive piece.
In the buildup to Super Bowl LVII, former Chiefs offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz made the case that if the Chiefs could play the battle in the trenches to a stalemate, they would win the game. The Chiefs might have even done that one better, by not only protecting Mahomes — who reinjured his right leg in the first half — and paving the way for a flawless second half, but also creating opportunities on the ground.
After all, Kansas City outgained the vaunted Eagles’ rushing attack 158-115, and averaged 6.1 yards per attempts in Super Bowl LVII.
Now, part of this was certainly schematic. Mahomes averaged 2.69 seconds from snap-to-throw in Super Bowl LVII, below his yearly average of 2.89 seconds and the quickest time he posted the entire postseason. As we discusse earlier this week, this game might come down to a battle between two of the year’s biggest overarching themes, and in the end, it looks like it diid.
But consider these numbers:
Patrick Mahomes was pressured on 25.9% of his dropbacks in Super Bowl LVII.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) February 13, 2023
This was the first game since Week 12 where the Eagles did not record a pressure rate over 34%, snapping their NGS era record of 8-straight games.#SBLVII | #ChiefsKingdom
People like me thought the matchup up front — and in particular the matchup between Wylie and Reddick — would determine the course of Super Bowl LVII.
As it turns out, we were right. Just not the way we thought we would be.