GLENDALE, Arizona -- Kadarius Toney had a season full of ups and downs and twists and turns, especially during his time with the New York Giants, but during a two-play sequence in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday night at State Farm Stadium you could see why the Kansas City Chiefs traded a 2023 compensatory third-round draft pick and a sixth-rounder to the Giants to acquire the former first-round receiver.
On back-to-back touches during the fourth quarter, Toney caught a go-ahead touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes and then had the longest punt return in Super Bowl history, while falling just short of the first punt return touchdown in Super Bowl history.
Those two plays from the talented, but oft-injured receiver proved critical in the Chiefs' 38-35 victory, as they overcame a 24-14 halftime deficit. Entering Sunday night's game, teams leading by double digits at halftime were 26-1 in Super Bowl history.
"I don't know what the Giants was doing with KT, but he's a dog,'' JuJu Smith-Schuster said after the game. "Brett Veach and Andy Reid, they know how to pick and choose who to go get for this team.''
Toney was quiet all night (one punt return for 12 yards) up until the fourth quarter, but that's when he shined on football's grandest stage. With 12:04 remaining, he caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from game MVP Mahomes, putting the Chiefs up, 28-27.
After the Eagles went three-and-out on their next drive, Toney's speed and elusiveness were on full display on a 65-yard punt return to the Eagles' 5, setting up a touchdown which gave the Chiefs a 35-27 lead with 9:22 left. The dynamic return shifted momentum in the Chiefs' favor.
KADARIUS TONEY TAKES IT DOWN TO THE 5 YARD LINE.— NFL (@NFL) February 13, 2023
THIS GAME. 🔥🔥🔥
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Toney hadn't been much of a factor for the Chiefs prior to Sunday. He had mainly been used on gadget plays and punt returns. For most of the 2022 season, he showed the same issues he had with the Giants: inconsistency and injuries.
An ankle injury forced him out of the AFC Championship Game, where he played just four offensive snaps and one on special teams during the win over the Bengals. He was targeted twice and had one catch for 9 yards. And he returned one punt for 12 yards.
Toney seems to just be scratching the surface on what he can do and he'll have to avoid the injury bug moving forward, but he's a Super Bowl champion and, if not for him, the Eagles might have been able to make that claim.