As the Chiefs clung to their 11-point lead in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers, they got one last key defensive stand that sealed the deal.
On second-and-10 from their own 25-yard line, the 49ers' last stand came short when they saw quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's deep pass over the middle was intercepted by Chiefs safety Kendall Fuller.
The game-sealing play wrapped the Chiefs' 31-20 victory against the 49ers, one that saw Kansas City (15-4) come clawing back past San Francisco (15-4) with 21 unanswered points, sparked behind stops by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's unit.
Spagnuolo, the former New York Giants defensive coordinator with stints from 2007-08 and 2015-17, completed the Chiefs' turnaround on defense as the NFL's No. 17 defense at 349.6 total yards and 19.2 points per game for 2019.
For some perspective, the Chiefs had the NFL's second-worst total defense at 405.5 total yards and 26.3 points allowed per game in 2018, relying solely on an offense that ranked among the league's best behind MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
After spending the 2018 season away from football for the first time in his roughly 30-year coaching career, the 60-year-old Spagnuolo reinvented himself, becoming a key cog on offensive-minded head coach Andy Reid's revamped defensive staff.
Upon leading the Chiefs into the Super Bowl, Spagnuolo was reminiscent of his last trip to the league championship game at the end of the 2007 season, when the Giants won 17-14 over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
"Being here does bring me back to that, so it's a really good memory," Spagnuolo said last Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night. "That was a special group. This is a special group I'm with right now, but what we did then, nobody expected it and it came out okay. I remember them talking about the 19-0 book that was already written. The boys got all fired up about it. A lot of special things about it."