MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Former BYU linebacker Fred Warner picked a good time for his first career postseason interception.
At one point, too, it looked like the momentum-swinging play for San Francisco against Kansas City in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. A late 21-point rally, though, changed that as the Chiefs pulled out the 31-20 win over the 49ers.
That means another former BYU defender, six-year Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen, is a Super Bowl champion — along with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, another BYU alum.
“I think guys just had a lot of belief, and we stepped up. Guys made huge plays when we needed to,” Sorensen said of a Chiefs defense that held San Francisco scoreless in the fourth quarter. “We believed this whole time that it was going to come down to our defense, and especially the back end, making plays and making stops. We were able to do that.”
Warner’s big play came in the third quarter, as he picked off Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a 3rd-and-12 play with the 49ers leading 13-10. Warner stepped in front of the intended receiver, Tyreek Hill, and made the interception at the San Francisco 42 yard-line, returning it three yards to the team’s 45.
“It was a third-and-long, he tried to force a throw that wasn’t there and I was in good position and made the catch,” Warner said.
That set up a touchdown drive, as San Francisco scored six plays later on a Raheem Mostert 1-yard run to go up 10 with 2:35 left in the third.
San Francisco held Kansas City to 6 of 14 on third downs — including 1 of 6 in the first half — but a 44-yard pass from Mahomes to Hill with seven minutes to play turned the Chiefs’ fortunes, leading to a Kansas City 1-yard touchdown from Travis Kelce, the first of three Kansas City fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Warner finished with seven tackles in the game, including five solo stops and a 6-yard tackle for loss late in the first half that helped stymie a Kansas City drive that reached San Francisco territory.
“I mean, it was a great season, it was. I can’t take anything away from what we’ve done. To go 4-12 and then go to the Super Bowl and have a chance to win in it, it’s one of those things that’ll hurt for a while. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we’re better,” Warner said.
Sorensen had a more quiet game, ending with six tackles — one off the team lead — and four solo stops. He was a defensive catalyst in the Chiefs’ postseason run, though, in his fifth straight postseason with Kansas City, finishing the playoffs with 23 tackles, a forced fumble, a pass deflection and a key stop on a fake punt in the Chiefs’ rally past Houston in the divisional round.
“I think we’ve just embraced this whole process. We’ve allowed the media to get to know us this week, to ask questions, to get to know the personalities and the players that we have on this team. We’ve got players all across the board, up and down,” Sorensen said.
Here’s how other locals fared in Super Bowl LIV
Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State: The Chiefs’ backup running back had one carry for no gain on a first-and-goal at the 1 and was an intended target inside the red zone on another drive. The rookie, though, earned a Super Bowl title.
Jackson Barton, OT, Utah and Brighton High: The Chiefs’ backup right tackle, a rookie, was inactive for the game but earned the Utes a ring, along with former Ute teammate Alex Whittingham, a defensive quality control coach for Kansas City.
Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High: The third-year pro is a Super Bowl champ, too. He’s been on injured reserve for Kansas City after tearing ACL and MCL in August.
Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah: The 49ers’ punter had two second-half punts that averaged 43 yards and had one that pinned Kansas City at its 17 in the fourth quarter. He also served as the team’s kickoff specialist and holder.