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Recapping Nick Bolton’s Super Bowl Performance

The former Mizzou linebacker starred as the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LVII. Here’s how it went down.

West Virginia v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Super Bowl LVII will go down as one of the most memorable in history; the Kansas City Chiefs won on a last-second field goal to finish off an impressive comeback against the Philadelphia Eagles, who were led by a supernova performance by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Patrick Mahomes was hobbled by a high ankle sprain, but still managed to lead his team to victory with a spectacular second half. Both offenses were explosive and the game was littered with big plays; arguably none bigger than a “scoop ‘n’ score” defensive touchdown by former Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton.

The second-year player has continued his show-out efforts in the Show Me State. After starring in Columbia as a tackling machine, Bolton moved west to Arrowhead Stadium and picked up where he left off, finishing second in the league in total tackles (180) and first overall in solo tackles (99). While advanced analytics indicate that Bolton struggles in coverage, he is a rising star and a franchise player for the Chiefs. His reputation is built on his tireless work ethic, excellent run stuffing ability, and his locker room leadership; Bolton is a team captain already in only his second year in the league.

All of this culminated Sunday night in Phoenix. With all eyes on Mahomes, Hurts, Rihanna, and referee Carl Cheffers, Nick Bolton was a standout performer and arguably the best defensive player in the game for both sides. He introduced himself to America as a household name with a fumble recovery touchdown in the second quarter:

This play came at a crucial time for the Chiefs, as the Eagles offense was white-hot and the Chiefs had been misfiring on their chances with the ball. Instead of a potential 21-7 deficit, Bolton tied the game at 14 apiece single-handedly (well, with a little bit of help from Jalen Hurts’ generosity). Also of note: it was the first touchdown scored by a Missouri Tiger in Super Bowl history.

Bolton would continue to impress all night. The Eagles vaunted rushing attack – one of the best in league history by DVOA metrics – was held to just 45 yards by running backs. Bolton’s clean-up efforts (9 tackles, 8 solo) were critical in keeping the Eagles from busting big gains on the ground, and he made multiple crucial stops one-on-one against Eagles ball carriers short of the sticks.

Football Twitter was taking notice of the Missouri alumnus; everyone from SBNation’s JP Acosta to star linebacker Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys gave him props.

Then, in the third quarter, the unthinkable happened: Eagles running back Miles Sanders gathered in a swing pass from Hurts, took one step, two, and was popped by Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Bolton corralled the resulting fumble, and strolled untouched for what appeared to be his second score of the Super Bowl. But the play was overturned by replay, with the referees ruling that Sanders had not fully possessed the ball before Sneed’s hit.

Bolton may have lost out on a second touchdown, but he and his teammates reached the summit as the Chiefs unlocked the Eagles defense in the second half and rallied for victory. A significant portion of the Missouri Tigers fanbase also root for the Chiefs, but all Tigers can be unified in enjoying Bolton’s heroic performance.