Well the heavily hyped Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes Super Bowl matchup was a dud, but there is no denying that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put on an all-time great defensive performance just as they did the last time they won the Lombardi Trophy.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ attempt to repeat as champions fell flat at Raymond James Stadium. In the worst loss of the Mahomes era, Kansas City was held out of the end zone and the Buccaneers coasted to a 31-9 win that underwhelmed in terms of entertainment but no doubt stunned many who couldn’t believe this Chiefs juggernaut could be held down so emphatically.
The first half was dominated by the Buccaneers, with a little help from the referees and Kansas City’s own poor discipline. Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns, two to Rob Gronkowski (who else?) and one to Antonio Brown, to give the Bucs a 21-6 lead over the defending champions. Patrick Mahomes was frazzled and held to just 9/19 for 67 yards heading into halftime. Tampa Bay’s rushing attack also racked up 63 yards on 13 attempts between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, although Jones failed to score on 4th and goal at the 1 when the Bucs were up 7-3. Fournette finished with 89 yards on 16 carries and a TD while Jones had 61 yards on 12 carries.
Those referees gave the Bucs six first downs by penalty and while some were silly mistakes like the Chiefs lining up offsides on a 4th and 5 field goal attempt, or a few obvious holds, there were some other debatable defensive holding penalties and two pass interference penalties on Tampa’s final drive of the first half that could have been deemed uncatchable. Personally I thought the one on Bashaud Breeland was a penalty but the one on Tyrann Mathieu was not catchable unless Evans is 12 feet tall.
Whatever you thought of the officiating, it didn’t really matter considering the Chiefs offense had nothing going and the Bucs just about slammed the door shut when Leonard Fournette broke free for a 27-yard score to extend the lead to 28-9. Mahomes continued to be harassed and his receivers certainly struggled to hang onto the ball. He finished the day 26/49 for 270 yards and 2 interceptions, whereas Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady was 21/29 for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most of his damage was done in the first half when the game was still competitive.
My personal highlight was when the Bucs turned the Chiefs over on downs and then Antoine Winfield Jr did the “deuces” sign at Tyreek Hill and got a taunting flag. Easily one of the finest acts of taunting I have ever seen at this level.
Brady gets his 7th ring and his first year in Tampa Bay is as successful as hoped for him and the franchise. Mahomes is great, he’s already got a ring, but he’s not infallible and he was out of sorts. The whole team was. Kansas City played its worst game under Mahomes and the Bucs, who were 7-5 after losing to the Chiefs in late November, outscored Kansas City 55-19 from the 2nd quarter of the first meeting all the way through Super Bowl 55. Todd Bowles deserves a head coaching job again.
All I can say is congratulations to the Buccaneers on a tremendous performance and thank you to the Chiefs for not playing like this last year.