The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl Champions. After a season like no other, Tom Brady has his seventh ring as the franchise lifted their second Lombardi Trophy.
Despite being the ever so slight underdogs, the Buccaneers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in a one-sided affair.
So how did they do it?
Chiefs’ Costly First Half Penalties
Kansas City will be thinking about this one for a while. Several first-half penalties ended up costing this team.
On the Buccaneers’ second drive, Brady found Gronkowski for a three-yard gain on second down before Chris Jones was flagged for unnecessary roughness. This reset the downs and later on in the drive, Brady found wide receiver Mike Evans to put the Buccaneers in the red zone.
The Chiefs managed to get a fourth-down stop which saw a turnover on downs, but this would not be the last penalty that the Chiefs would be flagged for.
Arguably the most critical penalties came in the second quarter, as the Chiefs ended the first half with 95 penalty yards.
With 7.47 left of the second quarter, Brady’s tipped pass was intercepted by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. The flag was thrown and cornerback Charvarius Ward was penalised for holding. Later on, during the same possession, Tampa Bay was forced to kick a field goal.
Bradley Pinion converted the field goal but Kansas City was flagged for offside, giving Tampa Bay a 1st and 10. They went down the field and Gronk would get his second touchdown of the day, beating Chiefs rookie L’Jarius Sneed easily in coverage.
Mathieu would later get called for pass interference in the end zone in a Buccaneers drive that saw Brady find Antonio Brown for the touchdown.
Had the Mathieu interception not been bought back for holding and the offside for the field goal not taken place, the Buccaneers would have been 14-6 up and not 21-6 ahead.
This may have also seen the Chiefs have more time to get points before the end of the half, which could have seen a more even contest in the second half.
Buccaneers Defense Troubles Kansas City And MahomesEmbed from Getty Images
Before the game, people were talking about the absence of offensive tackle Eric Fisher. It turned out to be a big factor as the Chiefs offensive line failed to protect Mahomes.
The Chiefs quarterback also ran for 497 yards before his passes or sacks in this game, the most pre-throw and pre-sack yards for anyone in the position this season.
Mahomes failed to throw or run for a touchdown, which he has only done twice before in his NFL career. He also threw for an average of 5.5 yards per throw, his second-lowest of the season.
The old saying goes that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. The Bucs defense certainly proved this with a truly dominant display.
Linebacker Devin White recorded 12 tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass deflected. Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh finally got a Super Bowl ring, playing his part with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.
Fellow linebacker Shaq Barrett also recorded one sack, with four quarterback hits.
It was seen as the way for the Buccaneers to win this game and Tampa Bay certainly proved this to be the case.
Tampa Bay’s More Efficient Offense
The Buccaneers were way more efficient than the Chiefs were. In the first two Kansas City drives, Mahomes tried finding Hill on a deep ball but both passes ending up incomplete. On the third drive, tight end Travis Kelce dropped a pass on third down.
Meanwhile, Brady found Brown for a 16 yard gain on Tampa Bay’s third drive which resulted in a touchdown from Gronkowski. This score with less than 40 seconds to go in the first quarter, put Tampa Bay 7-3 up.
The aforementioned second Gronkowski touchdown as well as Brown’s contribution meant that it was going to make a comeback for the ages if the Chiefs were to come back in this game. In truth, the Chiefs never looked like winning this game.
Mahomes looked a shadow of the player we have seen in the past three seasons. He had not lost a game by more than 8 points in his NFL career before last night’s loss, with the Texas Tech product finally showing he can be comfortably beaten in the worst performance of his career so far.