Buccaneers handle Chiefs, win Super Bowl LV behind Tom Brady


Hansen Hasenberg, Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into this year’s Super Bowl as a slight underdog (+3.5), but soon made it look like they were the favorites.

Tampa Bay defeated Kansas City 31-9 in a blowout that most didn’t see coming.

Coming into the game, both teams had been highly successful on offense with defenses that were stingy enough to make plays when they had to.

Based on that, many fans expected the Super Bowl to be a high scoring affair that would come down to the last few minutes of the game.

As it turned out, the Buccaneers had other plans.

The game started with the Buccaneers stalling out on the first drive, something that did not happen for most of the rest of the game. Both teams traded punts for a few drives, but the Chiefs then put together a drive that ended with a field goal. 

That would be the one lead the Chiefs had Sunday night. They gave up the lead on the ensuing drive.

Tom Brady, who is 43, led Tampa Bay 75 yards downfield in eight plays that ended in an endzone connection with Brady’s fellow former Patriot Rob Gronkowski. 

Gronkowski would finish the game with six receptions, 67 yards and two touchdowns.

During the first half, anything that could go wrong for the Chiefs, did go wrong.

Kansas City committed eight penalties for 95 yards in the first half, a Super Bowl record. In total, the Chiefs were called for 11 penalties and 120 yards to the Bucs four penalties and 39 yards.

Some of the calls were questionable, but the Chiefs found themselves out of sorts, nonetheless.

Patrick Mahomes, quarterback for the Chiefs and one of the best players in the NFL, was given very little time to throw the ball as the Buccaneers defense went after him with a vengeance.

The Buccaneers didn’t get to Mahomes in the first half, but the pressure was enough to keep the Chiefs from effectively getting the ball to their playmakers.

Todd Bowles, the Buccaneers defensive coordinator, was able to do what no other team has been able to, shut down Mahomes. 

Mahomes probably had the worst game of his career, throwing two interceptions and posting a passer rating of 52.3. 

In comparison, Brady had a passer rating of 125.8 while throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. For his stellar play, Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time.

Vita Vea, who came back from a broken ankle suffered against the Bears in week 5 of the regular season, played a significant role in making Mahomes uncomfortable throughout the game and allowing other Bucs to get to the quarterback faster.

As mentioned in The Voyager’s “Super Bowl Preview,” the Chiefs were without Eric Fisher.

The offensive tackle, who is one of the Chiefs’ best lineman and a leader up front, was clearly missed.

The pressure ultimately amounted to three sacks and five tackles for loss.

Near the end of the first half, it was still a one score game and the Chiefs were trying to keep Brady and Tampa Bay out of scoring position while also giving themselves a chance to score. 

What happened next was representative of the whole night for Kansas City. 

With:49 seconds left before half; Brady threw a pass to receiver Chris Godwin for eight yards on 2nd & 10.

The Chiefs then proceeded to call a timeout with :44 seconds left and a third down stop away from getting the ball back to Mahomes and the offense, who are usually quite skillful at getting points right before half. 

This turned out to hurt the Chiefs as Brady and the Buccaneers were able to preserve their remaining timeout and not worry about the clock.

Brady threw a quick out to Gronkowski for five yards and the first down, moving the Buccaneers closer to midfield and a shot at points before halftime.

The following play, Kansas City cornerback Bashaud Breeland was called for a massive defensive pass interference penalty on Bucs receiver Mike Evans, resulting in the ball being moved to the Chiefs’ 24-yard line.

After a dump off pass to Leonard Fournette that pushed the ball up to the nine-yard line, the Buccaneers took a timeout with :13 seconds left.

With the following play, an attempted pass into the endzone, another flag was called on the Chiefs’ defense. This time on Tyrann Mathieu.

As the foul occurred in the endzone, the ball was then placed at the one-yard line and Brady took advantage, throwing a strike to Antonio Brown, the former Pittsburgh Steelers standout.

That made the score 21-6. 

The second half was much of the same and despite some late game theatrics from Mahomes, including a 30 or so yard throw that he attempted while falling sideways, the Chiefs could not overcome the Buccaneers in Tampa. 

Self-inflicted wounds by the Chiefs and inspired play from the Buccaneers defense were really the deciding factors in this year’s big game.

Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, who has been coaching since the mid-1970s and had just come back to coaching after a brief hiatus, won his first Super Bowl as a head coach at the age of 68.

One could make a reference to the “Over-the-Hill Gang” from the early 1970’s NFL when talking about Arians and Brady but despite their ages, they seem to be at the peak of their careers. And don’t plan on slowing down.

While holding the Lombardi trophy during the postgame celebration, Brady announced that he intended to stick around for a while in Tampa: “We’re coming back.”

This past year, Tampa Bay was a team filled with name brand talent. It will be interesting to see how long they can keep the crew together with free agency coming up.

As for now, they will just have to celebrate the second Super Bowl title in Franchise history and another title for the city, as the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup this past season.