TAMPA BAY, Florida − In his 45th playoff game of his career and his 10th Super Bowl appearance (both NFL records), Tom Brady came into the game with more than enough experience in the NFL’s biggest stage. He spoke during the week on how much playing in this game means to him.
“To have an opportunity to play in this game means a lot to me, it’s a lot of commitment and sacrifice by a lot of guys,” said Brady.
From the start, it was clear that commitment paid off; the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers played a nearly perfect game as they ran away with the Super Bowl LV, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, to win Super Bowl LV.
Brady set the tone early on, responding to a Chiefs field goal with an 8-play, 75-yard drive, capped with an 8-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski. The TD connection was the 14th between Brady and Gronkowski in their postseason careers, the most for any quarterback-wide receiver duo in NFL postseason history. Brady would connect with Gronk again from 17 yards out for another TD later in the second quarter to stretch the record to 15 TD’s between the two.
Using a tone-setting 6-play, 74-yard touchdown drive early in the third quarter, Brady and the Bucs were able to dominate the second half and run away with the game. The Bucs finished with 342 yards in a balanced offensive attack; 195 yards through the air and another 145 on the ground.
Brady finished with 201 yards on 21-29 passing and 3 touchdowns. He was named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time in his career, another NFL record. He joins Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl MVP for multiple franchises.
“We came together at the right time. I think we knew this was going to happen, right?” Brady said after the game.
Bucs’ defense, penalties crush Chiefs rhythm
For the Chiefs, the offense struggled to find the openings they had all postseason. Mahomes was held to just 2/8 passing for 9 yards in the first quarter as the Bucs’ defense swarmed last year’s Super Bowl MVP.
Penalties were critical to the Chiefs’ slow start. They committed 8 penalties for 95 yards lost in the first half, greatly benefiting both the Bucs’ offense and defense. A defensive holding penalty on cornerback Jamel Dean negated what would have been an interception by safety Tyrann Mathieu on the Bucs’ second scoring drive.
Secondly, the Bucs’ defense dialed up unique pressure packages to keep Patrick Mahomes out- of-sync. Most of the game, Mahomes was forced out of the pocket by multiple Bucs’ defenders as defensive coordinator Todd Bowles gave Mahomes limited time to make decisions. They knocked down Mahomes 9 times throughout the night and totaled 3 sacks.
The Chiefs were without tackle Eric Fisher, leaving their offensive line with a depleted rotation. The lack of depth showed as the Bucs continuously broke through the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Shaq Barrett continued the pass-rushing tear he has been on all postseason; he finished with 2 sacks and was in Mahomes’s face all night.
All these factors combined to keep the NFL’s top offense contained. The Chiefs finished with 350 total yards, 50 yards shy of their regular season average. Mahomes finished with just 270 passing yards, no touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The double-digit loss is the first the Chiefs have suffered since they drafted Mahomes in 2017.
“Listen, Todd (Bowles) had a good plan. But I could have done a lot better job at putting my guys in better positions,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
Brady and Mathieu get heated, go at each other
In a physical game with the ultimate goal at stake, emotions are bound to get high, even for the best players on the field. That was true for Tom Brady and Tyrann Mathieu, who had multiple heated exchanges while on the field.
Early on, Brady and Mathieu could be seen arguing after a failed 3rd down by the Bucs. Brady logged that in his memory, and when he found Antonio Brown for a touchdown late in the second half, he let Mathieu know about it. The resulting argument resulted in an unsportsmanlike penalty on Mathieu.
The altercation seemed to provide an extra spark for Brady. On many occasions, it seemed Brady may have been throwing at Mathieu’s matchup intentionally.
Bruce Arians wins first Super Bowl as Head Coach
Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians had won two Lombardi Trophies as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Following his retirement in 2017, it seemed like any chance of leading his own team to a Super Bowl was out of the question.
Now, at 68 years old, Arians is the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl. The 45-year coaching veteran gave all the credit to his staff and players.
“This really belongs to our coaching staff and our players. This is your trophy. I didn’t do a damn thing,” said Arians. “You came together as a band of brothers and you made it happen.”
Tom Brady: 21/29. 201 yards, 3 TDs
Rob Gronkowski: 6 receptions, 67 yards, 2 TDs Leonard Fournette: 16 carries, 89 yards, 1 TD Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 26/49, 270 yards, 2 INTs Travis Kelce: 10 receptions, 133 yards
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 9 carries, 64 yards