The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense had a tough challenge knowing they were going to face Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Kansas City Chiefs offense in the Super Bowl. There was a lot of talk of Mahomes scorching this Buccaneers defense again like how he did in Week 12.
You look around several outlets, and many, if not the majority, had the Chiefs blowing the Bucs away. People discredited the Bucs defense. Many thought it would be a walk in the park. There were even double-digit predicted wins for Kansas City.
On Sunday, February 7, it was the other way around.
Tampa Bay’s offense exploded throughout the night and took advantage of the Chiefs miscues. Play after play on offense, quarterback Tom Brady led the Bucs down the field with touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. Running back Leonard Fournette also added one on the ground. The offensive performance will be talked about and rightfully so.
But what will also be talked about how Mahomes wasn’t 100-percent, discrediting the performance from this Tampa Bay’s defense.
Mahomes first injured his toe in the Divisional Round against the Cleveland Browns which was a game the young gunslinger also left early due to a concussion. Mahomes played the following week in the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills. In that game, Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns on a 76-percent completion percentage. The Bills didn’t have any answers for a quarterback who was far-less than 100-percent that game.
But the Buccaneers did have answers for a quarterback that had two weeks to prepare and get healthier, which he was. Tampa Bay was just better.
Sure, we’ll hear how the Chiefs shuffled their offensive line and Mahomes was already against the 8-ball with his injuries. But you know what we saw? A stellar quarterback still making plays, eluding Buccaneers defenders, incredibly hitting receivers in their hands as he had Shaquil Barrett draped all over his back on multiple occasions avoiding sacks.
Were those injuries and the shuffling of the offensive line considered when many still predicted a Chiefs blowout? What will those same folks say?
Kansas City’s offense was just falling short to a defense who was better prepared and knew what they had to do. And that is what happened Sunday night.
When it was all said and done, the Buccaneers held Mahomes to 270 yards passing and two interceptions, where the majority of those yards came in what many like to call “garbage time” being that the game was already in complete control of the Buccaneers and their defense.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles got his unit ready to play. Tampa Bay’s defense was ready for Mahomes.
And that was the difference in the Buccaneers 31-9 Super Bowl LV victory over the Chiefs.