Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been crowned world champions on one of the sport’s biggest stages: the Super Bowl. There was tremendous hype in the lead up to February 7th, 2021, as it was the modern-day superstar Patrick Mahomes vs the goat Tom Brady, or like many called it Lebron vs Michael Jordan. This game was predicted to not only be entertaining but was labeled to be a game for the ages. As we all know, this never really transpired, and here’s why.
Kansas City was favored to win this game for various reasons, and the odds were definitely in their favor. Most notably because they had one of the best offenses this year with an absolute cheat code at QB surrounded by weapons of all shapes and sizes, a solid defensive line to put pressure on the front 5, and a solid secondary.
Not to mention the fact that KC suffered just one loss all year and dominated Tampa with the passing game with a huge 27-24 win in Week 12 of the regular season.
And if Patrick wasn’t enough for teams all year, he had Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, and Sammy Watkins at his disposal all in their prime. On the flip side, Tampa Bay’s defense hadn’t gotten enough credit and was seriously underrated.
Tampa Bay’s defense helped Brady. The offense brings down two future Hall of Famers: Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, and an honorable mention to Taylor Heinicke, who showed up big time in the early Wild Card round against Tampa.
The Tampa defense had hit their stride throughout the postseason as well as their offense. So when the fateful day came about, we finally got to see what coverages and pressures Tampa’s outstanding defense was going to throw at the chiefs.
Throughout the whole game, Mahomes literally ran for his life due to the front seven of Tampa’s D Line continually breaching the beat-up and vulnerable chief’s offensive line. The stat was astounding: Mahomes ran for almost 500 (497) yards simply trying to evade the likes of Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Steven McClendon, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, and Vita Vea. Not only did Mahomes not have as much time to throw all game as he was used to, but Tampa had also learned from the previous matchup and had the legion of zoom locked up all game.
Travis Kelce managed to get 133 yards on ten recs, but Hill, Hardman, and Watkins weren’t able to find the best ways to help Mahomes out and, as a result, ended with barely 100 yards combined. Tampa’s offense, on the other hand, was dominating with the run, screen, and play-action game.
Tampa is now the only team that Mahomes has faced as a starter where he didn’t score a touchdown. Tampa held Mahomes to 243 yards and 2 Ints with zero TDs
Debates have ensued as to what was the true downfall of the chiefs in the Super Bowl. For me, I believe it was the hunger of Tampa to win, the leadership of Brady, and the underestimation on the chiefs part of that mean Tampa D line. Of course, the Tampa offense was great, but as we all know, defense wins championships.