What was hyped up to be a shootout, quickly turned into a one sided beatdown. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were simply more physical and quick on both sides of the ball. I want to personally apologize to the Bucs’ defense for not giving them enough respect in my preview for this game, because nobody has ever held Patrick Mahomes out of the end zone in his brief career and they deserve a ton of props, not to mention a lot of MVP votes for this game. Meanwhile, Tom Brady continued to prove why he’s the GOAT, helping lead the Buccaneers to a dominant 31-9 in their own backyard. Congrats Tampa on your second championship and to Brady on your historic 7th ring to officially put the GOAT debate to bed for good.
I’m going to first start by praising DC Todd Bowles for a masterful game plan to shut down the future GOAT of the NFL in Mahomes. Holding him to 53% passing, zero touchdowns, 2 second half interceptions and 23% conversion on 3rd down says it all. WR Tyreek Hill was blanketed all night, with only 73 yards receiving and while TE Travis Kelce hauled in 10 catches for 133 yards, nobody else was able to get open. However no amount of receptions or yards meant anything, when you consider Mahomes was given no time to throw the entire game. Every time he looked up, a Buccaneers pass rusher was in his face or chasing him out of the pocket. I guess I underestimated how u ugly things would get for the Chiefs without their two starting tackles. This defensive performance should be considered as one of the greatest of all time, right up there with the 2000 Ravens, 2002 Buccaneers, 2013 Seahawks and 2018 Patriots. Nothing the Chiefs tried to run on offense worked and Bowles should be considered for a future head coaching position in the very near future.
Unfortunately the Chiefs defense had zero answers for stopping Brady in the second half and dug their team too deep of a hole to climb out of. Brady’s Super Bowl MVP performance featured just 8 incompletions for 201 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero turnovers. His receiving targets featured two former Patriots, that had Patriots, Raiders and Steelers cringing when they reached the end zone. Gronk had his best performance in 2 years with 6 receptions for 67 yards and the first two scores of the game. Every time Tampa needed a big play, Gronk answered the call and watching his big night unfold was painful on a personal level. I wish he was still in a Patriots uniform, but all I can do is tip my hat to the two of the NFL’s all time greats putting on a masterclass performance on football’s biggest stage…again. Brady and Gronk’s first score was historic because it allowed them to pass Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the most postseason TDs by a QB-receiver combo in NFL history. And just to add more insult to injury the final passing touchdown of the night was caught by Antonio Brown (5 receptions for 22 yards) on a tight throw in front of safety Tyrann Mathieu. RB Leonard Fournette (16 carries for 89 yards) put the nail in the coffin with his 27 yard rushing touchdown to squash any hope for a miracle comeback.
The GOAT Leads The Bay
Tampa Bay should be extremely proud of their team and the pure dominance they showed in every phase of this game. Bruce Arians had a very clear and precise game plan and the Bucs were the more disciplined and better coached team in this game. While I’m not sure how much longer we will see Brady and Gronk playing together, everyone should just sit back and enjoy their talents and ability to just take over games. Who knows how many times this team will reach the Super Bowl. They still have plenty of offensive talent and potential with the likes of Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin, so it’s just a matter of being able to stay healthy and continue to put pressure on opposing offenses by scoring in bunches. Add a strong running attack with Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette to help keep the clock rolling and close out games, and you have a dangerous offense to contend with for years to come in the NFC. The quarterback position will need to be addressed once Brady retires, but that might not happen for a few years, so enjoy the ride while you can Bucs fans.
I will confidently guarantee that Patrick Mahomes will be back in the Super Bowl at least once in the next five years (if not more). He is the future of the NFL and this experience will only serve as more motivation and definitely won’t sit well with anyone on Kansas City’s sideline. Their pass protection was terrible the entire night, but playing with two backup offensive lineman will slow down any great offense. One other thing that should be addressed is giving Mahomes a third receiving target to compliment Hill and Kelce. Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman finished with 3 catches for 17 yards and no other pass catcher besides Hill had more than 3 receptions. I know Watkins was playing his first game since week 16 due to injury, but when the Buccaneers took Hill out of the game plan, all hope for the Chiefs vanished. You can’t rely on Hill and Kelce all the time, so I’ll be interested to see how that’s addressed this offseason.
What moves should these teams make to improve in the offseason? Who will earn a spot in Super Bowl 56 next season? How many more seasons will Brady play in the NFL? Leave your reactions to this game and predictions for the offseason in the comment section below or the CruelFan Facebook page.
By: Whitney Dowds CruelFan.com