You just don’t bet against Tom Brady. Even at 43, his grip on football’s dominance remains present. Brady threw for three touchdowns in an extremely efficient day, two of those to his old New England running mate Rob Gronkowski. The duo helped give Brady his seventh Super Bowl and Tampa Bay its second. The Chiefs failed to score a touchdown, falling 31-9.
While most of the focus will go to Brady and what he was able to do in his 10th Super Bowl appearance, really it was the defense of Tampa Bay that delivered the Super Bowl’s first home-team victory. Through three quarters, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had thrown for just 114 yards and an interception. For comparison, in one quarter in their previous matchup, Mahomes hooked up with Tyreek Hill for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
What the Buccaneers did to Mahomes and the Chiefs hadn’t been accomplished yet. Mahomes had never lost a start by double digits, and the 22-point lead was the largest deficit faced by the Chiefs in the Mahomes era. They harassed him all night leading to one of the worst statistical games he’s had.
The Buccaneer defense deserves credit for their performance, but the Chiefs can shoulder a lot of the blame themselves. They routinely failed to protect Mahomes all night, and he was hindered by numerous drops, two of which could have been touchdowns. They committed egregious penalties at the worst times. A Tyrann Mathieu interception was negated by a penalty. A field goal attempt was turned into a first down via offsides penalty. The Buccaneers drove down for a touchdown in the final minute aided by two pass interference penalties. The Chiefs had 95 penalty yards in the first half, a Super Bowl record.
The Chiefs couldn’t get out of their own way. And even when they managed to, they couldn’t get out of Tampa Bay’s way, either. Brady and Co. had their way almost all night, save for their first two drives. The defense was swarming, rarely letting receivers get open and rarely giving Mahomes any time to throw.
In what was supposed to be an exhilarating matchup, the Buccaneers dominated all night long. It was fitting that on the Chiefs’ final drive, it ended with a Devin White interception.