Super Bowl LV Review | Kansas City Chiefs 9-31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by quarterback Tom Brady and Head Coach Bruce Arians, became the first team to host and win a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
Brady was voted the MVP of the game as he threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The 43-year-old threw the first two touchdowns of the game to his long-time teammate, Rob Gronkowski. Once the Buccaneers took that lead, they never looked like losing it.
Despite Brady and Gronkowski gaining all the plaudits, Todd Bowles was the unsung hero on the night.
Bowles' defense held the Kansas City Chiefs offense to just nine points. It was the first time Patrick Mahomes had been held under ten points in his career as they caused him major issues all night.
During the first half, they held Mahomes to 62 yards passing and were constantly forcing him to move away from pressure. Their defensive line had him scrambling for his life as he struggled to throw the ball.
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill were non-factors for much of the game. That also came down to the fantastic work by Bowles and his defensive playmakers.
At 14-6, the Buccaneers had the ball and ran a running back draw play trying to run out the clock. The Chiefs would call a timeout in the hopes of getting the ball back. It would come back to bite them as the Bucs made them pay.
After calling another timeout following an eight-yard gain, the Bucs got into gear. They gained the first down and then flipped the field following a contentious pass interference call. Another one occurred in the end zone moments later setting them up at the one-yard line. Brady would fire a bullet towards Antonio Brown who extended the Tampa lead to 14 points.
What was so baffling about the opening sequence of that drive was that Arians had essentially told the Chiefs they were taking what they had going into half-time. Down a score, and after that chunk play on second down, you would think Andy Reid would take it.
That drive killed the Chiefs off going into half-time. Even only down two scores, the Buccaneers were thriving on both sides of the ball, and they did not look like slowing down.
HALF-TIME: Kansas City Chiefs 6-21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The second half started with a Chiefs field goal as it looked like they were beginning to find some momentum. The drive was led by two big Clyde Edwards-Helaire runs, but it was all short-lived.
Leonard Fournette would get the Bucs fourth touchdown of the night thanks to a magnificent 27-yard run. The touchdown was set up by a Gronkowski 25-yard reception the play before as he led the Buccaneers in receiving on the night.
That was the end for Kansas City as their offensive woes continued. Antoine Winfield Jr intercepted Mahomes' pass, and it led to a field goal. The scores would not change for the rest of the game as the Buccaneers defense continued to play elite football and clamp down on the Chiefs when in the red zone.
Devin White intercepted Mahomes in the final moments, but it finished a game that was over. Tampa Bay's dream team had won the Super Bowl at their first attempt.
Going back to Bowles and his defense. It was a true masterclass from start to finish. They did what plenty of teams had failed to do before them and stop the Chiefs offense.
The Kansas City offensive line was a makeshift one, but Bowles managed to take advantage of it. He made sure Shaq Barrett, Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul were able to dominate all night whilst putting the playmakers behind them in the best position to be successful.
White and Lavonte David did a magnificent job keeping Kelce under wraps until they began playing prevent defense. The Bucs held Kelce to 57 yards throughout the first three quarters. He only got into some space after they stopped suffocating him as they played prevent defense.
Their speed off the ball to shut down plays near the line of scrimmage was also excellent. The Chiefs love to get Mecole Hardman and Hill into space in the backfield, but they ensured they could not get going.
Their performances showed just how important good linebacker play is, and although the Eagles were not involved in this game, it was hard not to think about how they refuse to prioritise the position. Having good linebackers is essential to success. Hopefully, Howie Roseman saw tonight and decided that they may use a top pick on one.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Bowles will play to his defensive backs strengths and put them in the best position to win. He did that once again tonight. They held the Chiefs receivers to 104 yards. Although Hill had 73 yards on the night, most of them came when the game was out of reach for Kansas City. Bowles made sure his corners had help from his safeties and ensured Hill would not burn them deep. He was ineffective for much of the night.
Again, the Eagles should try and replicate this when working with what will be a young secondary next season. Bowles did a fantastic job helping them succeed, and they did it on the grandest stage against the most explosive offense.
The reasons above are why Bowles or someone on his defense should have gotten the MVP. They did something that no other team has managed to do before them. He used that horrendous experience in Week 12 to his advantage. That game ended up working in the Buccaneers favour as they knew what to expect and how to counteract it.
Bowles will get another head coaching job soon, but before that, he will be hoping to repeat this year's victory with his star-studded defense.