Show of force with Tampa Bay: Brady wins his seventh Super Bowl
- Title : Show of force with Tampa Bay: Brady wins his seventh Super Bowl
He's done it again. Tom Brady also won the Super Bowl in his freshman year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Florida franchise was the first team in Super Bowl history to win the title in its own stadium. The 31: 9 against defending champion Kansas City was surprisingly clear.
It could have been some kind of changing of the guard. The dominator of the last two NFL decades against his designated successor. Patrick Mahomes could have managed the first Super Bowl title defense with the Kansas City Chiefs since Brady with the Patriots in 2005. Even at the age of 43 and his first year with Tampa Bay, the most successful player in the history of the sport still had something against it.
Many experts had predicted an offensive spectacle in advance, after all, two of the most explosive attack lines in the league collided - not to mention the quarterbacks. But both the "Greatest Of All Time" and the Super Bowl MVP of the previous year had to struggle with initial difficulties. In the first three drives of the game, Chiefs and Buccaneers managed only one first down, the first points only landed on the scoreboard in the middle of the first quarter - and there, too, it was "only" a field goal from Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker.
Gronkowski sets the course - sand in the Chiefs gear
But then Brady and the Bucs began to roll. As in previous Super Bowls, the quarterback legend now acted calmly and deliberately, leading his team across the field in a long drive and finishing it with an 8-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski for the first touchdown of the evening. That is the Gronkowski who was once Brady's congenial partner in New England and who had returned from NFL retirement before the season to be able to play again with Brady for the Bucs.
But what was wrong with the Chiefs Offense, which has been so dominant over the past few years? Mahomes was constantly under pressure, had to run with the ball far more often than he would have liked at the beginning of the game - and received little support from his teammates. The offensive line, weakened by injuries, had major problems with the pass rush of the Buccaneers and his two favorite pass stations Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce each made an unusual drop on important plays. The Chiefs didn't get a single touchdown and only six points in the entire first half.
Flags Help Brady - Gronk and Brown build leadership
First Mahomes got at least support from his defense, who stopped Bucs running back Ronald Jones inches from the end zone, but then everything headed towards Tampa Bay - and Brady had the necessary luck again.
An interception thrown by him did not count due to a questionable holding penalty against the Chiefs, then Kansas City underwent a devastating offside in the field goal attempt and brought Brady, who had already been stopped, back onto the field. He thanked him and fired his second touchdown pass of the evening, again at Gronkowski. For the 31-year-old tight end it was already the fifth receiving touchdown in a Super Bowl - only receiver legend Jerry Rice has more (eight).
And for the Chiefs, the first half should be even more bitter. Although Brady got the ball with less than a minute on the clock, they couldn't stop the Bucs - again due to renewed penalties. By the end of the first half, the referees had distributed eight flags against Kansas City, only one against Tampa Bay. Brady used this imbalance for his third touchdown pass, this time to star receiver Antonio Brown, the enfant terrible of the past NFL years.
The first helmet flies at half time
With the Chiefs, however, the nerves - also due to some dubious referee decisions - were bare. Safety tyrant Mathieu fought a heated argument with Brady before half-time, complained bitterly to the referees and pounded his helmet on the ground in anger - Tampa Bay led 21: 6 at the break.
The Chiefs' initial spark after the halftime show ("The Weeknd") failed to materialize, again Kansas City only managed one field goal. And at the latest when Leonard Fournette started a 27-yard run for the next Bucs touchdown, it was clear: The comeback that Kansas City now needed had to be even bigger than the one that the Chiefs had against San Francisco last year had accomplished. Noteworthy: All four Bucs touchdowns were scored by players who had only joined the team before or during the season. So the big Tampa Bays shopping tour had paid off.
Buccaneers overrun the holy chiefs line
The mismatch between the Chiefs-O-Line and the strong defensive line of the Buccaneers emerged as a decisive factor. Without left tackle Eric Fisher, injured in the Conference Championship against Buffalo, Kansas City was simply unable to protect Mahomes. He had no time to get rid of the ball, had to constantly run for his life and then afforded an interception. Bucs-Safety Jordan Whitehead intercepted a deflected pass, Tampa Bay's offense set a field goal to 31: 9 - at the end of the third quarter the game was almost decided.
Mahomes did everything in his power to bring his team back into the game, but his offensive line simply let him down completely. Time and again the pass rush of the Bucs broke through, time and again Mahomes had to try art works from virtually impossible positions. The Chiefs quarterback was becoming a pitiful figure.
In his entire NFL career, he had never lost a game by more than nine points - but in the Super Bowl of all places it turned out to be a real drag. Not a single touchdown succeeded Kansas City's unstoppable offensive that evening to be forgotten.
Brady was able to prepare for his acceptance speech earlier than ever before, the fourth quarter trickled largely uneventfully, Bucs linebacker Devin White even managed the second interception against Mahomes in the final minutes - and Tampa Bay's second Super Bowl victory after 2003 Perfect. Before the season, the franchise hadn't even reached the play-offs for thirteen years. But with Brady everything is different.