Super Bowl 55 pitted quarterbacks that were supposed to represent the past and future. The GOAT in Tom Brady, versus the baby GOAT in Patrick Mahomes. It was supposed to be a match up for the ages, a possible passing of the torch from one generational talent to another.
It turned into a crowning achievement for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who ravaged and frustrated Kansas City all night long, holding the high powered Chiefs offense out of the end zone.
With that, here we go:
1- Kansas City never established a running game
From the start of the game, the Chiefs came out throwing, and they never stopped trying to throw. They essentially turned themselves into a one dimensional football team. Yes, they ran for 107 yards as a team, but two things: one, Mahomes ran for 33 of those 107 yards, and two, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 64 yards, but 26 came on one run in the third quarter. Kansas City only had 17 total rushing attempts, and Mahomes had five of them.
2- Tampa’s defense took away the big play from KC
The Chiefs have a reputation for hitting “the big play” almost whenever they want to. On Super Bowl Sunday, the Bucs took that away, big time. Yes, Kelce and Hill got their catches in, but when you look at the stats, you’re seeing 17 combined catches for 206 yards and no touchdowns. That’s pretty good, but how about the rest of their offensive weapons? Try nine (9) catches for 64 yards, yes…9 catches for 64 yards for Watkins, Hardman, Robinson, and whoever else the Chiefs have on offense. Without their home run play, the Chiefs were boxed in.
3- Kansas City made some questionable coaching calls
The Chiefs had done just about everything right the last two years. From their Super Bowl run to their 4th down call against the Browns in the playoffs, they always seemed to click. But in the AFC Championship game against Buffalo, they were put to the test when left tackle Eric Fisher was lost for the rest of the game to an leg injury. The injury cost him the Super Bowl, but bigger picture, the Chiefs went nuclear with their offensive line because of Fisher’s absence.
Follow me: Their starting right tackle moved to left tackle, their starting right guard moved to right tackle, and they brought up Stefen Wisniewski off the bench to start at right guard..the result? The most QB pressures in Super Bowl history. Mahomes literally had a half-second under center before he had a Bucs defender in his face, it was amazing to watch.
And yet despite all of that….
4- The Chiefs should have taken the points instead of going for it on 4th down
With the score 31-9 in the 4th quarter, Kansas City drove into Tampa territory not once, not twice, but three times, and came away with exactly zero points. Nothing, nada, zip, zero. Their first drive ended at the Tampa 11-yard line with 13:43 to play. A field goal makes it 31-12.
Their second drive ended at the Tampa 27 with 4:08 to play. A field goal makes it 31-15, and you’re down 16 points still.
The third drive ended with a Devin White interception in the end zone.
But here’s the thing, had KC gone for field goals those two prior drives, the score is 31-15 instead of 31-9, and touchdown pass cuts the lead to 31-21 pending a two-point conversion. If the Chiefs get it, it’s 31-23 with an onside kick coming up. I know it’s a lot, but it’s also a chance, a chance that the Chiefs never got because they chose to go for it on 4th down twice when they really didn’t have to.
Earlier this season I talked about questionable coaching decisions costing teams games, and even though Kansas City needed a near miracle to even tie this game, it was a chance they never got because of…you guessed it, questionable coaching decisions.
5- The Super Bowl needs a Defensive Player of the Game too
When your defense holds one of the best offenses in football to only 9 points and zero touchdowns in the Super Bowl, somebody needs more than a game ball, they need formal recognition. It starts with their defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, whose game plans helped the Bucs beat Brees, Rodgers, and Mahomes in the playoffs. It was his defense, and studs like JPP, White, David, Suh, Winfield Jr., and Shaquil Barrett that wrecked and frustrated the former MVP all night. How you can do that and not have a defensive MVP at the end of the game is just not right.
The NFL needs to change this in the future and name an outstanding Defensive Player of the Game, which would probably be Devin White, who finished with 12 tackles and an interception.
6- Tom Brady is the GOAT
For the record, Tom Brady was a free agent this past season, free to sign with ANYBODY, and yet they passed. Tampa was only one of apparently two teams to show any interest in Brady, and now they are reaping the benefits of it after lifting their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
For Brady, this ends any and all questions about “The QB or the Coach? Was it Belichick or was it Brady?”. That’s over with. (The answer is both). Brady winning a Super Bowl in his first season with Tampa, and winning three games on the road in the playoffs, (which he’s never done in his career), was the cap to an already amazing career.
Leave it alone, Brady is the GOAT, at least for quarterbacks….
7- KC ate some really humble pie
In last year’s Super Bowl, the Chiefs got away with a ton a missed calls by the refs. Oh sure, they called Kittle’s push-off before halftime, but they also missed about a dozen other potential game-changing calls. In this Super Bowl, they got with every call, and they melted away just before halftime.
Those same calls that hurt the 49ers last year, hurt Kansas City this year.
The brashness, the dancing, the peace salute from Tyreek Hill as he ran in touchdowns, the aura of invisibility, everything good about KC the last two years, was lost in Super Bowl 55.
You can’t blame Winfield Jr. for mocking Tyreek late in the 4th quarter of the game with his own “peace” symbol. He later said he remembered that from their first meeting when Tyreek did that to them.
8- This was complete redemption for Tampa Bay
And I’m not talking about the players, I’m talking about the coaches. This was redemption for Head Coach Bruce Arians always being known as a “QB Guru” for having worked with some of the games best, but to take a 43-year QB and win the Super Bowl in the same season, well that’s just beautiful.
This is for Todd Bowles, who was fired after three years in a row as the Head Coach of the NY Jets finishing in last place in the division. His defense beat Brees, Rodgers, and Mahomes in one playoff run. And now, he’s primed himself to become a head coach again as soon as next season.
This is for Byron Leftwich, the Offensive Coordinator who was drafted three years after Tom Brady was, and had a good playing career, but has excelled as a play caller. It was Leftwich who had to figure out how to play with Brady, Fournette, Ronald Jones, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Gronk, Evans, Godwin, and Brate, and keep them happy while keeping the overall goal in mind.
This is complete redemption for them. They deserved this win. The whole organization did.
Congrats to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on winning Super Bowl 55 and being the best team in football in 2020.