This year’s Super Bowl was quite surprising. This past Sunday marked Super Bowl 55. It was a highly anticipated game that many (including myself) predicted would be close. But the Buccaneers had other ideas, defeating Kansas City 31-9. So how did the Bucs do it? Let’s take a look.
Pressure on Mahomes:
If there’s one thing we know about Patrick Mahomes is that he is a playmaker, but the Bucs limited that, specifically on the defensive line. Jason Pierre-Paul and crew constantly pressured Mahomes and made him scramble and make some tough throws. And, maybe we should have expected this. Four of the Chiefs’ offensive linemen were out with injuries, and 1 had to switch positions. This meant the Bucs were basically going up against a second-string O-Line, and they took advantage, which in turn led to constant pressure, sacks, and a couple of forced INT’s.
Limiting the Chiefs receiving core:
It is no secret that this Chiefs team had two of the best receivers in the game in WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce, but the Buccaneers almost completely took them out, and this was due, according to Tyreek Hill, to some surprising defensive sets. Hill said that in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the Chiefs were prepared to run their offense against mostly man coverage, but this didn’t happen. The Buccaneers threw in a lot of zone defenses, mostly covering 3 and 4, and that kept Kansas City from making the big plays that win them games.
Offensive veterans turn back the clock:
The Buccaneers offense had quite a few weapons, but the ones that proved most valuable were the veterans: Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and of course, Tom Brady. Gronkowski and AB both found the end zone and combined for over 100 yards. And this is without mentioning the effort from 26-year-old Leonard Fournette and USC alumni Ronald Jones II’s efforts in the run game, which kept the Chiefs guessing on defense.
Chiefs’ self-inflicted wounds:
As if the Bucs playing at the top of their game was bad enough for the defending champions, they didn’t help themselves either. As mentioned, the offensive line constantly let pressure get to Mahomes, who was just getting beat up towards the end of the game. But, the receivers also weren’t doing their part. On the plays Mahomes was able to keep alive, we saw many drops that kept the Chiefs from having a shot at a comeback. Combine that with 3rd down conversions given up and numerous undisciplined penalties, and you’ve got yourself a losing recipe.
So, in short, this is how the Buccaneers completely shut down the Chiefs. While it would have been a much better game if the Chiefs’ offensive line was healthy, it’s sports. The team that adapts the best comes out on top, and that was what we saw in Super Bowl 55. It’ll be interesting to see how the Chiefs learn to adapt against defenses that shut down their big plays, and Travis Kelce, who went over for 100 yards, may have an increased role if they do go in that direction. However, this season, the Buccaneers are your NFL champions. It was great to see this season finish and next year will be even better. Until then, so long football!