Patrick Mahomes was a shadow of himself as he was essentially running for his life the entire match as the Tampa Bay defense simply got after him at will. Credit has to go to Todd Bowles for the defensive game plan he put together: Boy, did it work.
Mahomes was thrown off his game from the outset and we have not seen the Chiefs play like this since the first half against the Texans in the 2020 divisional round in which they were 24-0 down early in the second quarter.
Brady won his seventh ring and his fifth Super Bowl MVP in what could perhaps be the crowning achievement of his illustrious career as he threw for 201 yards, three touchdowns and no picks as the Bucs were never really troubled throughout the contest.
Where it was won
As many games do, this came down to touchdowns. The Bucs scored them, and the Chiefs had to settle for three field goals. When Brady got in range of the endzone, he punched it in four times and it could have been five or six had Ronald Jones not been stuffed at the one-yard line and then a bad snap by their centre in which they had to settle for a field goal.
While the Bucs were scoring touchdowns, the Chiefs could only manage field goals. Whenever Mahomes got close, the Bucs defense stiffened and kept them out of the end zone. If someone had said to you that the much-vaunted Chiefs offense would be kept out of the endzone for the entire match, you would have laughed at them but that is exactly what they did as they blew out the Chiefs.
Where it was lost
They say you cannot win it in the first half, but you can certainly lose it and that is exactly what happened to the Chiefs.
The first half for the Chiefs was riddled with errors and was plagued by penalties of which there were 11 committed by the Chiefs and that totalled over 100 yards which is unreal, considering the magnitude of the game.
The ball game was lost with just over a minute left in the second half. Andy Reid perhaps made his biggest mistake of the year as he used up two timeouts in a bid to give the ball back to Mahomes before the half ended.
However, Brady did Brady things and with the aid of a 34-yard penalty after a defensive pass interference call on Mike Evans from Bashaud Breeland put Brady within striking range. Brady then hit Leonard Fournette for a 15 yard gain before the wheels fell off.
Now at the Kansas City 24 yard-line, Chiefs defensive captain Tyrann Mathieu was called for pass interference in the endzone on Mike Evans to put Brady at the one-yard line to which he found Antonio Brown for the touchdown to take a 21-6 lead into the half and essentially it was nearly game over at that stage.
Story of the game
Where do we start? Brady going 21/29 for 201 yards and three touchdowns as he picked apart the Chiefs defense, or the fact that Mahomes went at 23% on third down conversions as he finished 26-49 for 270 yards and two interceptions?
However, the story of the game was the Todd Bowles led Tampa Bay defense. They got after Mahomes from the outset, disguising their looks and consistently putting him under pressure as both Devon White and Antoine Winfield got an interception each. Not to mention the four tackles for loss and the 2.5 sacks between Shaquil Barrett and Ndamukong Suh.
Now those stats might not seem like much, but it was how Mahomes was forced to look for underneath throws and not allow any big chunk plays that the Chiefs are known for that put Mahomes and Andy Reid off their game. In doing so, Mahomes had to hold the ball for a couple of seconds longer and that is where the Tampa defense feasted as he was running for his life on nearly every play as the Chiefs offensive line could not hold up.
Seven Super Bowl rings for Tom Brady now along with five Super Bowl MVPs is simply incredible. If there was any doubt about who the best to ever do it was, those doubts have now well and truly been put to bed.