Tampa, FL— In big contests Tom Brady takes his game to another level—TB7. He is smooth as butter on a hot day.
With the help from old friends Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and a stingy defense, Brady and the Buccaneers are Super Bowl champions.
Brady threw two touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski and a dart to Antonio Brown to have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.
Tampa Bay(15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl on its home turf. The Bucs won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl, and joined the NHL’s Lightning as a 2020 season champion. The Devil Rays also went to the World Series but lost to the LA Dodgers.
Due to Covid-19, only 25,000 mask-wearing fans were allowed in, including approximately 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles helped Bruce Arians lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy by making Mahomes look human for the day.
Bowles put together a game plan to frustrate Mahomes and shut down KC, the complete opposite in the Chiefs’ 27-24 victory in Tampa on Week 12, when Kansas City jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Tyreek Hill had 269 yards receiving and three TDs in that game. He was held to 73 yards on seven catches on Super Bowl Sunday.
After Kansas City took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and company after that.
Brady completed an 8-yard TD pass to Rob Gronkowksi to give the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with his friend, caught his 13th and 14th postseason TD’s from Brady. That broke the record they shared with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, who combined for 12.
The Bucs missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Brady’s 2-yard pass to open offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his hands by Anthony Hitchens in the back of the end zone. Running back Ronald Jones was stopped short on consecutive carries as Arians stuck to his “No risk it” philosophy and went on fourth down.
Even with the stop, the Chiefs couldn’t gain any momentum on offense. Instead, they made one costly mistake after another.
Tight end Travis Kelce dropped a huge pass that would’ve kept the chains moving on third down. Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty forced him to kick again. Tampa Bay started at the Chiefs’ 38 yard line instead of their 27.
A holding call on Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward negated a diving interception by safety Tyrann Mathieu. The Chiefs’ defense held but an offside penalty during Ryan Succop’s successful field goal gave the Buccaneers free downs.
Brady in one play, threw a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. A hyped up Gronk spiked the ball in the end zone.
“You get this far and you wanna get the job done and we did it,” Brady said. “We just believed. I’m so proud of the guys.”
Patrick Mahomes drove the ball for a 34-yard field goal by Harrison Butker that trimmed the lead 14-6, but the Chiefs’ defense fell apart in the final minute of the first half — allowing 42 yards on two pass interference penalties. One against Mathieu in the end zone set up Brady’s TD pass to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.
Mahomes lost by double digits for the first time in his four-year career.
“I didn’t see it coming at all,” Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said. “I thought we were going to come in and play these guys just like we’ve been playing teams, and it didn’t happen that way. I give them credit on that.”
Kansas City couldn’t get in the end zone, as Mahomes was scrambling around in the pocket on every snap. He ended the game with 2 picks and went 26/49 for 270 yards. Brady, who broke his own record for oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, threw for 3 touchdowns and went for 201 passing yards, going 21/29. Brady was also named Super Bowl MVP.
“Obviously I didn’t play the way I wanted to play,” Mahomes said. “What else can you say? All you can do is leave everything you have on the field. I feel like the guys did that. They beat us pretty good, the worst I’ve been beaten in a long time.”
Leonard Fournette ran 27 yards untouched to extend Tampa’s lead to 28-9. Coach Arians pumped his fist after the touchdown and pointed toward offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who dialed up the play.
Succop’s 52-yard field goal increased the lead to 31-9.
“To come here and be Super Bowl champs, it’s surreal, man,” said Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with Brady. “We have so many superstars on this team but nobody’s head was too big. Whoever got the ball got the ball. That’s what was so great about being on this team. There was no one who was selfish on this team. No one selfish in the organization. It just happened to be me this time getting the touchdown passes.”
Brady was 6-3 in Super Bowls during 20 seasons in New England before he signed a $50 million, two-year contract with Tampa in March. The Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007 and hadn’t won a postseason game since Jon Gruden led Tampa over Oakland in Super Bowl 37. Now the Bucs have some new hardware to add in the trophy case.