For the second time in franchise history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl Champions.
Thanks to a nearly flawless gameplan in every phase, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upended the defending champion Chiefs 31-9 in one of the more dominating games in Super Bowl history.
Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady, tossed three touchdowns, two to Rob Gronkowski, in the first half as the Buccaneers scored on three of their final four possessions after back-to-back punts to start the game. In the one possession where they didn’t find the endzone, the Bucs were stopped at the goal-line on a fourth-down run from the one-yard line. However, they made up for it with a pair of touchdowns, including one to Antonio Brown with just six seconds remaining in the half on a drive that began in the final minute of the quarter and went 71 yards, in their final two possessions. Brady ended the night going 21-of-29 for 201 yards, three touchdowns, no turnovers, a QBR of 81.8 and a Super Bowl record, 125.8 passer rating en route to another record… his fifth Super Bowl MVP award.
The Bucs are the 1st team with four 30-point games in a postseason.
They are the 1st team to beat 3 SB MVP QBs in a postseason (Mahomes, Rodgers, Brees)
Tom Brady is the 1st player in NFL history with 50 Pass TD in a season (including playoffs) for a Super Bowl champion. pic.twitter.com/VbPVbhKg7S
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 8, 2021
Equally worthy of MVP consideration was running back Leonard Fournette who finished with 89 yards on 16 carries in addition to his 46 yards he added on four receptions. However, it was his 27-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter that made the score 28-9 and made a Super Bowl championship a reality.
Never mind it’s Super Bowl Lenny Now….
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) February 8, 2021
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs scored the game’s first points with a field goal on their second drive but that was the only time they held the lead and it didn’t last long. Ultimately, they didn’t find the endzone for the first time in the Mahomes-era and that was a testament to Todd Bowles and the Bucs’ defensive gameplan. The Bucs pressured Mahomes on 29 of his 56 dropbacks (a Super Bowl record) and sacked him three times. Ndamukong Suh (1.5 sacks), Shaq Barrett (1 sack), and Cam Gill (.5 sack) were all credited with getting to Mahomes but it was the entire front seven in addition to the secondary that kept Mahomes and the offense from finding a rhythm.
Speaking of that secondary, in the Week 12 meeting between the Chiefs and Bucs, Tyreek Hill exploded for over 200 yards in the first quarter as Kansas City jumped out to a 17-0 lead. The Chiefs went on to win that game by just three, thanks in part to the defensive adjustments made in covering Hill. In the Super Bowl, many of those concepts carried over as Hill was held to just 71 yards on seven receptions. A majority of those yards came late when the game was essentially over. Bucs rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. came up with the first of two interceptions of Mahomes on a deep pass intended for Hill on the Chiefs’ second drive of the third quarter. The Bucs capitalized on the turnover, as they have done all postseason, with a 52-yard Ryan Succop field goal that made the score 31-9.
In addition to leading all players with 12 total tackles, Bucs linebacker Devin White came up with the game-sealing interception of Mahomes in the endzone in the closing moments of the game. With that said, it was the combined effort of the defensive players such as Winfield Jr., Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Carlton Davis who had six tackles apiece and combined for five passes defended. White, Jamel Dean (who missed the Week 12 matchup), Mike Edwards, and Jason Pierre-Paul all were credited with one as well.
It was a total team effort from the start of the contest. There will be plenty of time to celebrate and unwind from an unprecedented but exciting NFL season for the Bucs but their attention will quickly turn to next season as they look to win another. Brady will be back. Gronk wants to come back. So does Barrett, Chris Godwin, and much of the team. Could the Bucs be even better next season?