WE’RE SUPER BOWL CHAMPS, BABY!
After 18 years since our first Super Bowl win and 13 years since our last playoff game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are once again WORLD CHAMPIONS. To be the best, you have to beat the best. And that’s exactly what the Bucs did destroying the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
This special Super Bowl edition of GBU is going to be a little different than usual. There was literally nothing NOT “good” about this game. I mean, the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. That’s not just “good“, it’s great. The Bucs played a nearly flawless game, leading from start to finish and thoroughly dominating the Chiefs in every aspect. In this edition of GBU, the “Good” will be about the Bucs and the “Bad” will be about the Chiefs. So sit back, relax and enjoy my take on the Good, Bad and Ugly from the Bucs vs Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
He didn’t have a BIGGEST game of the season, but it might have been his BEST game of the season. Brady finished this game 21 of 29 for 201 yards, 3 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. Not SUPER productive, but SUPER efficient and he took care of the football. He ended up with a 125.8 QB rating, the highest of ANY of his ten Super Bowls. He won his fifth SB MVP trophy. He won his seventh SB ring. And he’s coming back to do it again.
One of the things that I said the Bucs would have to do to win this game was KEEP BRADY CLEAN. Boy, did they. The Chiefs had just one sack and 4 QB pressures on 30 dropbacks by Brady. Not only was their pass protection SUPER, but so was their run blocking. They helped the Buccaneers dynamic duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones to a combined 150 yards and over 5 yards per carry each.
Two of the top three highest rated Bucs players in this game, according to Pro Football Focus, were rookie right tackle Tristan Wirfs (91.7) and left tackle Donovan Smith (81.6). Vita Vea was second (81.7). That makes Wirfs PFF’s highest graded offensive lineman in a Super Bowl since 2006. He had an incredible rookie season where he started all 20 games AND didn’t miss a single offensive snap (1,280 plays). He only committed one penalty since Week 5 AND he only gave up one sack in 799 pass blocking snaps. All of this at just 22 years old. Jason Licht hit a home run with this kid.
“Lombardi Lenny“, as he is now calling himself, finished this game with 16 carries for 89 yards and a 5.6 yards per carry average, 4 catches for 46 yards and an 11.5 yards per catch and a touchdown. Before this season, no Buccaneer player had ever had more than one game with 100+ yards from scrimmage. Including his 135 total yards in this game, Fournette did it three times in this postseason. He is now second in team history with 448 yards in 4 games, trailing only Mike Alstott with 502 yards in 10 games. He also joins Larry Fitzgerald (2008) and Terrell Davis (1997) as the ONLY players to score at least one touchdown in four games within a single postseason.
“Gronk” finished this game with 6 catches for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns, setting a new NFL record for the most Super Bowls with at least one reception (5). He also joins elite company with Jerry Rice as the ONLY players with multiple touchdowns in multiple Super Bowls AND they’re the ONLY players with five or more touchdowns in Super Bowl games (Gronkowski- 5, Rice- 8). He and Tom Brady have now hooked up for more postseason touchdowns than any other QB/WR combo in NFL history with 14, surpassing the great Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. He also won his fourth championship out of five Super Bowl appearances.
The Defensive Line
Todd Bowles defensive scheme for this game was brilliant. He knew that they would be able to get to Patrick Mahomes with their front four and wouldn’t have to blitz much because of Kansas City’s patchwork offensive line. He was right. Mahomes dropped back 56 times in this game and the Bucs had 29 total pressures, the most in Super Bowl history , while blitzing just six times (11%). They got pressure with four rushers or fewer 27 times, which is the second most in a game in the last 10 seasons. Mahomes was running for his life for most of this game. Literally. The Bucs pass rush forced him out of the pocket so much, that he traveled 497 yards before throwing the football or being sacked. That’s the second most yards by a QB since Next Gen Stats started recording that stat in 2016. His scrambles included, he traveled a total of 615 yards with the ball in his hands.
As good as the Bucs front seven were in this game, their back end was just as stingy. When Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket, he struggled big time going just 4 of 15 for 28 yards and 2 interceptions. The “Gravediggers” held him to a QB rating of just 52.3, the lowest of any game in his career. His passer rating in the regular season was 130.6 when targeting Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. In this game, it was 59.8 and his 5.5 yards per attempt was the lowest average in a Super Bowl since 2006.
The quarterback that led the league in explosive plays went 0 for 6 with an interception on passes of 20+ yards. In their first meeting in Week 12, Mahomes threw for 462 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the first three quarters of this game, before the fourth quarter garbage time stats, he was just 14 of 28 for 114 yards.
This secondary faced the Saints with Brees and Payton, the Packers with Rodgers and LaFleur and the Chiefs with Mahomes and Reid. They gave up just 18.3 points per game against three of the best passing offenses in the league. They may have started this season as the 32nd ranked passing defense in the NFL, but in this postseason, they earned their nickname.
He finished off his postseason going 5 for 5 on his kicks in this game, including a season-high 52 yard field goal and 4 extra points. He was 9 for 9 on field goals and 12 for 13 on extra points in these playoffs, hitting his final 20 kicks of the season. Unfortunately, he’s now a free agent so the Bucs will need to make a decision on bringing their most successful kicker in team history back for next season.
Coming into this game, most analyst and “experts” were picking the Chiefs to win DESPITE their o-line issues and Mahomes turf toe. Now, after the Bucs destroyed them 31-9 and held them to the lowest point total in Mahomes 54 career starts, those same analyst and “experts” are using those same o-line issues and Mahomes turf toe as the reasons the Chiefs got whooped. Well, that and the “bad officiating“.
The Chiefs committed 11 penalties for 120 yards in this game, eight of those in the first half alone which is the most in Super Bowl history. Six of their eleven penalties led to first downs for the Buccaneers, also the most for a team in Super Bowl history.
I’m sure most of you saw the guy streaking down the field in the second half of the Super Bowl on Sunday. And I’m sure all of you said “There goes another idiot trying to ruin the game!“. What you probably didn’t see was that there were two guys that went over the wall. The first guy was caught right away, but the second guy was who we saw on the field. As it turns out, that was all part of their plan. The Streaker had placed a $50,000 prop bet at +750 that there would be a streaker during the Super Bowl. The first guy over the wall, his buddy, was a diversion to ensure that he would make it into the field. After paying his $1,000 bail for misdemeanor trespassing, he stands to clear $374,000 with his winnings. If he’s allowed to collect that is. He is apparently under investigation by the Gaming Commission.
How the Bucs beat the Chiefs
1. Keep Brady clean!
The Bucs o-line gave up just one sack to the Chiefs and gave Brady a clean pocket for most of the day, which allowed him to go 21 of 29 for the game.
2. Catch the friggin ball!
I haven’t watched the game again just yet, but I only recall seeing one dropped pass and it was early on in the game by Chris Godwin.
3. Keep the chains moving!
The Bucs ran 63 plays and had 26 first downs. They ended up winning the time of possession 31:23 to 28:37, which helped keep the Chiefs offense off the field. Not that they did much anyway.
4. Run the ball when needed!
They actually ran the ball more than I thought they would in this game, but it might have been because it was working. Both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II combined for 28 carries for 150 yards and averaged more than 5 yards per carry.
5. Play ALL 4 quarters!
The Bucs waited until just the right time to play their most complete game of the season. The Bucs led 21-6 at the half, giving Tom Brady the biggest halftime lead he’s ever had in a Super Bowl. They held one of the best offenses in the NFL to three field goals and their lowest point total with Mahomes at quarterback and Mahomes to the lowest passer rating of his career.
1. Keep Kelce out of the endzone!
Even though he had 10 catches for 133 yards, he didn’t score a touchdown and a bunch of his yards came in fourth quarter garbage time.
2. Keep Mahomes on his toe!
The Bucs defense kept Mahomes running for his life and it did appear that his turf toe was bothering him in the second half of the game.
3. Get home with the front four!
The Bucs set a Super Bowl record for QB pressures and only blitzed six times in this game.
4. Make Watkins and Hardman beat you!
These two only combined for 3 catches for 17 yards so they were a non-factor. What I meant by this was don’t let Hill and Kelce beat you. Although those two combined for over 200 yards, neither of them scored a touchdown. In fact, no Chief did. That’s what really counts.
5. Be aggressive!
Todd Bowles entire defensive scheme was to be aggressive and stay aggressive. The front seven was relentless with their pass rush and their back end was physical with the Chiefs receivers. It paid off in a big way.
OFFENSIVE MVP- Antonio Brown
He only finished with 5 catches for 22 yards, but he did have a touchdown. I would say Rob Gronkowski, who I almost chose initially, was the Offensive MVP in this game since he had 6 catches for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns.
DEFENSIVE MVP- Devin White
If I could pick Todd Bowles for this then I would because he came up with a masterful defensive scheme against the Chiefs. Since I couldn’t, I chose Devin White before the game and I’ll stick with that choice. He finished this game with 12 tackles and the game-sealing interception to cap off his impressive postseason.
SUPER BOWL MVP- Tom Brady
I picked him before the game and he was chosen after the game. It was his fifth Super Bowl MVP award. He finished this game 21 of 29 for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. Some argued it wasn’t a “good enough” game to warrant an MVP honor. I disagree. He did EXACTLY what he was asked. He was efficient with his passes, completing 72% of them and he didn’t turn the ball over. That’s all he needed to do.
I predicted in my Super Bowl preview that the Bucs would destroy the Chiefs. I did not, however, think they would hold the Chiefs offense to 9 points. My score prediction was 45-23, which would’ve been a 22 point margin of victory for the Buccaneers. The actual final score was 31-9, which was a 22 point margin of victory for the Buccaneers. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was right and the “experts” were wrong.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved the naysayers wrong and pulled off the upset in a surprisingly dominant fashion. After 18 long, depressing, pain filled years, the Bucs are World Champions once again. Some true believers saw this coming last March when they signed Tom Brady. Some took a little longer to convince. But everyone can now agree, that they are more than worthy of the title. The question is, can they keep this Championship team together?
Believe it or not, NFL free agency starts in about a month. The Bucs have a number of key players set to become free agents this off-season like Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett, Rob Gronkowski, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh and Ryan Succop. While the Bucs aren’t in a bad spot with the salary cap, they may not be able to afford to bring everyone back for a run at a second title. There’s plenty of time to worry about that stuff next month. For now, let’s just enjoy this second Super Bowl win. March 20 will be here before we know it and the repeat campaign will begin!
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!