Super Bowl LV Review

February 11, 2021

Tom Brady has done it. He has now won seven Super Bowls and has further cemented his legacy as the greatest football player of all time. Brady has more Super Bowl wins than any other team in the NFL. Although Brady got most of the praise, the entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers team thoroughly outplayed the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl leading to a 31-9 victory. 

First, Tom Brady may not be getting better at this point in his career, but he is still very good. He may not have thrown for a ton of yards, but he was efficient and got the job done. Brady threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 21/29 of his passes. He did not turn the ball over once. On the flip side, Patrick Mahomes did not have his best game. Mahomes threw three interceptions and 270 yards on 26/49 completed passes. Although Mahomes threw for more yards than Brady, most of his yards came in the garbage time of the game when the Chiefs had no way of winning. So overall Brady outplayed Mahomes. It was a rough game for Mahomes, but it is extremely likely that he will be back better than ever soon. 

Tom Brady cannot get all of the credit for this win. He may have gotten the Super Bowl MVP, but the Tampa Bay defense played extremely well. Since the Chiefs had back-up left and right tackles, the Buccaneers exploited that and put a lot of pressure on Mahomes through their edge rushers. Even though the Buccaneers only had three sacks in the game, the pressure was evident. Mahomes had no time to throw the ball and go through his progressions. 

Outside linebacker Shaquil Barret and interior lineman Ndamukong Suh for the Buccaneers both had a sack and were putting constant pressure on Mahomes through the game. The coverage was good enough. The secondary did not have to play elite coverage due to the pressure on Mahomes, but they did have to stop the duo of wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. 

The Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles drew up an excellent game plan that stopped the electrifying Chiefs offense. In the most recent matchup between these two teams, Hill destroyed the Tampa defense in a single quarter. He had over 200 yards in one quarter. In the Super Bowl, Bowles refused to get beaten by him. Due to Hill’s speed, he is often impossible to cover by himself because he is bound to beat the cornerback just by speed alone. So, Bowles decided to make sure that Hill was double covered the entire game with a safety always deep to help cover Hill. This worked and completely stopped the deep attack from Mahomes and Hill. The Buccaneers defense did everything right to shut down an offense that looked unbeatable before this game and caused the Chiefs to not even score a touchdown. 

There were a few other headlines coming out of this game besides those having to do with Brady. Rob Gronkowski retired two years ago with the New England Patriots after they won the Super Bowl. However, when Brady left and joined the Buccaneers, he came out of retirement and joined Brady. Gronkowski was not the elite tight end he once was, but he was still solid. Most of Head Coach Bruce Arians offense was meant to go through the elite wide receivers the Buccaneers had. This means Gronkowski wasn’t getting as many touches as he was used to. However, in the Super Bowl the Brady-Gronkowski connection came alive once again. 

They connected twice for two touchdowns and they broke the record for the most playoff touchdown passes by a given receiver and quarterback duo. Brady’s only other touchdown pass was to wide receiver Antonio Brown. A few years ago, Brown ran into many on- and off-field issues when he was on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots. This led many to believe that his career was over. He was one of the best receivers in the NFL before these issues, but unfortunately, he lost a good chunk of his prime due to various issues. 

However, the Buccaneers signed him halfway through the season and he ended up playing a role in their playoff run. The touchdown in the Super Bowl indicates that he may be back to his old form and may return to being one of the best receivers in the NFL. Possibly the biggest storyline coming out of the Super Bowl was the possibility of any rigging of the game for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. This evidence comes from the penalties on the Chiefs side. The Chiefs were called for 11 penalties to the Buccaneers 4. These penalties often came at costly times. Sometimes they gave the Buccaneers a first down when their drive was getting stalled. At the end of the first half, a defensive pass interference in the end zone was called on safety Tyrann Matthieu which led to a last-minute touchdown before the half. After the first half it was apparent that many people were not happy with the discrepancy in penalties in the game. 

During the halftime show on CBS, there was discussion about how the penalties were not wrong. The referees were not making bad calls, because there were penalties being committed; however, the calls were sometimes a little light. Considering it was the Super Bowl, the referees chould have been a little more lenient and let the players play. Some of the penalties though, were just errors by the Chiefs. A first down was given when the Chiefs players lined up offsides during a field goal attempt by Tampa Bay. So, from the outside it looked like the refs were heavily favoring the Buccaneers, but sometimes the Chiefs were just making errors that you cannot make in the biggest game of the year. 

The Kansas City Chiefs will be back. They have too much talent not to be good. That game may have just been a bad game for Mahomes or a bad game from the Chiefs defense. You could also say that Tampa Bay just wanted it more, as their offense was efficient and effective and their defense held their own against one of the most dynamic offenses ever seen. However, what appears to be the biggest difference between the two teams in the Super Bowl was the coaching and the game planning. 

The Buccaneers knew exactly what they needed to do to stop the Chiefs offense. They knew that the big play to Hill was their biggest weapon, so they made sure it didn’t happen. They knew that the left and right tackles of the Chiefs offensive line were backups, so they made sure to send extra pressure on the edges and not blitz because the edge pressure should be enough. The Chiefs had no idea how to adjust. For most of the game, the Buccaneers stuck with this game plan and Mahomes could not figure out what to do. On the other side, the Buccaneers relied heavily on the run game and the deep ball. They establish the run game and then trick the defense on play action. This was how the Buccaneers won so many games down the stretch. The Buccaneers game planned to stop the Chiefs offense, but it did not appear as if the Chiefs were able to disrupt the Buccaneers offensive scheme. 

Brady looked comfortable and was doing anything he wanted, while Mahomes looked scared running everywhere as he was constantly under pressure. The Buccaneers won the game before the game even started. 

If it was possible to give the Super Bowl MVP to a coach, then defensive coordinator Todd Bowles deserved the award for how well he designed a plan to stop the Chiefs offense. Even though this game showed that Patrick Mahomes is human and that he can be stopped, he still is an incredible talent. The score may not show it, but he was trying so hard to keep his team in the game. In one play he threw a pass directly to his receiver while falling to the ground and being nearly parallel to the field. He was still making superhuman throws. Brady and the Buccaneers may have gotten the better of him in this game, but now Mahomes is even more determined to get better, and if he is now doing things we have never seen before, who knows how good he is going to be next year and moving forward. 

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