Chiefs trampled by Tampa Bay in blowout Super Bowl

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Cecilia Hammond

The Buccaneers overwhelmed the Chiefs’ dynamic offense on Sunday.

Harrison Simon, Sports Editor

On Sunday, the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs clashed helmets in the 2021 Super Bowl. The game was pegged to be one of the most exciting in recent memory with reigning Super Bowl MVP and the face of the NFL’s future in quarterback Patrick Mahomes dueling against the 43-year-old Tom Brady, widely considered the greatest football player of all time. The game, however, did not live up to expectations — the Chiefs’ dynamic offense failed to find the end zone, as the team was trampled by Tampa Bay, who handily won the big game, 31-9.

Winning one Super Bowl is difficult enough, so the Chiefs’ attempt to repeat as world champions was no small task; it has not been accomplished since the Brady-led New England Patriots achieved the feat in 2003 and 2004. The 14-2 Chiefs, led by Mahomes, boasted the league’s highest scoring and most dominating offense. With a perennial superstar in Mahomes, two All-Pro first-team receivers, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and the genius play calling of head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, the Chiefs are looking to build the NFL’s next great dynasty.

Brady, despite his advanced age for an NFL star, has shown no inclination of slowing down. The now seven-time Super Bowl champion left the New England Patriots in the offseason to join a star-studded offense including wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown and a two-headed rushing attack featuring Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. The Bucs, who entered the playoffs as the fifth seed, defeated two Hall-of-Fame bound quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers en route to the Super Bowl.

The game started slower than expected, with neither team scoring until Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker split the uprights with just over five minutes to go in the first quarter. Brady responded on the Bucs’ next drive, marching down the field before throwing an eight-yard touchdown pass to his longtime Patriots teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski caught another touchdown pass from Brady with 6:11 left in the first half to extend the Bucs’ lead to 14-3. 

Another Chiefs field goal made the score 14-6 just before halftime, as the team hoped to gain momentum going into the break. Brady, however, had other ideas. After multiple questionable flags for holding and pass interference against the Chiefs, the Bucs took advantage of the situation with an Antonio Brown touchdown with ten seconds left in the half.

After an extravagant performance from The Weeknd, the teams returned to the field for the second half. The Chiefs needed to score and score fast if they wanted to make this a game again. This, however, was not the case. The biggest performance of the game came from the Buccaneers defense, who capitalized on a weakened Chiefs offensive line and pressured Mahomes a Super Bowl-record 29 times.

Mahomes rarely had a clean pocket all game long, and after a 27-yard touchdown run by Tampa Bay’s Fournette midway through the third quarter, the game already felt over. The Chiefs’ offense was simply too stagnant and ineffective against the stout Bucs’ pass rush. Hill, who torched Tampa Bay’s secondary for 13 catches, 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns in their Week 12 matchup, had a measly 73 yards receiving on seven catches, multiple of which came when the game was already out of reach. 

For Brady, it’s yet another celebration. Collecting his record fifth Super Bowl MVP award for his 201-yard, three-touchdown dismantling of the Chiefs’ defense, Brady now has more Super Bowl rings than any other franchise in NFL history. If it wasn’t already, his GOAT status is now without a doubt. 

For Mahomes, Reid and the Chiefs, they’ll be asking questions about this game all offseason long. This blowout defeat will certainly motivate the team heading into next year, as the team’s core will be together for the foreseeable future.

Was this Brady’s last ring? Can the Bucs repeat? Will the Chiefs make it back to the Super Bowl next season? With a plethora of talented teams in both conferences, there’s one thing that’s certain: next season cannot get here fast enough.