Flawless defence key to Buccaneers Super Bowl victory

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Cahal McAuley takes a look back at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ emphatic home victory over the much-fancied Kansas City Chiefs side and where Super Bowl LV was won and lost.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured their second ever Super Bowl win with a 31-9 blowout victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at their own Raymond James Stadium. By securing his seventh ring at age 43, Buccaneers quarter back Tom Brady is rightly receiving the headlines, but most of the credit has to go to his team’s defence as they shut down the Chiefs’ offence in a way that no team had ever managed in the Patrick Mahomes era.

The Buccaneers were many people’s pick to win the game, but no one could have predicted how toothless the Chiefs would be made to look as they failed to score a touchdown for the first time since Mahomes has been a starter, handing him his first defeat of more than ten points since his Texas Tech side was beaten by Iowa State in 2016.

The Chiefs quarter back was made to run for his life all night by the Buccaneers impeccable pass rushers, with Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and Vita Vea all putting intense pressure on Mahomes throughout the game.

The Buccaneers were aided by a much- weakened Chiefs’ offensive line and the fact that was Mahomes was carrying a toe injury and not at 100%. However, no credit can be taken away from their defence as they were able to pressure Mahomes on 29 of his 56 dropbacks, the most a quarterback has had to endure in Super Bowl history.

Mahomes was sacked three times and threw two interceptions from tipped passes and even though he was almost able to scramble and complete a couple of incredible plays despite tackles coming from all directions, he was not able to get the Chiefs offence up and running as their offensive line was decimated by the Buccaneers with Kansas City converting just three times out of thirteen on third down.

When Mahomes did manage to get passes over the Buccaneers press, the likes of Devin White and Lavonte David were on hand to shut down potentially important plays from the Chiefs further down the field. Tyreek Hill was held to just seven receptions for 73 yards and although Travis Kelce put in the best performance of the Chiefs receivers with 133 receiving yards, he was mostly kept quiet by an outstanding performance from Lavonte David who made some incredible blocks to prevent important first downs for the Chiefs.

Stifling the threat of influential receivers Hill and Kelce was vital to the Buccaneers success on defence as Mahomes completed five out of fifteen throws for just 17 yards to Darrell Williams, Byron Pringle, and Mecole Hardman.

Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles must take a huge amount of credit for his players’ practically perfect display. They capitalised ruthlessly on the Chiefs’ poor offensive performance and the absence their starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz to make Mahomes look more uncomfortable than we’ve ever seen him in the NFL.

Brady is a fair pick for Super Bowl MVP mostly because there was no single standout performer in the Bucs defence, however, anyone from Shaquil Barrett to Devin White could have been a worthy winner for their incredible display on defence.

The key to the Buccaneers victory lay in their defensive performance but their efficiency on offense made sure that they were well out of sight as the game entered the final quarter.

The intelligent performance of Tom Brady earned him a seventh Super Bowl ring and firmly secured his status as the greatest of all-time as he threw for three touchdowns, no interceptions, and 201 yards.

He has now won more Super Bowls than any of the franchises in the NFL, won a record five Super Bowl MVP awards, and became the first quarterback to win the Super Bowl with a team from both the AFC and NFC.

The Buccaneers were able to capitalise on poor discipline from the Chiefs as they gave up eight penalties for 95 yards in the first half, the most in Super Bowl history and go in 15 points to the good at half-time after a touchdown reception from Antonio Brown and two from Rob Gronkowski, who was particularly dominant in the first half.

With the deficit between the teams growing, Brady was able to tap into to his wealth of Super Bowl experience by switching to the running game and allowing Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones to exploit the Chiefs’ weak run defence, with Fournette’s 27- yard touchdown run effectively ending the game as a contest.

Brady’s calm head and intelligent managing of the clock meant there was to be no Chiefs comeback and although it may not have been the most exciting Super Bowl for the neutral fan, one can’t help but appreciate the Buccaneers quality performance on every level.

Bruce Arians has done an incredible job in terms of coaching and recruitment with all 31 Buccaneers points coming from players who were not on the roster last year.

This was supposed to be the Super Bowl to officially launch the Chiefs era with Mahomes at the helm but after this humbling Super Bowl defeat it looks like it could be Tom Brady who is eyeing up the establishment of his second feared dynasty in the NFL.