The torch isn’t getting passed just yet. That’s because the old, wily veteran is still at the top of his game and, once again, at the top of the football world.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl LV champions, dominating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 on Sunday night from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.
Tom Brady took home his NFL-record seventh Super Bowl title and fifth MVP award, further cementing his place as the greatest of all-time while completing 21-of-29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, two to his long-time battery mate, tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Tampa’s overwhelming offensive attack was matched by a stingy defense that completely dominated a Chiefs offense that had a ragtag offensive line attempting to protect Patrick Mahomes.
While Kansas City had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, the Buccaneers’ active defense was relentless, constantly pressuring Mahomes and holding him to just 270 yards on 26-of-49 passing with two interceptions.
More impressively, they held the Chiefs out of the end zone for the entirety of Super Bowl LV.
It was the first time since Mahomes was in college that he lost a game by double digits.
Following three-straight punts to start off the festivities, the Chiefs broke the ice with a 49-yard field goal from Harrison Butker with 5:10 left in the first.
They came just inches from putting six on the board moments earlier, but a scrambling Mahomes’ circus throw from 31 yards out was almost executed at the goal line by Tyreek Hill, but the pass hit the star wide receiver’s facemask and fell harmlessly incomplete.
Brady and the Bucs found their footing to quickly reply in emphatic fashion. As a bruising running game preceded a defensive holding penalty, Brady completed four-straight passes — the last an eight-yard screen pass to Gronkowski, who ran untouched eight yards into the end zone to put the hosts up 7-3 with 37 seconds to go in the first.
It was the first time in Brady’s 10 Super Bowl appearances that he recorded a touchdown pass in the game’s opening quarter and the first time he held a lead in the opening 15 minutes.
As for Mahomes, the first quarter was at the complete opposite spectrum compared to the opening performance he had against the Buccaneers in Week 12 this season in which he threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
On Sunday night, he had just two completions for nine yards in the opening quarter.
Following a Chiefs punt early in the second, the Buccaneers marched right back down through the Kansas City defense — a 31-yard completion to Mike Evans bringing Tampa down to the six-yard line.
They could only move the ball down to the one-yard line on their first three chances and opted to go for it on 4th-down, but Ronald Jones was stuffed by the Chiefs defense to keep it a four-point game.
But Kansas City’s mental mistakes only sabotaged their chances of turning things around in the second and worsened their deficit.
After doing nothing off the goal-line stand, a 29-yard punt by Tommy Townsend set the Buccaneers up well inside Chiefs territory. An interception by Tyrann Mathiew was wiped away by a defensive holding call before an offside on a 40-yard field goal attempt gave the Buccaneers a fresh set of downs.
Brady made them pay by hitting Gronkowski again, this time for a 17-yard score to go up 14-3 with 6:05 left in the half.
The hook-up with Gronkowski was the fifth time that the tandem has recorded a touchdown in a Super Bowl, setting a new record previously owned by Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the most between a quarterback and receiver in the big game’s history.
Mahomes and the Chiefs couldn’t find the end zone, but the quarterback’s connection with Travis Kelce got going with their last possession of the half — connecting four times for 39 yards to set up Butker’s second field goal of the night from 34 yards out to pull within eight with 1:01 remaining.
It only set up some more Brady magic, leading Tampa 71 yards for a hammer blow that was fueled by more horrendous penalties by the Chiefs’ secondary. A pass interference on Bashaud Breeland for tripping up Evans on a 34-yard attempt deep down the left sideline to move the Buccaneers to Kansas City’s 24.
Another pass interference on Mathieu — which was on an uncatchable pass — then set the ball at the one-yard line for Brady to hit Antonio Brown on a quick slant to go up 21-6 going into halftime.
The six first downs rewarded by Chiefs penalties in that first half alone set a Super Bowl record for most in a single game. All while Mahomes completed just 9-of-19 passes for 67 yards.
After the Chiefs nabbed another field goal to open the second half, the Buccaneers continued to keep the pedal to the metal by putting up their third touchdown in as many possessions. Leonard Fournette posted his biggest run of the day, rumbling 27 yards untouched to put Tampa up 28-9 midway through the quarter.
Things kept descending into chaos for the Chiefs when Mahomes’ deep pass was tipped by Mike Edwards into the arms of Antoine Winfield Jr. on the Chiefs’ 45-yard line. This time the Bucs could only muster a field goal to open up a 22-point lead with 2:46 left in the third.
This first appeared on AMNY.com