The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' blitz-heavy, aggressive defensive performance in Super Bowl 55 quashed Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Chiefs’ bid at defending their NFL championship Sunday night.
Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, with a brighter shade of red and deeper sun tan, led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl title in 18 years — and Brady’s seventh career Lombardi trophy. Brady also was named the game's MVP, an award he has now earned five times.
Here are three plays that determined the Buccaneers’ 31-9 blowout Super Bowl 55 victory over Andy Reid and the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium:
Ron Gronkowski touchdown, the sequel
In a show of dominance that belied Gronkowski’s return from a full season away from organized football, the five-time Pro Bowl tight end scored two touchdowns. On the second, Brady faked a handoff to running back Leonard Fournette at the 17-yard line before dropping back with 6:11 to play in the second quarter. The play-action bid gave Gronkowski just enough time to race for the end zone, jab out then cut in suddenly enough to shake Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. The Bucs would not look back from the 14-3 advantage they had after the score.
Brady to Gronk. AGAIN. #SuperBowl
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The DPI duo
A pair of Chiefs defensive pass interference penalties advanced the Buccaneers 42 of their 71 yards in a 55-second drive just before halftime. But it was Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland’s defensive pass interference that was by far the most costly. Breeland was tracking Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans down the left half of the field when their feet tangled and each tripped. Brady’s resulting overthrown pass triggered a Breeland penalty. Was Brady’s ball catchable? On the Super Bowl 55 broadcast, CBS color analyst Tony Romo questioned how catchable it was. What was clear: Breeland’s penalty advanced the Bucs 34 yards. Three plays later, Brady found receiver Antonio Brown for a 1-yard touchdown, extending Tampa’s halftime lead to 15.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) rolls out to pass while Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) pressures him during the Super Bowl. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)
Shaquil Barrett, the Buccaneers' outside linebacker, made sure to remind the Chiefs that they were without left tackle Eric Fisher (injured reserve) when he burst past Mahomes’ protection with 7:10 to play in the third quarter, downing Mahomes for a loss of 6 yards on second down. Under pressure on the resulting third-and-13, Mahomes threw an interception. Barrett’s pressure on the play – and his four QB hits on Mahomes in the game – epitomized the Chiefs QB's inability to find the time to set up plays. The Buccaneers' defense held the Chiefs to just three field goals Sunday night.
They don’t call him SACK BARRETT for nothing.pic.twitter.com/ugIBWOdS53
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