In North American sporting parlance, it is said that a “choke” occurs when a player with proven results succumbs to the pressure of a grand finale and drastically reduces their performance from what is expected. In the 55th edition of the Super Bowl, that phenomenon spread to an entire team: Clear favorites to win the second straight title, the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL’s best attack of the season, scored none in the most important game single touchdown of the year, defeated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9.
The Chiefs’ offensive ineptitude was accompanied by a solid performance from the Buccaneers, led by Tom Brady, who gave no chance to the men who won the title last year. The quarterback received his seventh championship ring in his career in his first season at Tampa Bay. The remaining six were won over 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. On the other hand, the worst night of Patrick Mahomes’ career: Without being able to start a touchdown, he completed less than half of the passes started, which meant that the opposing defense could be intercepted twice.
The game started warmly, with several failed passes and initiatives quickly stopped by the defenders. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes adapted to the coverage of the defensive players of the Buccaneers and took on the task of taking the first defeats into their own hands. He ran with the ball in search of a gap in the opposing defense and tried to hit the ground that passes didn’t guarantee. With a 49-yard kick, kicker Harrison Butker scored the first three points in the Super Bowl (3-0).
The buccaneer’s reaction could not have been more solid. The Tampa team alternated between passes from Tom Brady and races and consistently advanced on the Chiefs floor. In a moment reminiscent of the hegemony of the New England Patriots of the 2000s, Tom Brady and Gronkowski, newcomers to the Buccaneers, did magic again: the first pass clears the second, with a clear path to the end zone. With the extra point from kicker Ryan Succop, Tampa’s team prevailed 3: 7 in front of the marker.
Mahomes couldn’t start a single touchdown pass for SHANNON STAPLETON / Reuters
After the chiefs wasted new property, the buccaneers returned to attack and reached the five yard line. In three attempts, they hit the defensive wall erected by the Chiefs, with Ronald Jones just inches from crossing the white line that earned the Tampa team nine points. The decision was confirmed by the umpires on television footage after the Buccaneers team protested the verdict.
A glimmer of hope appeared on the Chiefs’ horizon at 8 a.m. of the second quarter, but Tyrant Mathieu’s Interception would turn around due to a defensive offense early in the game. Indiscipline, one of the factors that contributed most to the Chiefs’ defeat, would punish the Kansas team again minutes later: Another defensive line player irregularity, this time while the Buccaneers were attempting a field goal, gave Tom Brady’s team a first-ever automatic shutdown and shutdown a chance for a new touchdown.
The Tampa Bay men didn’t miss the opportunity: just like in the first quarter, Brady and Gronkowski tuned in again, giving the Tampa formation a second touchdown, which took the extra point away from the Chiefs at the top of the game (3 -14). In the next possession, the Kansas team reached a field goal again and reduced the score to 6-14.
The Weeknd was the artist who performed on the CJ GUNTHER / EPA break
Tom Brady received the ball with 50 seconds on the clock. The quarterback has proven again that a handful of seconds is more than enough to effectively advance his team on the ground. Aided by another attack from the Chiefs – who reached the break with seven penalties – and a precise pass to Antonio Brown, Tom Brady ended the Bucaneers’ third touchdown. The break came with a 6-21 result.
New part, same inconsistency
As The Weeknd’s music reverberated at Raymond James Stadium, the Chiefs tried to calm down in the locker room. Andy Reid, head coach and offensive coordinator, will certainly have used the 30-minute break to make up for the mistakes in attack. In return, Steve Spagnuolo, defensive coordinator, will have drawn attention to the fouls in order to increase the solidity of the defensive block.
However, the information was not answered by the players on the field. The team’s first possession of the ball did not reach the end zone and ended again with a kick from Butker (9-21). In response, the Buccaneers scored another touchdown with a race from Leonard Fournette, who once again exposed the Chiefs’ weaknesses (9-28).
Mahomes was desperate, but the situation would get worse. A nonsensical pass to Tyreek Hill would end up in the hands of Ancine Winfield, Buccaneers player, who is now in possession of wasted ball, a constant in the match. With a new field goal, Succop would put the score at 9-31.
The Buccaneers ‘final blow came seconds after the game ended, with a final interception that thwarted the Chiefs’ final efforts to get a comforting touchdown.