Tom Brady finished off a dream season Sunday night, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
It marks the seventh Super Bowl win of Brady’s illustrious career, and first as a member of the Buccaneers. The 43-year-old quarterback was also named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time in his career, a league record.
Thirteen months after his 20-year career with the Patriots came to an end in an ugly wild-card playoff loss to the Titans, Brady guided Tampa Bay to four playoff wins, culminating with the Bucs being the first team to win a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
Tampa Bay used a nice blend of run and pass to decimate Kansas City. The quarterback finished 21-for-29 for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He was supported by Leonard Fournette (16 carries, 89 yards, one touchdown) and Rob Gronkowski (six catches, 67 yards, two touchdowns).
“I’m so proud of all these guys,” Brady said. “We had a rough November but we came together at the right time. We knew this was gonna happen. We played our best game of the year.”
On the other side of the ball, Patrick Mahomes was 26-for-49 for 270 yards and two interceptions.
The Chiefs were hobbled by a series of ill-timed penalties at key moments in the first half — Kansas City was flagged for 10 penalties for 110 yards on the night, and the self-inflicted wounds would come back to haunt the Chiefs.
Compounding Kansas City’s issues was the fact that the Chiefs were without both starting tackles, which allowed Tampa Bay to generate a consistent pass rush that had Mahomes on the run much of the evening.
The Bucs spotted Kansas City a 3-0 lead, but a touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski shortly before the end of the first quarter gave Tampa Bay a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Two second-quarter touchdowns passes to a pair of ex-Patriots — Gronkowski and Antonio Brown — made it 21-6 at halftime.
The Chiefs cut the lead to 12 early in the third quarter on Harrison Butker’s third field goal of the night, but the Buccaneers git cranked up again when Fournette punched it in from 27 yards out, and Ryan Succop added a 52-yard field goal to make it 31-9 at the end of the third.
A fourth-quarter drive from Mahomes and the Kansas City offense ended with a red-zone pick with less than two minutes to go to close things out.
Bruce Arians became the oldest coach at age 68 to win the Super Bowl. His mom, 95-year-old Kay Arians, witnessed it in person. Brady, Gronk and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles helped Arians get that Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“This really belongs to the coaching staff and our players. I didn’t do a damn thing,” Arians said after he was handed the trophy.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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Here’s how the game unfolded:
Mahomes picked again — 10:11 p.m.
That should do it.
Brady’s new mark — 10:05 p.m.
Also, this is going to mark the first time Brady will have won four playoff games in one year.
Tom Brady is the first player at any position to win a Super Bowl/NFL Championship in 3 different decades.— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) February 8, 2021
Looks like ‘03-’04 Pats are safe — 9:48 p.m.
Hey, 2003-04 Patriots--you guys need to start a champagne tradition like the '72 Dolphins when it's clear someone isn't going back-to-back to match your mark.— Christopher Price (@cpriceglobe) February 8, 2021
Chiefs turn it over on downs — 9:30 p.m.
Three thoughts as the ball goes back to the Buccaneers with 13:32 left in the game.
•Mahomes is killing himself by running backwards as much as he is on these scramble plays.
•Mahomes hasn’t completed a pass on third down.
•I’m not entirely sure why the Chiefs haven’t tried to move heaven and earth to get Tyreek Hill in space. Line him up in the slot. Put him in the backfield. The guy has world-class speed. You have to find a way to get him the football.
End of the third -- 9:23 p.m.
It’s 31-9 at the end of the third quarter. The Chiefs are driving here — and they seem to have found Tyreek Hill — but is it too little, too late?
Tampa keeps scoring — 9:17 p.m.
The Bucs are just running downhill at this point. Taking over with great field position after that interception of Mahomes, the Tampa Bay running game battered the Kansas City defense, getting into the red zone after some bruising runs on the part of Fournette. The series ended with a 52-yard field goal from Succop was good. It’s 31-9 with 2:46 to go in the third quarter. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, but this could very well be the first time the Chiefs have been blown out in a meaningful game in the last couple of years.
Mahomes picked off — 9:07 p.m.
A slow-developing play ends with Mahomes’ first pick of the night. Brady and the Tampa Bay offense have been given great field position again -- the KC 45-yard line -- and a big lead. Can the Bucs’ punch it in again?
Bucs are rolling — 9:01 p.m.
The Chiefs’ defense needed a stop, a turnover … something to swing the momentum back in their direction. It didn’t get it. Brady and the Bucs responded in impressive fashion with a drive that included a 25-yard pass play to Gronkowski that looked straight out of 2011. It was capped with a 27-yard burst around right end from Leonard Fournette that made it 28-9 with 7:45 to go in the third quarter. Fournette now has 10 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, while Brady is 19-for-23 for 180 yards and three touchdowns. There’s a lot of football left to play, but if we’re looking for early MVP favorites, it’s Brady vs. the rest of the field.
Chiefs answer with field goal — 8:53 p.m.
It’s 21-9 after that field goal, the end of a nice drive that ended up cutting the Tampa Bay lead to 12. The Chiefs opened the second half with their biggest offensive play of the night, a 26-yard run from Edwards-Helaire. That was followed by a nine-yard connection to Kelce, and a 10-yard pickup by Edwards-Helaire off a nice jump cut. The Chiefs were stopped just after that, but a 52-yarder from Butker was good. You’re not going to win with field goals, but at this point, it’s better than nothing. There’s 11:26 to go in the third quarter.
Good stat — 8:43 p.m.
8 teams in Super Bowl era have rallied from 15+ points down at the half to win a playoff game with the Titans the last to do it 3 years ago vs Chiefs. Brady did it in Super Bowl vs Falcons and had his team blow 21-6 lead in 2006 AFC title game vs Colts. Here's the full list: pic.twitter.com/j3kZc3oWEt— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) February 8, 2021
Halftime takeaways — 8:18 p.m.
The Buccaneers lead 21-6 after two quarters in Super Bowl LV.
Tom Brady: 16-for-20, 140 yards, 3 TDs
Ronald Jones: 6 carries, 33 yards
Rob Gronkowski: 5 catches, 42 yards, 2 TDs
Patrick Mahomes: 9-19, 67 yards, 5 carries, 33 yards
Travis Kelce: 5 catches, 47 yards
A few quick takeaways:
•The Chiefs committed eight penalties for 95 yards in the first half, including two that really killed their defense on the second Tampa Bay scoring drive and an ugly defensive pass inference call that set up the Bucs for an Antonio Brown touchdown at the end of the first half. Sloppy, foolish football from a team that is known for playing better. Can’t play like that and expect to win a Super Bowl.
•One of the biggest plays of the first half was when the Chiefs stopped the Bucs, sitting on fourth-and-short on the goal line. Tampa Bay ran behind Vea, who lined up at fullback, and still couldn’t get it. Astounding. (Was I the only one who was wondering why we didn’t see a quarterback sneak from Brady on that play? Who’s making that call, Pete Carroll?) The Chiefs couldn’t take advantage, but if this thing ends up as a one- or two-point differential, that one will loom especially large.
•Through the first quarter-plus, the Chiefs were having issues finding consistency in the passing game. Not sure how much of that has to do with them trying to lean on what they might perceive as their strength — the run game — or how much is a lack of confidence or other issues with their backup tackles in the game. Or maybe the Bucs are throwing a wrinkle into their pass defense that Kansas City hasn’t seen quite yet? Either way, they appeared to find their collective groove toward the end of the first half (Mahomes completed his first six passes of their last drive of the second quarter, four of them to Kelce.) The Chiefs will need more of that in the second half.
•Special teams has been a mixed bag for both teams. Some punting issues, especially with Kansas City, who saw Tommy Townsend drop a punt (he recovered), and after a penalty, punt one away that was significant shorter. The Chiefs also had a nice return, and Butker added 49- and 34-yard field goals. Feels like this one has the potential to turn on another special teams play before it’s all done.
•The Chiefs will get the ball to start the second half. Kansas City’s margin for error is growing slim.
Bucs make it 21-6 — 8:14 p.m.
Ugly defensive sequence that looked an awful lot like what happened with the Packers in the NFC title game. It led to a touchdown with six seconds left in the half -- it’s 21-6 with six seconds left im the second quarter.
Chiefs cut lead to 14-6 — 8:05 p.m.
The 34-yard field goal from Butker is good, which makes it 14-6. That drive had a sense of real urgency for the Chiefs, one Kansas City really needed. Mahomes was able to get things going with his legs, finding some room to run to really get things going. But that was also the best drive for the Kansas City passing game — Mahomes completed his first six passes of the drive (four to Kelce) on the way to the field goal. It’s 14-6 with 1:01 to go in the first half. Have to hold here to close out the first half if you’re the Chiefs’ defense.
Brady, Gronk leading Bucs — 7:53 p.m.
Tom Brady is 12-for-16, 111 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions.
Rob Gronkowski has four catches for 37 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Gronk with another touchdown — 7:50 p.m.
The Chiefs couldn’t make anything happen after stopping Tampa Bay on the goal line — in fact, they barely got the ball away after a dicey punt from Tommy Townsend. Gifted with good field position, the Buccaneers continued to live right; they dodged a bullet when a Tom Brady pick was called back after a defensive holding call. They got another gift from the Chiefs when a penalty was called on a field-goal attempt that allowed them to keep the drive alive. Given another chance, Brady found Gronkowski for the second touchdown of the night, a 17-yarder. It’s 14-3 with 6:05 to go in the first half.
Kansas City has been hit with five penalties so far. FIVE. This is not championship football for the Chiefs.
Tampa stopped — 7:33 p.m.
HUGE play there — if this ends up being a close loss for Tampa Bay, we’re all going to point to that play. Fourth-and-goal and they can’t get in. (The drop from Haeg looms large — somewhere, Nate Solder is smiling.) Let’s see if the Chiefs can take advantage.
Tampa Bay leads after one — 7:18 p.m.
Bucs up 7-3 after one quarter. Brady is 6-7 for 50 yards and a touchdown. Leonard Fournette has five carries for 29 yards. Meanwhile, Mahomes is 2-8 for 9 yards, and has 3 carries for 24 yards.
Brady, Bucs answer — 7:13 p.m.
Good sequence there for the Bucs, who had struggled to find offensive consistency out of the gate, but hit the Chiefs with some play-actions and screens to get some quality yardage. In the end, it was Brady who found Gronkowski for the first touchdown of the evening. Tampa Bay leads, 7-3, with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. It’s the first first-quarter touchdown in the Super Bowl for Brady.
Chiefs take lead — 7:03 p.m.
The Chiefs take a 3-0 lead on a 49-yard field goal from Butker with 5:10 to go in the first quarter. Said at the start the Kansas City special teams is betting than its Tampa Bay counterparts, and we saw a glimpse of that when a 33-yard punt set the Chiefs up nicely to start that drive. (Not a great punt — or great punt coverage — which meant the Chiefs started at their own 38-yard line.) Kansas City got some quality yardage in the early stages of that drive, including an 11-yard pickup for Mahomes, to get things cranked up. (The 11-yarder is the Chiefs’ longest of the day to this point.) Kansas City stalled a bit and had to settle for the field goal, but it was a good — not great — series for the Chiefs.
KC gives the ball back — 6:48 p.m.
Mahomes picked up he initial third down, but the Chiefs’ stalled out at roughly midfield. It’s scoreless with 11:21 to go in the first quarter. Tom Brady and Tampa Bay will take over at its own 20-yard line. Both offenses feeling each other out in the early going.
Bucs punt early — 6:41 p.m.
Not an ideal start for the Bucs with that three-and-out. As we said earlier, Tampa Bay can’t afford a slow start. In the NFC title game, the Bucs did well to string those third down conversions together in the early going.
Chiefs win toss — 6:35 p.m.
Kansas City wins the toss and defers. Time for some football.
Kickoff looming — 6:20 p.m.
Interesting stat — 6:10 p.m.
The Chiefs are 3-point favorites today— ProFootballReference (@pfref) February 7, 2021
Four of the last five teams to be favored by 3+ in the Super Bowl lost outright (Pats in 2012, Niners in 2013, Panthers in 2016, Pats in 2018)
The only team favored by 3+ to win in that span was the Patriots in 2017 https://t.co/lpKmwFcz0y
Official Price Prediction — 6:00 p.m.
It goes against every fiber of my being -- after covering Brady for 20 years, I picked against him and the Bucs in the divisional round and NFC title game -- but I’m going with Kansas City. Even with some questions along the line, that Chiefs’ offense is just too good. If Brady has issues out of the gate — just a combined three first-quarter points in the nine previous Super Bowl trips — Kansas City has the potential to turn this into a blowout. If the Bucs can slow-play things and run a ball control offense effectively, Tampa Bay has a real chance. But if the Bucs can’t string together successful third-down chances early, they’ll be in trouble. (As a special-teams apologist, I’m also contractually obligated to tell you I like the Kansas City special teams’ more than Tampa.) In the end, I’m going with the Chiefs, 31-23, and Mahomes as the MVP.
Brady warming up — 5:46 p.m.
No weather worries — 5:45 p.m.
Lots of talk this week about the potential for precipitation, but according to our pals at weather.com, it shouldn’t be an issue. Temps are expected to be in the low 60s, with a light wind. Good conditions for football this evening in Florida. In my experience, sloppy weather would have given an edge to the underdog Bucs, but a non-weather game likely favors the Chiefs.
The peak? — 5:40 p.m.
This play was the Patriots’ version of Jordan over Bryon Russell.
Super Bowl Bets, Part 3 — 5:22 p.m.
Again, these are via SBD:
-Length of National Anthem by Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan: 120.5 seconds
-Odds Eric Church wears sunglasses during National Anthem: +900 (9/1)
-Length of America the Beautiful by H.E.R: 81.5 seconds
First song to be performed by The Weeknd during the halftime show:
1. Blinding Lights: +400 (4/1)
2. Heartless: +600 (6/1)
3. In Your Eyes: +700 (7/1)
4. Starboy: +750 (15/2)
5. Can’t Feel My Face: +900 (9/1)
6. Pray For Me: +1200 (12/1)
7. FIELD: +300 (3/1)
Odds to perform with The Weeknd
1. Drake: +400 (4/1)
2. Maluma: +600 (6/1)
3. Ariana Grande: +600 (6/1)
4. Future: +800 (8/1)
5. Lana Del Rey: +1100 (11/1)
2003-04 Pats still gold standard — 5:15 p.m.
While Kansas City has a shot at following in the footsteps of the 2003-04 Patriots, regardless of what happens against Tampa Bay, one area where it won’t quite measure up is total wins. The ’03-’04 Patriots went 34-4, the best win total in NFL history over a two-year span. If the Chiefs beat the Bucs, they would be 32-6 overall since the start of the 2019 season.
At the same time, a 30-plus win season over two years would still put Kansas City in some exclusive company — here’s a look at some of the more notable teams that hit the mark.
•1972-73 Dolphins: 32-2 (two Super Bowl wins)
•1978-79 Steelers: 32-6 (two Super Bowl wins)
•1985-86 Bears: 32-4 (one Super Bowl win)
•1989-90 Niners: 32-5 (one Super Bowl win)
•1990-91 Bills: 30-8 (no Super Bowl wins)
•1997-98 Broncos: 32-6 (two Super Bowl wins)
•2003-04 Patriots: 34-4 (two Super Bowl wins)
•2007-07 Patriots: 32-5 (no Super Bowl wins)
•2013-14 Seahawks: 30-8 (one Super Bowl win)
•2016-17 Patriots: 32-6 (one Super Bowl win)
Chiefs reveal inactives — 5:06 p.m.
Le’Veon Bell is active.
Here are the Chiefs’ inactives for Super Bowl LV:— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) February 7, 2021
CB BoPete Keyes
RB Darwin Thompson
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
DE Tim Ward
DT Khalen Saunders
QB Matt Moore
CB Chris Lammons
Antonio Brown active for TB — 5:05 p.m.
The Buccaneers have announced their inactives, and wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight end Cameron Brate, both of whom were slowed by health issues over the course of the last month or so, are active for the Super Bowl. Here’s the complete list:
Super Bowl Bets, Part 2 — 4:58 p.m.
Again, these are courtesy of SBD:
-Over/under number of Super Bowl commercial that reference first responders/health-care workers: 3.0
-Over/under length of time after kickoff before first reference to the first responders/health-care workers in the stands: 179.5 seconds
-Odds on the primary color of Jim Nantz tie
1. Blue: +300 (3/1)
2. Black: +350 (7/2)
3. Red: +450 (9/2)
4. Purple: +800 (8/1)
5. FIELD: +350 (7/2)
Odds on the primary color of Tony Romo’s tie
1. Blue: +200 (2/1)
2. Black: +400 (4/1)
3. Red: +400 (4/1)
4. Grey: +900 (9/1)
5. FIELD: +600 (6/1)
-Over/Under time of first Gisele (Mrs. Brady) reference: end of first quarter
-Over/Under Tony Romo saying “Let me tell you Jim”: 2.0
-Over/Under number of plays Tony Romo correctly predicts in advance: 2.5
Pats represented in Tampa — 4:50 p.m.
Ground and pound for Brady, Bucs? — 4:43 p.m.
One of the biggest things to take into account today is the fact that in his previous nine Super Bowls, for all his greatness, Tom Brady’s offenses have scored a combined three points. I don’t think Brady and the Bucs can afford a similarly slow start this afternoon against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs; if it’s 14-0 Kansas City after one quarter, it could very well end up being a blowout.
One way to potentially avoid that sort of situation? I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tampa Bay try and operate like the Patriots did in the AFC title game a few years ago — angle for a series of slow and steady drives, grinding out yardage and imposing their will on the KC defense. Really, in my experience, a ball control offense is quite possibly the best way to beat the Chiefs. Keeping Mahomes off the field is the best way to beat Kansas City. Run the ball, use a short and intermediate passing game, and use every second of that play clock.
Brady’s pregame video drops — 4:35 p.m.
Super Bowl bets, Part 1 — 4:29 p.m.
We’re going to have some pregame bets from Sports Betting Dime featured throughout the game. We’ll start with an over/under, and some MVP odds:
Odds of 55 points being scored in Super Bowl LV: +1800 (18/1)
1. Patrick Mahomes: +110 (11/10)
2. Tom Brady: +350 (7/2)
3. Travis Kelce: +1500 (15/1)
4. Tyreek Hill: +1600 (16/1)
5. Mike Evans: +2900 (29/1)
6. Chris Godwin: +3200 (32/1)
7. Any defensive player: +1900 (19/1)
Who will the Super Bowl MVP thank first in his acceptance speech?
1. Teammates (incl. coach): +250 (5/2)
2. Fans/city: +300 (3/1)
3. God: +500 (5/1)
4. Family/family member: +600 (6/1)
5. Health-care workers: +900 (9/1)
6. Owner: +2500 (25/1)
7. FIELD: +7500 (75/1)
It’s Game Day — 4:20 p.m.
Pregame reading list — 4:15 p.m.
First, we kick things off with our pregame reading list:
Christopher Price can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.