In a game that started slowly, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs took the lead with a field goal, holding the lead for their 62nd game in a row. Little did they know that would be the only time they would be ahead all night.
Brady and the Buccaneers replied with a touchdown, a record 12th between Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski was the target again on the next drive as the Buccaneers offense started to find their groove, mixing runs and passes to keep the Chiefs off balance.
The night got worse for Kansas City as they called timeouts on a Tampa Bay drive before half-time, hoping to get the ball back. A couple of catastrophic penalties gave the Bucs the chance they needed to stretch the lead as Antonio Brown hauled in a pass to make it 21-6 at the break.
Kansas got the ball first to start the second half, but the Tampa Bay defense continued to play "bend don’t break" football. Mahomes looked to be moving the ball with ease until they reached the red zone where they struggled to find space. Kansas City for the third and final time in the evening settled for a field goal.
Brady and the Bucs offense did it again as they moved the ball quickly and efficiently on their next two drives and stretched the lead to 31-9 before closing it out at Raymond James Stadium as Mahomes and the Chiefs got desperate.Nothing summed up the Kansas quarterback’s night better than a moment with 13:32 left on the clock in the fourth as he ran around in the backfield before throwing while diving. The receiver dropped the ball in the endzone and the camera came back to Mahomes.
He looked crestfallen, beaten even and for the first time in his career, he looked like he wasn't having fun.
Mahomes is a player who came into the game with a career record of 38 wins and just eight loses, and only one play-off loss, in his three years, an unprecedented record for such a young player.
On the night the Chiefs quarterback was playing with an injured toe, he is due to have surgery on, and he was without some key offensive lineman. Despite that, the credit should go to Todd Bowles, the Tampa Bay defensive coordinator and his brilliant scheme.
Mahomes was held to under 50 per cent completion percentage for the first three quarters, he threw zero touchdowns and while he had 270 yards at the end of the game a lot of those came late with the game all but done.
But outside of that, the secondary took away the quarterback’s two favourite downfield weapons by doubling them on most plays and had a total of nine passes defended and two interceptions, making it all look easy.
The reason it looked easy was that the front four were so dominant, they harried and harassed Mahomes so much that he was running around, seemingly seeing ghosts in the backfield.
This is the first time in Mahome’s 54-game career he has lost by more than a single score, he finished with a 53 per cent completion percentage, the third-worst in his career, and didn't throw a single touchdown pass, just not a normal night for the former MVP.But things are far from over for Mahomes. The quarterback has been playing the game like he's a videogame avatar for two and a half seasons, but sooner or later someone would find a way to block the cheat code.The thing is – and Chiefs fans there is hope - the front four of Tampa are like no others in the league.The Chiefs have an incredible line up that very few teams could ever hope to replicate, and maybe Tampa won't either with two of those front four due to hit free agency in March.Super Bowl LV was Brady's, but Mahomes has a bright future and if he continues to play the game the way he has, a place in the Hall of Fame awaits him too.