Well, that’s probably the first event to forget about in 2021. We are not talking about Covid-19, but Super Bowl LV. It was quite a nightmare, finishing in a pretty clear victory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.
The whole narrative laid around the passing of the torch from one huge player, Tom Brady quarterback of the Buccaneers to the young and promising superstar Patrick Mahomes, quarterback of the Chiefs.
Well, the passing of the torch did not occur… yet. Instead, Mahomes finished 26-for-49 with 270 passing yards and two interceptions. It was also the first time since Week 4 of season 2019 that Mahomes failed to throw a touchdown pass.
From the very beginning of the game, when defensive end Shaq Barrett hit Mahomes, it was obvious the Chiefs couldn’t block the Bucs’ pass rush. Mahomes was sacked three times and hit eight more, and was pressured on 29 of 56 dropbacks, the most in Super Bowl history according to ESPN.
However, the 25-year-old quarterback never gave up.
“They had a good game plan,” Mahomes said. “They kind of took away our deep stuff, took away the sidelines, and did a good job rallying to the football and making tackles. We weren’t executing early, had a few miscues and we weren’t on the same page.”
Obviously, on the big day, on Sunday, the Chiefs offense did not perform well. And that’s probably an understatement.
The Buccaneers completely annulled one of the fastest players of the league, Tyreek Hill, reducing him to end the game with seven receptions (10 targets) for 73 yards. The run game has not been used enough, even according to Andy Reid, reacting post game, and the blitzes were tough on Mahomes to try to connect with anyone of his receivers down the field.
But even Tom Brady was impressed with Mahomes performance on Sunday, acknowledging along the way the incredible game the Bucs defense has had.
“It’s very difficult, almost impossible to play quarterback under duress like that. That’s just the reality of football. You have a rhythm in your head of how a play should go or you know the rhythm of a certain play, and if that rhythm is thrown off from the snap of the ball, you’re just scrambling to make plays and Pat was doing everything he could to make a bunch of plays last night. He’s running around, reversing field, doubling back, tripling back, and then, you know, made some great throws. But in the end, you know, it’s tough to do that consistently and play on rhythm.”
Patrick Mahomes had a lot of challenges on Sunday, but he showed heart. He had to play against an incredible defense, and on top of that he had to do it all with a case of turf toe that will require surgery during the offseason.
He was seen limping around during the game. But above all, he succeeded to make technical throws not many quarterbacks would be able to make in even perfect conditions.
One of them is a very athletic one, his body on the horizontal, and chased by the Buccaneers defense, he threw thirty yards, and his throw hit Darrell Williams in the facemask on what could have been a touchdown.
His resilience and resistance to the pain are unreal. Patrick Mahomes did not want to give up, even though he was pressured again and again by the defense. And that is the mark of a real champion.
However, a bad day happens, and Sunday was a horrible day for the whole team. Nothing went as planned. It does not take away any of his talents, and I believe strongly this game will be more of a blessing along the way. A wake-up call is always helpful to want to improve even more and avoid a similar situation any other time.
Still, a lot of people were quick to judge the young Chiefs quarterback saying he played horribly.
On Monday though, the quarterback was already looking toward the future.
“As of today, I’m gonna do whatever I can to look at the film and try to find ways to get better,” Mahomes said. “Obviously, with our offense and the success that we’ve had, when [defenses] see the defensive plan they had and how well it worked, they’re obviously going to try to do the same thing.”
When asked Monday what it would have taken for the offense to click, Mahomes took responsibility:
“First off, we want to be ourselves. We really hadn’t been stopped with what we had been doing all year long,” Mahomes said. “At the end of the day, we want to use our speed and use what we’ve been doing. I thought the guys did a good job, we just didn’t execute at a high enough level, I wasn’t on the same page with the receivers on some plays. There were some plays where I got the line going in the wrong direction.
“A lot of times it gets put on that o-line because I’m scrambling around, but if we’re not executing as far as me making the right reads and getting the ball out of my hand to the receivers on time, then nothing’s going to work. So they get that blame sometimes, but it’s not deserved because, I mean, a lot of it’s on me and people just don’t see it that way.”
And this is more proof that Mahomes is one of the best.
As Vince Lombardi said: “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
The NFL better look out for the Chiefs and Mahomes next season, as they will be very hungry to get back to the big game.