The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are looking to accomplish something on Sunday that no team has done for over 15 years: defend their Super Bowl title. The last team to repeat as Super Bowl champions was the 2003-04 New England Patriots. Ironically, the quarterback of that team, Tom Brady, is the one standing in the way of this historical feat.
The Buccaneers have assembled a well-balanced team, led by their veteran quarterback and coach Bruce Arians. But is it enough to stop the dynamic Chiefs?
Sunday will mark the fifth time Brady and Mahomes have played each other, and the series is tied at 2-2. But this will be the most monumental of their matchups to date because the Lombardi Trophy is on the line. But, there are many other units outside of Brady-Mahomes that will play a crucial role in who will win this game.
The Chiefs defense is one of the foremost.
Limiting the G.O.A.T.
The Chiefs’ defensive unit is coming down off one of their best performances of the season in the AFC Championship game. They squared off with a Buffalo Bills team that had as much momentum and swagger as any team in the league.
The story of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense this season has been the secondary – one that made potential MVP Josh Allen look confused in the pocket. Tyrann Mathieu leads a secondary that also features Charvarius Ward, Bashaud Breeland, and fourth-round rookie L’Jarius Sneed. That unit picked off Brady twice in the Chiefs-Bucs regular-season matchup in November.
Brady had nothing but respect for Spagnuolo and his defense.
Pick your Poison
It’s no secret that the Chiefs have offensive playmakers unlike anything seen before in the NFL. With Patrick Mahomes taking snaps, offensive coordinator Eric Bienamy already has a perennial talent at quarterback, but his weapons can paralyze defenses too.
Defenses playing against the Chiefs have to decide if they want to commit to stopping the run or the pass. If they commit to the pass, Clyde Edwards-Helaire can run free, Travis Kelce can make plays in the flat, or Mahomes can even run the ball himself. If you commit to the run, though, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and several others can run free on the deep pass.
So, it’s really a pick your poison scenario.
The Chiefs offense and Mahomes didn’t struggle against the Bills, either. Mahomes racked up 325 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-38 passing. The star is amassing a lot of success in his young career, and the confidence is right there with it. He said until the clock shows triple zeros, he’s not going to count out his team.
A lot of that confidence stems from the Chiefs’ ability to play well while behind on the scoreboard. If you don’t believe him, just look at last year’s Super Bowl. The Chiefs trailed 20-10 to the 49ers in the fourth quarter, and from there it was an offensive landslide.
Mahomes led the Chiefs to three straight touchdown drives to win the game 31-20 and cap off a postseason in which the Chiefs won three games after they trailed by 10 or more points. It’s safe to say that isn’t lost on Patty Mahomes.
The Chiefs offensive line has emerged as a bit of an issue for Andy Reid. Kansas City is entering the game with only one offensive lineman playing in the same position he was in at the start of the season. Center Austin Reiter is the lone survivor, as right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, left guard Kelechi Osemele and most recently left tackle Eric Fisher have all been lost for the season.
It should be interesting to see how they hold up against a vicious Bucs defensive front.
For All the Marbles
So, the stage is set. Super Bowl LV and one of the premier quarterback matchups in the history of the NFL is just days away. The Chiefs are hoping to defend their Super Bowl LIV title and ruin Tampa’s homecoming party in Raymond James Stadium.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 25, 2021