By: Robb Johnson
Headline Photo Credit: Steve Sanders/Kansas City Chiefs via AP
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare to do battle on the biggest stage on Sunday, February 7, 2021. The thinking from most pundits and fans is that this will be a high scoring game. When you look at both teams, it is not hard to figure that concept. The Chiefs offense has another weapon up their sleeve, ‘s defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo who was instrumental in helping the New York Giants defeat the Tom Brady lead Patriots in 2008, who were on their way to a 19-0 season.
The Chiefs did not have all the high-profile names as that 2008 team, but what they do have are versatile players that can give Brady fits on Sunday. Tampa Bay had success with Rob Gronkowski, who pulled in six receptions for 106 yards, along with Chris Godwin, who caught eight passes for 97 yards. Mike Evans only had three catches, but two of those went for touchdowns in their week 12 loss to the Chiefs.
The Buccaneers started slow, the Chiefs scored the first 17 points of the game, while the Buccaneers would score 24 points in the game, but it was not enough as the Chiefs won 27-24. In the contest, Brady threw for 345 touchdowns, with three touchdowns. However, he also had two critical interceptions, while Patrick Mahomes had none. The Chiefs defense has been playing better lately. Remember with seven minutes to go in the third quarter after the Mahomes concussion, they were able to hold the high-powered Browns down. The Chiefs defense is opportunistic, with players like Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu who had combined nine interceptions in the regular season. The Chiefs’ key to the game is stopping the hot running game of the Buccaneers. Along with doing what they have been doing all year, and that is starting fast.
When going back and looking at the first game, the Chiefs did a good job of keeping things in front of them, Tampa Bay had good plays but no explosive plays. One thing that both teams will need to watch out for the short plays that can turn into huge plays.
The Chiefs defense especially like the last game must prevent the Buccaneers from momentum plays that can open the deep pass. The momentum plays are plays to the Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette.
Jones and Fournette will be huge in this game if the Buccaneers will have any chance of winning, Kansas City will look to stuff the running game also they must be aggressive at the line of scrimmage, meaning if you must give up some plays that are fine. You do not want the two-headed monsters at running back to get on a roll. If this happens this opens the field for Tom Brady.
When we look at the last time Brady played against a Spagnuolo team in the Super Bowl, the Patriots were held to only 36 yards on 14 carriers by lead rusher Lawrence Maroney. In this game, the Chiefs and Spagnuolo will have to deal with a lot better stable of backs along with what can be argued a similar or better-receiving core.
Just like the Giants and Patriots regular-season matchup, it was determined by three points, as was this game in week 12. Brady is the greatest quarterback we have ever seen and that is just a fact with his accomplishments, but the glaring factor is that he cannot move in the pocket. The Chiefs and their coaching staff understand that, they also understand that getting pressure on Brady early and getting him on his toes will cause turnovers. The big difference in 2008 is now is that the Chiefs have one the better offenses that we have ever seen in this league.
The Chiefs along with starting fast must keep the foot on the gas. One issue that I have seen with the Chiefs, they start too slow or they start too fast and let the foot off the gas. The Chiefs will need to put together a full all-around game, their two opponents coming into this game at starting quarterback were Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. Two decent quarterbacks with decent weapons, but this is Tom Brady.
Brady has something to prove, Brady wants to prove that he can win, and it had nothing to do with the Patriot way. The Chiefs must win on the line of scrimmage, along with manipulating coverages. If they can do this and hold the Patriots’ offense down in the first half, along with a strong offensive performance.
The Chiefs should go on to win their second Super Bowl in a row.