The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will square off in Super Bowl 55. It will be a rematch of their Week 9 matchup in Tampa, which the Chiefs won 27-24.
The Buccaneers beat the Green Bay Packers 31-26 to earn their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. The Kansas City Chiefs had a much easier time beating the Buffalo Bills 38-24. It will be the second consecutive appearance for the Chiefs, who beat San Francisco in last year’s Super Bowl.
The Chiefs will be looking to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005.
Buccaneers 31 – Packers 26
This was a game of two halves, as the Bucs dominated play in the first half, while the second half belonged to the Packers.
Tom Brady played a tremendous first half and played about as poorly as you can play in the second half. Brady completed 20/36 passes in the game for 280 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. Two of those picks were on lame-duck throws in the second half.
Aaron Rodgers completed 33/48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Rodgers was sacked five times by the Buccaneer defense.
Three keys to the game:
The Packers turned the ball over twice, and the Bucs took advantage, getting 14 points off those turnovers. The Buccaneers turned the ball over three times and the Packers could only net six points. You have to be able to cash in on the turnovers, and the Bucs did that.
Play in the trenches
The Bucs won the battles on both lines of scrimmage. Tom Brady was sacked once and hit just three times throughout the game. Rodgers was sacked five times and hit eight times by comparison. Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea made a vast difference in the middle of that Bucs defensive line, which helped Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul coming off the edge to get to Rodgers.
Third down conversions
The Bucs were 14/31 in the playoffs in their previous two games and converted 9/14 against the Packers. The Packers could not stop the Bucs when they needed to on third down. Whether it was a Leonard Fournette run or pass from Brady to one of his many receivers, the Bucs were able to convert and keep the chains moving.
Losers of the game:
We have co-losers: Matt LaFleur Packers, head coach, and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
In the first half, instead of protecting the sidelines and the end zone at the end of the half, Pettine chose to have Kevin King cover Bucs receiver Scotty Miller one on one. Miller blew by King and caught a 39-yard touchdown pass with one second to go in the first half. Big momentum swing.
Matt LaFleur not trusting Rodgers on a fourth and eight late in the game, opting for a field goal instead of going for it. As the result, it’s still a one-score game, and the Packers lose 31-26.
Chiefs 38 – Bills 24
The Chiefs dominated from the second quarter through the end of the game. The final score was not an indication of how dominant the Chiefs were on both sides of the ball.
Patrick Mahomes was his usual self despite the toe injury, passing for 325 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes could not use his legs to make plays like he usually does, or the final score would have been worse.
Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce combined for 66 percent of the Chief’s offense as the duo combined for 290 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Josh Allen playing in his first AFC Championship, passed for 287 yards, with two touchdowns.
The Bills built an early 9-0 lead before the Chiefs went to work and outscored the Bills 38-15 in the final three quarters.
Three keys to the game:
The Chiefs’ defense
The Chiefs defense gives up a ton of yards, but their 14-2 record speaks for itself. When you play against an offense that has Josh Allen, Cole Beasley, and Stefon Diggs, they will get their yards. Beasley and Diggs had 165 yards combined but zero touchdowns.
This was the worst that the Bills’ offense has looked in months as Allen was sacked four times and could not never get any sustainable drives going until it was too late. With Beasley and Diggs held down by the Kansas City defense, the Bills offense had no answers. The Chiefs held the Bills to 5/14 on third down conversions
Hill is unstoppable. You can only hope to contain him because you will not shut him down. Hill caught nine passes and averaged 19 yards a catch as he sliced up the Bills defense. Hill had a long catch of 71 yards to set up the Kansas City offense inside the Buffalo ten yard line.
Mathieu shut down the Bills receiving due of Stefan Diggs and Cole Beasley. Combine Mathieu’s tight coverage with the constant pressure from the Chiefs front seven, and you have a winning recipe.
The loser of the game:
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll got ultra-conservative in the red zone. Twice the Bills had the ball inside the Chiefs ten with a manageable fourth down, and the Bills kicked field goals.
The result may still have been a Bills loss had they scored touchdowns, but you want to put your team in the best position to win the game, and Daboll didn’t do that.
Three quotes to summarize Championship Sunday
Tom Brady, on playing in his tenth Super Bowl,
“We’ve had a lot of people work really hard over a period of time to get to this point. It’s a tough journey to get here. To win another road playoff game is just a great achievement, and now a home Super Bowl for the first time in NFL history puts a lot of cool things in perspective. Anytime you’re the first time doing something, it’s usually a pretty cool thing.”
Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott,
“Sometimes, the further you go, the harder it is to lose. It’s a learning experience for us as an organization, and we got to get back to work here.”
Aaron Rodgers talked about the series of plays that led to the Packers kicking a field goal late in the game instead of going for a touchdown,
“It wasn’t my decision, but I understand the thinking above two minutes with all of our timeouts. I felt like I had a chance maybe to run it but felt there was a guy closing on me. Matty allowed me to call that third-down play. If I had known we were going to kick it if we didn’t get it, maybe had gone with some sort of crossing routes there instead, but I thought maybe we were going to have four chances.”
It will be a great battle in Tampa on February 7th. The first matchup between the Bucs and Chiefs drew 23.12 million viewers. That was the highest-rated game of the season on CBS outside of Thanksgiving day.
We should see another big audience watch the rematch of these two great quarterbacks. The oddsmakers have the Chiefs as the early three-point favorites.