McGinley: Brady can’t have all the credit for this Super Bowl victory
Mannion McGinley | Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Hello, it’s me again, your resident Tom Brady over-analyst and still-brokenhearted Pats fan.
For the first time in my life, I was content with a Super Bowl champion from the NFC. And, while they wore Buccaneers jerseys last night, “Tommy and Gronky” (as they refer to themselves in their new short — seriously go look, that thing needs its own column, but I digress) still pulled it off.
The pair now have the most ever postseason touchdown connections with 14. Gronk now has the second-most touchdown receptions in the postseason all-time. Brady became the seventh quarterback to throw three first-half touchdown passes in a Super Bowl. And to top it all off, Brady earned Super Bowl MVP for a fifth time.
Despite these accomplishments and deserved recognition, there’s a few things left unsaid. And no, not that the refs were paid off. Until that’s proven true, one way or another, I see no point in making that claim.
The Bucs defense stepped up. There’s nothing else to say there. They did what every other team the Chiefs faced could not do.
Firstly, their pressure got to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Usually if you get him out of the pocket, it doesn’t matter because always he’s ready to scramble. He’ll still get the ball downfield with your hands in his face. Or, Andy Reid has a protective dump pass at the ready that he knows to throw without even looking. I mean, Mahomes has proven that ability time and again: throwing on target balls as he’s being taken to the ground, scrambling to recover a potential fumble and running backwards 20 yards while still not taking a sack or a penalty.
None of this mattered for Jason Pierre Paul and the rest of the Bucs defensive line. With three-and-a-half sacks, and a few knocked down passes, they gave Mahomes a run for his money.
This cut into the space of Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had to work with, as well. With only nine carries for 64 yards, he was stifled.
Secondly, Tampa Bay shut down Tyreek Hill. As Tony Romo said during the game, the safeties started farther back than normal, and from there, the secondary followed Hill. They wouldn’t let him out of their sight. He had nowhere to go. Hill just did not play the game at full capacity.
With these two pieces combined, Mahomes had to play a sloppier game than he usually does, and the Bucs defense noticed. With hands at the ready, White and Winfield snagged two key interceptions.
Everyone went into this game expecting a high-scoring race to the end zone. In that race, many believed Brady didn’t stand as good of a chance. A major part of why we didn’t see that has to do with the Chiefs players that didn’t show up.
By the end of the night, poor Mahomes looked like he was on an island by himself. His offense had half given up and half been shut down. Brady worked hard and, as a 43-year-old man, earned the recognition for the feats he continues to accomplish. Had the Chiefs offense shown up instead of the Bucs defense, this could have been a very different outcome.