Death, taxes and Tom Brady.
Cliché, I know. But at this point, what about Brady doesn’t seem cliché? He’s won more Super Bowls than any NFL franchise. He’s considered to be among the very best athletes in the history of sports, if he doesn’t hold that title alone.
At 43, he’s the greatest quarterback of all-time. And he has given no indication that he’s ready to hang up the cleats. On the contrary, he told Jim Nantz Sunday night on the championship podium that he would be back next season, trying to win another one.
In a Super Bowl with amplified anticipation thanks to a QB duel for the ages, it was the signal-calling icon that outlasted young buck Patrick Mahomes. But there was more to Super Bowl 55 than Brady’s greatness: an exquisite defensive gameplan from Todd Bowles, a renaissance of a positional giant and minor Kansas City meltdowns on both sides of the ball.
Here are five numbers from Super Bowl LV:
But back to Brady. In his 10 Super Bowl appearances, all but one was a one-possession game. In his seven wins, the point differentials in order were three, three, three, four, six, 10 and now 22.
It’s the largest difference in the final game since Super Bowl XLVIII when the Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. It is the 13th Super Bowl that has been decided by 20 points or more.
One thing seemed certain about Brady and the Super Bowl: Fans were in for a close game. On Sunday, it seemed anything but.
It was something we had hadn’t seen before as the Bucs chased Mahomes around all night. In fact, the KC star was pressured more than any other quarterback in Super Bowl history.
For Tampa Bay’s defense, Super Bowl LV was a party in the backfield. Though they rarely blitzed – a direct reversal of the team’s defensive strategy during the regular season – the Buccaneers front four was able to overpower the Chiefs’ injury-depleted offensive line, a key part of Sunday’s victory.
Shaquil Barrett, Ndamukong Suh and Cam Gill combined for three sacks, while Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and Vita Vea wreaked havoc all night. Barrett finished with a season-high eight total pressures and was the only defender on both sides with more than three.
Rushing four allowed for Tampa Bay’s linebackers and safeties to drop into coverage, making it more difficult for Mahomes to find an open receiver while the Bucs’ talented pass rushers collapsed the pocket.
Brady, meanwhile, was only pressured four times.
23.1% Third-Down Conversion Rate
On the year, Kansas City converted third downs at the third-best rate in the league at 49.0% (95-for-194). But in Super Bowl 55, the Chiefs converted just 3-of-13 third-down attempts.
The only time they performed worse on third downs was in Week 7 when they went did not convert on any of their eight opportunities in a 43-16 win at Denver.
Kansas City failed to convert on four of its five third-down conversions in Tampa territory, leading to three field goals and a failed fourth-down conversion. Its offense averaged 8.2 yards to go per third-down attempt.
This season, Tampa Bay allowed a 40.0% third-down conversion rate.
120 Penalty Yards
For all their struggles, the Chiefs did not make it easy on themselves. The Chiefs committed 11 penalties, and while some were borderline, there were blatant ones as well.
Midway through the second quarter, there was a questionable defensive holding call on Charvarius Ward on third down that extended a Bucs drive. Later in that same drive, an offsides penalty on a Tampa Bay field-goal attempt gifted the Bucs a first down. On the very next play, Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a 17-yard touchdown.
On Tampa Bay’s next drive, two defensive pass interference penalties totaling 42 yards led to another Buccaneers touchdown right before halftime, putting Kansas City in a 21-6 hole.
410 Yards Per Game
Does defense still win championships? Sunday’s result supports that thesis.
There have been eight teams in NFL history that made the Super Bowl while averaging at least 410 yards per game. And yes, all eight teams lost.
There have been 8 teams all-time to make the #SuperBowl after averaging at least 410 total yards/game:
2013 Broncos: 457.3
1984 Dolphins: 433.5
2011 Patriots: 428.0
2018 Rams: 421.1
2001 Rams: 418.1
2020 Chiefs: 415.8
2016 Falcons: 415.8
2007 Patriots: 411.3
All 8 teams lost.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) February 8, 2021
In those Super Bowls, five of the eight opponents had top-10 defenses in yards allowed per game.
Bonus Number: 497 Yards
OK, think back to Mahomes scrambling all over the field one last time. By the time it was over, he had traveled 497 before releasing the ball or getting sacked.
That is the most scramble yards by any quarterback since the NFL’s Next Gen Stats began tracking player data in 2016.
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