The Clarion Ledger
National Football League
Tampa Bay 31, Kansas City 9
When: 6:30 PM ET, Sunday, February 7, 2021
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Temperature: 63°
Head Official: Carl Cheffers
Attendance: 24835

A different team in a different conference, yet Tom Brady continues to add to his remarkable legacy.

The 43-year-old claimed his fifth Super Bowl MVP award Sunday, passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throttled the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 at Tampa.

It was Brady's seventh Super Bowl title.

"I'm so proud of all of these guys out here,'' Brady said. "All the things we dealt with, we had a rough month of November, but (coach Bruce Arians) had confidence in us, the team had a lot of confidence and we came together at the right time. I think we knew this was going to happen tonight, didn't we?"

Brady, who went 21-for-29, wasted no time putting the Bucs in position for their second Super Bowl title and first since the 2002 season by firing three first-half touchdowns en route to a 21-6 halftime lead.

The early onslaught included a patented drive inside the final minute that he capped with a 1-yard strike to Antonio Brown with six seconds left. Rob Gronkowski grabbed two touchdowns, padding the postseason record for scoring connections from Brady to 14. The pair came into the game tied at 12 with the Hall of Fame duo of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Gronkowski finished with six grabs for 67 yards.

Arians became the oldest coach (68) to win a Super Bowl and did so after the Bucs started 7-5 while working in several newcomers through practices limited by COVID-19 guidelines.

"I ain't going anywhere," Arians said. "I'm going to come back and try to win a second one. Hopefully we can keep most of these guys together."

Brady, too, announced afterward that "we're coming back."

While Brady would not compare the experience to any of his six Super Bowl championships with New England, he repeatedly credited teammates after the Bucs' stifling defensive pressure kept the Chiefs from scoring a touchdown.

"I'm not making any comparisons," Brady said. "Me down here with this group of guys is great. This year with this team, we're world champions forever. You can't take that away from us."

A 27-yard TD run in the third quarter by Leonard Fournette, who recorded 135 yards on 20 touches, made it 28-9. Fournette's TD helped ice the outcome as the Bucs constantly pressured the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, who suffered his worst NFL defeat.

"I believe if you keep getting yards after contact, they're not going to want to tackle you," Fournette said.

Kansas City settled for three field goals by Harrison Butker.

"I didn't think we would keep them from scoring a touchdown," said Shaq Barrett, "but we kept holding them to three and we were going to keep the pressure up."

Said Arians: "I thought all three (coordinators) had great plans. Byron did a great job of mixing up run and pass. Todd had a great plan -- keep them in front of us and let our front four get after them."

Mahomes finished just 26 of 49 for 270 yards. He had two interceptions, a pick by Antoine Winfield that led to a third-quarter Tampa Bay field goal and the second with a minute remaining by Devin White.

"They played better than we did," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "That's my responsibility. I take responsibility for that. You can't do the things we did and beat a good football team."

Brady added to his age-defying legacy by engineering Tampa Bay to a title in his first season quarterbacking an NFC team.

Playing behind a patchwork line missing two starting tackles, Mahomes was hobbled by a lingering turf toe he injured in the divisional round. He scrambled for 33 yards.

Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 10 receptions for 133 yards.

"I feel like they made us dink and dunk, take what was there, but a cap on the defense," Kelce said. "They didn't let us get behind the defense. Didn't let us get deep. That makes you run the ball a little bit better. Sure enough, their front seven is second to none. It was frustrating."

The Chiefs committed 11 penalties, eight in the first half.

"You can't have that," Reid said about the penalties. "It is uncharacteristic and it's too bad it happened today."

Making his 10th Super Bowl appearance, Brady engineered a touchdown in the first quarter of the game for the first time by tossing an 8-yard score to Gronkowski.

Brady, who went 16-for-20 for 140 first-half yards, added a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski after an offsides penalty against the Chiefs prompted Tampa Bay to take a field goal off the board.

Taking over with just 55 seconds left, he directed a 71-yard march, aided by two pass interference calls against Kansas City. The second came in the end zone, allowing the Bucs a chance from the 1-yard line, which Brady cashed by finding Brown with six seconds remaining.

"It was really three (first-half) possessions there that they scored touchdowns after we had penalties," said the Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu, who had an interception nullified by a flag. "Anytime you do that against a good football team and a good quarterback, that's going to hurt."

Mahomes started 3-for-12 before finishing 9 of 19 for just 67 yards passing in the half.

The loss ended a trying week for Reid after his son, Britt, a Chiefs assistant, was involved in a car wreck that injured two young children, one of whom, a young girl, is still hospitalized in critical condition.

"My heart goes out to all those involved in the accident, in particular the family with a little girl who's fighting for her life," Reid said. "Just from a human standpoint, man, my heart bleeds."

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Rushing
Kansas City   Tampa Bay
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Player Leonard Fournette
9 Attempts 16
64 Yards 89
7.1 Avg Yards 5.6
0 Touchdowns 1
26 Long 27
Receiving
Kansas City   Tampa Bay
Travis Kelce Player Rob Gronkowski
10 Receptions 6
133 Yards 67
13.3 Avg Yards 11.2
0 Touchdowns 2
33 Long 25
Team Stats Summary
 
  Yards Scoring Defense
Team Tot Rus Pas TD FG INT Sck FF
Kansas City 350 107 243 0 3 0 1.0 0
Tampa Bay 340 145 195 4 1 2 3.0 1