The highly anticipated battle of the ages between 43-year-old Tom Brady and 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes didn’t exactly materialize in the first half of Super Bowl LV.
That’s because crafty defense by Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles kept Mahomes and the potent Chiefs offense bottled up while Brady ran wild on the Chiefs.
Brady, playing for his record 7th Super Bowl ring, hooked up with old sidekick Rob Gronkowski for two touchdowns. It was the most Super Bowl touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver combo, and Gronk’s14 touchdowns moved him past Jerry Rice on the list of receiving touchdowns. The feat was made all the more remarkable by the fact that Gronkowski took off all of last season, attending the Super Bowl as a spectator.
Tampa Bay almost had a third touchdown in the first half, as running back Ronald Jones was stopped on fourth down just short of the goal line.
Meanwhile, Kansas City was not looking like Kansas City, according to CBS announcer Jim Nantz. Mahomes had most of the running yardage for the Chiefs, as he scrambled under a ferocious rush by the Tampa Bay defensive line. That and some bad penalties, including one just before the half that led to a killer touchdown, kept the Chiefs down.
The Kansas City frustrations were underlined on a 3rd down play with just over a minute left in the half. Mahomes brought Chiefs down near the Tampa Bay 20, but was forced to scramble back to his own 35 under the high pressure exerted by the Bucs.
Just before the half, a bad penalty put Tampa Bay on the 1-yard-line, and Brady hit Antonio Brown with a short touchdown pass to drive a dagger into the Chiefs.
The half ended with Tampa Bay up 21-6, but the game didn’t feel that close for those rooting for Kansas City. Still, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who grew up in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, is known as an offensive genius, and likely will devise some key adjustments. This is, after all, a team that once overcame a 24-point deficit in a playoff game against the Houston Texans.
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