It finally happened. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes struggled.
There was no magic Sunday during a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. There weren’t any offensive onslaughts from the most prolific offense in the NFL. No no-look throws, long balls or … touchdowns.
Just a whole lot of pressure, a whole lot of incompletions — and not nearly enough points.
“They beat us pretty good,” the 25-year-old wunderkind said. “The worst I’ve been beaten in a long time.”
Mahomes tried his best to muster the magic to which Kansas City is accustomed but ultimately fell way short in his quest to lead the Chiefs to their second consecutive Super Bowl victory. He was pressured 29 times, according to ESPN Stats &Information. No quarterback has ever been pressured more in a Super Bowl.
He was constantly trying to escape the clutches of Tampa Bay defenders, scrambling behind the line of scrimmage and running for a total of 497 yards before attempting his throws or taking sacks — the most by any quarterback in a game this season, per NFL’s Netx Gen Stats.
It was a staggering indicator of the kind of pressure he faced. The kind of pressure he couldn’t overcome.
In turn, he completed 26 of 49 passes for 270 yards and two interceptions behind a makeshift offensive line that struggled to block one of the NFL’S best front sevens.
“We weren’t on the same page as an offense in general,” Mahomes said. “I wasn’t getting the ball out on time. The receivers were running routes not exactly where I thought they were going to be, and the offensive line, they were good at some times and some times they let guys through.
“When you’re playing a defense like that, you’ve got to be on the same page as an offense, and we weren’t today. That’s why we played so bad,” he concluded.
Mahomes hadn’t started a game and lost by more than one score since 2016, his final year at Texas Tech, when his Red Raiders were dismantled 66-10 by Iowa State. He’d engineered at least one touchdown drive in every NFL game he’d started before Sunday.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid blamed himself for not figuring out how to put Mahomes and the offense in better positions.
“I could have done a better job,” Reid said. “It was a bad day to have a bad day. … My guys busted their tail, and it just didn’t work for us. Give credit to (Tampa Bay defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles). They got us.”
Kansas City didn’t do itself any favors, committing 11 penalties for 120 yards, including 90 in the second quarter alone — the most in a quarter in Super Bowl history. The yardage total is the most by any NFL team in any quarter since the Raiders had 110 yards in the second quarter of the season opener in 2018.
But penalties aside, the Chiefs didn’t do enough to repeat. Reid now knows firsthand why a team hasn’t won back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
“Just to get back to this thing, it’s tough,” Reid said. “That’s what this is all about. It just shows you the heart of these guys and what they’ve done to put ourselves in a position to at least have an opportunity to do this. We’ve got to play better. We’ve got to use it as motivation to help get ourselves back again.”