This past Tuesday on the Steve Believes page, I did predict a Tampa Bay Buccaneers victory in Super Bowl 55, by the score of 38-31 and with the NFC champions having a commanding lead for most of the game. And given which team hoisted the Lombardi Trophy last night, it’s obvious that I had the winning team predicted correctly. And as for the narrative of the Buccaneers having a commanding lead for most of the game, well that happened in two separate stages in the first half, with them first extending their lead 7-3 lead to 14-3 lead via a 17-yard touchdown reception by tight end Rob Gronkowski, and then answering a 34-yard field goal by Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker via a one-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Antonio Brown near the end of the first half to a turn a nerve-wracking 14-6 lead into a 21-6 cushion. But despite the lead, it wasn’t perceived to be safe against Patrick Mahomes, as we’ve seen him erase deficits five separate times in his postseason career up to this point. And given that the Chiefs were going to receive the second half kickoff, there was a possibility of Mahomes magic on the first possession of the second half.
However, that magic fizzled out a bit, as the Buccaneers defense tightened up after two Clyde Edwards-Helaire runs produced the only two first downs on that drive, thus causing the Chiefs to send out Butker for a 52-yard field goal to make the score 21-9. Then came the calculated risk of attempting to have Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive unit force Tom Brady & Company off the field to give Mahomes and the Chiefs offense a chance to make the deficit a one-score game.
But Brady and the three players (Leonard Fournette, Brown, Gronkowksi) that he convinced to join him in Tampa Bay accounted for all 74 on their next drive, 27 of which came on Fournette’s pretty much back-breaking 27-yard touchdown run, to extend the lead to an insurmountable one of 28-9. It also became the biggest second half deficit that the Chiefs have faced at any point during the Mahomes era. Plus, the team that won the Super Bowl last season would not add any more points to the 9 that they scored prior to the aforementioned Fournette touchdown, as Todd Bowles’ unit slammed any and all doors on a Chiefs rally, including ending a Chiefs drive via a forced turnover, with it being an Antoine Winfield Jr. interception that set up a 52-yard field goal by Ryan Succop to extend the lead to 31-9. And of course, that ended up being the final score of the game, so I was wrong on the point total for each team, as well the final margin of victory. But hey, not every prediction is correct and that’s okay. And speaking of predictions, there’s also my prediction of whom would win Super Bowl 55 MVP.
Back in my Super Bowl 55 prediction entry, I did say that Shaquil Barrett and one of the two (Fournette, Ronald Jones) Buccaneers running backs would get co-MVPs, as I felt that both the 2019 sack champion would put Mahomes on the ground multiple times and one of those two running backs would exploit the Chiefs’ suspect run defense with 100 yards or more rushing. And while Barrett did have the first of the three sacks of Mahomes, along with Fournette finishing 11 yards shy of the century mark, Brady’s consistency in guiding the Buccaneers to either scoring drives or clock-milking drives was just way too important to give any other Buccaneers player the Super Bowl 55 MVP Award. And while I was wrong in my prediction about that as well, I totally agree with it going to Brady.