TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay’s protection achieved its redemption tour with a Sizable Bowl championship.
Overwhelmed by Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill all over a loss to Kansas City in Week 12 of the frequent season, a young Buccaneers secondary flipped the script in Sunday night’s NFL championship sport by shutting down the Chiefs’ electrical duo in a 31-9 victory.
Rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and 2d-300 and sixty five days linebacker Devin White had the group’s sixth and seventh interceptions of a postseason bustle that also incorporated wins over future Hall of Famers Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, and the Bucs limited Kansas City’s excessive-scoring offense to 350 yards and no touchdowns, reasonably the turnaround from a unhappy performance in what harm up being Tampa Bay’s final lack of the season.
Coach Bruce Arians credited defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ sport thought, which mixed and tried to disguise coverages and force Mahomes to prefer the ball lengthy ample for Tampa Bay’s cross rushers to invent the Chiefs’ quarterback unhappy.
“I guess he bought a limited bit tired hearing how unstoppable they like been,” Arians acknowledged.
“He had a astronomical thought to reduction them in front of us and provides the fellows up front time to hunt,” Arians added. “They chased him around barely good.”
Hill had 13 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns in the frequent-season matchup, alongside side seven catches for 203 yards and two TDs in the first quarter by myself, when the quick receiver took benefit of single protection to reduction Kansas City invent a 17-point lead.
Mahomes went 26 of 49 for 270 yards and became as soon as sacked three cases Sunday night after throwing for 462 yards with out an interception in the first assembly. The 2019 league MVP did no longer throw for at the least one TD for the first time in 31 games, alongside side playoffs.
“There became as soon as nothing that became as soon as gonna cease us from successful this sport. I knew we became as soon as going to reduction the rigidity up,” linebacker Shaquil Barrett acknowledged.
“I did no longer assume we became as soon as going to reduction them from scoring a touchdown but we stepped up, we showed up, we held them to some whenever they became as soon as down there,” Barrett added, “and Coach Bowles had a astronomical sport thought. We had the fellows up there to invent it work and we made it work, toddler.”
Travis Kelce achieved with 10 catches for 133 yards for the Chiefs, but Hill became as soon as held to 73 yards on seven receptions whereas bracketed by double protection powerful of the night.
“We took away one of the fundamental most beneath throws, and it takes time for guys obtain deep. That allowed guys up front to obtain after him,” Bowles acknowledged. “Basically the most attention-grabbing thing we like been attempting to manufacture became as soon as prefer away his first read, invent him prefer the ball to gape at (the protection) lengthy ample to obtain after him.”
The 27-24 setback on Nov. 29 achieved a stretch in the route of which the Bucs dropped three of 4 games — all at home — to enter their bye week shopping for answers to their inconsistency on both offense and protection.
The group didn’t lose again, ending on an eight-sport successful scamper that incorporated playoff motorway wins over Washington, Original Orleans and Green Bay to alter into the first group to play a Sizable Bowl of their home stadium.
Brees and the Saints beat Tampa Bay twice all over the frequent season. By taking down Mahomes in the Sizable Bowl, the Bucs (15-5) avenged three of their 5 losses.
The steady enchancment of the protection down the stretch became as soon as one of basically the most attention-grabbing reason they like been assured Sunday’s consequence would be various.
“It became as soon as very deepest,” cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting acknowledged. “As a secondary, we had some tough patches, good love every various group. It good appeared love we took a limited bit more heat, of us announcing we weren’t good ample.”
White acknowledged he and the leisure of the protection couldn’t realize how Tampa Bay became as soon as conception to be underdogs Sunday night after taking down Brees after which Rodgers.
He also took exception with Tampa Bay having most productive one Legitimate Bowl preference on its roster, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul.
“That doesn’t even sound good,” White acknowledged. “One Legitimate Bowl player and the group goes on to decide on out the Sizable Bowl? That’s OK. That trophy, the Lombardi, that’s what we play for.”
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