Throughout the 2020-2021 season, the Kansas City Chiefs have consistently made silly mistakes that had the potential to put games in jeopardy. Whether it be a muffed punt or an untimely penalty, this has usually been shrugged off because K.C. almost always ended up winning. In the biggest game of the year, however, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the best of Kansas City.
Costly penalties, dropped passes, and questionable clock management drastically changed the course of Super Bowl LV.
On 3rd-and-11 on the first drive of the game, Patrick Mahomes threw a deep ball into the area of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Hill went up for the catch, but the ball went straight through his hands and bounced off of his face-mask. Because of this, the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal.
At the start of the second quarter, an unnecessary roughness penalty on Chris Jones gave the Buccaneers a free first down. This penalty wasn’t as costly, as it resulted in a 4th-and-goal stop by the Chiefs defense; however, it was a pointless penalty nonetheless.
After the huge goal line stand by the KC defense, it seemed like the momentum was shifting in their direction, but the mistakes began to pile up. On 3rd-and-8, Travis Kelce dropped a perfectly thrown ball, which resulted in a punt.
The Chiefs have been their own worst enemy all season.
Tommy Townsend booted the ball 56 yards on his first attempt, but a holding call cancelled it out, meaning that the 4th down had to be replayed. On his second attempt, he shanked it for only 29 yards and Tampa Bay took over at the Kansas City 38 yard-line.
Continuing to add to the magnitude of mistakes in the second quarter, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu had an interception on the ensuing Buccaneers drive, but it was nullified by a defensive holding penalty. Even though the interception didn’t count, the Chiefs defense still managed to hold the Buccaneers to a field goal, but yet again, another penalty occurred. Offsides was called on K.C. on the field goal attempt, which gave Tampa Bay a first down and they eventually ended up scoring a touchdown, making it 14-3.
The next obscure decision happened when the Chiefs decided to utilize their timeouts to try and get the ball back with a little under a minute left in the first half. If they would have just been content, they would have most likely headed into the locker room only losing 14-6 after playing one of their worst halves ever in the Patrick Mahomes era.
Instead, the Buccaneers converted a first down after the Chiefs used two of their timeouts and still had time remaining to move the ball down the field. On the very next play, Tom Brady took a shot downfield and cornerback Bashaud Breeland was called for pass interference, which gave Tampa Bay 34 free yards.
On the same drive, another pass interference was called on Mathieu, which put the Buccaneers at Kansas City’s one-yard line. Tampa Bay ended up taking advantage of all of these mistakes and put another 7 points on the board. Instead of entering the half with only an 8-point deficit, the Chiefs went into the locker room down 21-6, full of frustration and completely deflated spirits.
Towards the end of the 3rd quarter, with the Chiefs down 31-9, Mahomes made an epic play. He scrambled out of the pocket and found Darrel Williams in the end zone. Mahomes was tripped up and still managed to throw the ball 30 yards down the field mid-fall. The ball went straight through Williams’ hands and bounced off of his face mask, resulting in a turnover on downs (very similar to Hill’s drop in the first quarter).
Whether you thought that some of the penalties were questionable or not, the Chiefs still made way too many mistakes to be competitive against a Super Bowl caliber team. The problem is, we have become so accustomed to epic comebacks that we oftentimes forget that this team isn’t unbeatable. If the Chiefs have too many costly errors (like they did in Super Bowl LV), then they can get blown out.
Kansas City has made these same mistakes throughout the season, but it has never come back to bite them like it did against Tampa Bay. This is the worst loss of Patrick Mahomes’ NFL career and I’m sure that he will never forget it.
While it was concerning to see how many errors the Chiefs made in this game, there is no question that they will be back on this stage again. Like many have said throughout the season, the Chiefs are definitely their own worst enemy.
All of the costly penalties, dropped catches, and coaching decisions are easily avoidable, but those were the things that defined the biggest game of the season. None of these miscues take anything away from the effort that players showed, but the simple fact is that Kansas City played a bad game against the Buccaneers, and their mistakes finally created an insurmountable deficit that couldn’t be fixed in the Super Bowl.