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The Buccaneers defense flipped the switch and never looked back

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Versus Kansas City Chiefs: Super Bowl LV Recap

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just completed one of the most remarkable one-year turnarounds in  National Football League history. They went from a team underachieved with a 7-9 record to Super Bowl champions the following season.

The signing of Tom Brady was the missing piece to an already talented roster. The Bucs dismantled the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs (31-9) in the 55th edition of the Super Bowl. Brady was named Super Bowl LV Most Valuable Player after throwing for 201 yards and three touchdown passes.

While Brady rightfully deserves to be named MVP, there’s an essential element to the Buccaneers that deserves the recognition that they should rightfully receive right now. In Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers defense stifled one of the most significant offenses we have seen in almost a decade. Before we breakdown what occurred in the Super Bowl, Strike 7 Sports analyzes the journey the Bucs defense took to get where they are right now.

NFC Wild Card Round

Opponent: Washington Football Team

With hopes of winning the NFC South out of reach, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ journey to Super Bowl would begin on the road versus the Washington Football Football Team. The actual game itself presented a different outlook in what was billed up to be an easy contest for the Bucs. WFT quarterback Taylor Heinicke tested the Bucs defense in many ways, such as quick passes down the field to escaping from the pocket to extend drives.

In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the game was building up to have a climactic finish until Tampa’s defense made some crucial stops that would put a halt to Washington’s momentum-changing drive. With 2:22 left in the fourth quarter, Heinicke was sacked for -11 yards by linebacker Levante David, followed by an incomplete pass attempt to receiver Cam Simms. Tampa would take over on downs and leave the Nations Capitol to take on the Saints in the divisional round.

NFC Divisional Round

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

During the regular season, the New Orleans Saints swept Tampa Bay by 72-26. The Buccaneers would meet the Saints for a third time this season. From the looks of it, New Orleans was once again in control of the football game until an unforeseen event took place. With 4:41 left in the third quarter. The Saints were in front 20-13 and were on the move once again. Drew Brees completed a pass to Jared Cook that was enough for a first down, but the drive came to an abrupt halt.

Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. forced Cook to fumble the football recovered by Bucs linebacker Devin White. From that event forward, the momentum swung in the Bucs’ favor. Tampa’s defense would cause an additional two turnovers that would allow them to flush out any attempt by the Saints offense to get back into this game. The Buccaneers would win 30-20 and move to the NFC championship game to face Green Bay.

NFC Championship Game

Opponent: Green Bay Packers

Everything was lining up perfectly for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. They clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which meant that the Super Bowl road would go through Lambeau Field. Lambeau Field’s mystique did not phase the Bucs as their defense feasted on Green Bay’s o-line along with their quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Tampa’s defense sacked Rodgers five times and forced him to commit one turnover. Green Bay’s vaunted rushing attack became nonexistent due to Devin White’s ability to locate the rusher at all times. The second turnover came as a result of Courtney Whitehead’s hit on running back Aaron Jones.

The fumble was recovered by none other than Devin White. Due to Tampa Bay’s ability to stifle Rodgers in the red zone, combined with their head coach’s questionable decisions, the Buccaneers marched on to Super Bowl LV.

Super Bowl LV

Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

The Buccaneers were projected three-point underdogs versus the highly favored Kansas City Chiefs going into Super Bowl LV. The Chiefs finished the season with the best record at 14-2 and pretty much coasted through AFC in 2020. In the prior matchup versus the Chiefs, Tampa Bay’s defense five up over 543 total yards. Two hundred sixty-nine of those yards came from Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. In Super Bowl LV, things looked entirely different. Patrick Mahomes was held without a touchdown pass for the entire game.

The former league MVP only threw for 270 yards and two interceptions. Mahomes was also sacked three times in Sunday’s big game. Buccaneer’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles did an exceptional job adjusting from the issues that occurred in the November 29 matchup.

Tampa’s defensive line was able to apply enough pressure that would allow Mahomes to become uncomfortable in the pocket. You still saw the unorthodox throws made by Mahomes, but they were not nearly as effective. To simply put it, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is fast and opportunistic at the right time. Due to their instincts to make big plays, the Buccaneers could secure a second Super Bowl title. 

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Photo courtesy of Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports.

Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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