Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl LV
compiled by Vincent Verhei
Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around emails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).
On Monday, we compile a digest of those emails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.
While these emails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Seahawks or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Lions fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors solely to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 "at" Kansas City Chiefs 9
Aaron Schatz: It all comes down to this!
Vincent Verhei: "And there it is" also works.
Predictions? I'll go KC 31, TB 21.
Bryan Knowles: So, I've been somewhat out of it this week. This is just a one-on-one showdown between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes to determine 100% who is the best quarterback in NFL history, right? Or will the other Chiefs and Buccaneers get to play?
Aaron Schatz: My prediction at ESPN was Chiefs, 34-31.
Scott Spratt: Mine in the EdjSports video was 34-30, so it seemed like I was copying Aaron.
Rivers McCown: Keeping in mind that I have read nothing about football this week that hasn't involved a preacher/proxy owner so if I'm wrong I blame that, I would also take the Chiefs by a 30-28 score.
Bryan Knowles: Andrew and I both took Tampa Bay +3.5 in the Prop Bet Extravaganza, and I'm sticking with it.
Carl Yedor: I've only been half-watching the pregame but I hope Laurent Duvernay-Tardif gets a mention at some point on the broadcast since it's a natural football/medical field tie-in.
Also, what are everyone's thoughts on the CBS scorebug? I believe this is the debut for this iteration but I could be wrong.
Bryan Knowles: Carl, I'd like a solid black line between the various regions of the scorebug; the Bucs' flag blends into the Chiefs' color somewhat. But that is a nitpick, and we have seen far more disastrous scorebugs in recent years.
Carl Yedor: I'm personally more a fan of the one FOX introduced last year but I think the CBS one is generally fine. I think I'd prefer a slightly different font here and I was somewhat hoping for something with a little more spice.
Aaron Schatz: Bucs bringing pressure with four early. Play with a screwed-up line call ended up with nobody blocking Shaq Barrett. Mahomes did scramble on third-and-7 though for the one first down before the Chiefs had to punt!
Scott Spratt: The over 6.5 punts prop is looking dangerous after those first two series.
Bryan Knowles: We have already seen the big difference between Brady and Mahomes so far -- Mahomes, under pressure, has extended plays and scrambled for positive yards. Brady, at this point in his career, just has to kind of take the sack.
Puntapalooza continues, but it's early.
Aaron Schatz: I was trying to figure out how Tampa Bay had decided to cover Tyreek Hill and it looks like a lot of zones so far. They just blitzed two cornerbacks and had Antoine Winfield on Hill and Mahomes evaded the rush and launched it to him in the end zone and it bounced off his facemask. Chiefs kick a field goal, now up 3-0.
Bryan Knowles: It took 10 attempts, but Tom Brady has finally scored a touchdown in the first quarter of a Super Bowl. And was that ... an RPO to Rob Gronkowski? I don't recall the Buccaneers running many RPOs this season -- Pro Football Reference has them with just 14 during the regular season, and I certainly don't remember seeing one aimed for Gronk.
I'll take it, as I had Gronk +1600 to score the first touchdown of the game, mind you.
Aaron Schatz: Tampa Bay marched down the field pretty easily on that drive. Some good running by Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, some chunk plays. Loved the RPO to Gronk with Mike Evans blocking.
BRADY TO GRONK IN THE #SUPERBOWL
📺: #SBLV on CBS
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/HJtQf5igun pic.twitter.com/hjKIHWaYmE
— NFL (@NFL) February 8, 2021
Vincent Verhei: Thoughts on a surprisingly defensive first quarter:
- Lots of punts -- lots of bad punts. The longest net was only 40 yards.
- Chiefs offensive wounds have been somewhat self-inflicted. First third-down failure, Mahomes missed on open Mecole Hardman on the right side. Next drive, Hill had a pass bounce off his facemask near the goal line before they kicked their field goal.
- Bucs have the lead but haven't hit a deep-deep ball yet. Longest catch was the curl by Antonio Brown for 16 yards.
Scott Spratt: Ronald Jones drop. I'm shocked.
Aaron Schatz: Chiefs immediately go three-and-out after a good kickoff return. Their offensive line is a real problem right now; Mahomes had two guys in his lap on third-and-4.
Bryan Knowles: I am stunned the Buccaneers did not run the Tom Brady sneak on fourth-and-inches at the goal line. Stunned. I think that's a stop and Chiefs' ball.
Aaron Schatz: I actually am shocked, but not by the drop. Tampa Bay was the best team in the league running in short yardage this year, Kansas City was the worst defense against short-yardage runs, and yet the Chiefs just stuffed the Bucs twice in a row at the goal line. Wow.
Bryan Knowles: The Chiefs might want to check the locker room for some Stickum at the half. They have had a number of big drops so far -- or at least, balls they could have, but haven't, caught.
Vincent Verhei: Another third-down gaffe for the Chiefs -- Mahomes makes a superhuman throw under pressure, but Kelce drops what should have been a conversion.
And then we get yet another lousy play by a punter as Tommy Townsend drops the snap. Townsend recovers the ball and actually gets his best punt of the day, but there's a hold on the Chiefs and we're going to punt again. AND THE NEXT PUNT SUCKS. Bucs starting inside the Kansas City 40! 42-yard difference between the two punts!
Scott Spratt: Oh man, that defensive holding call is just brutal for the Chiefs. It erases a beautiful Tyrann Mathieu interception. And honestly, that ball was out and deflected within a second and a half, so I don't even know how there was time for holding.
Aaron Schatz: And then offsides erases a Ryan Succop field goal and Brady throws a touchdown to Gronk on the next play. And Kansas City gets flagged on that play too, and it didn't even matter. Is Kansas City aware this game is counting?
Bryan Knowles: And then, they get a stop, but are offsides on the fourth-and-5 field goal, resulting in a new set of downs, and a second Gronk touchdown.
The Chiefs just keep shooting themselves in the foot, and the Bucs are taking advantage.
Vincent Verhei: Tyrann Mathieu interception wiped out by KC penalty. Field goal turns into a first-and-10 on a KC penalty. Bucs, given a THIRD chance on the drive, finally convert on a touchdown pass to Gronkowksi. 14-3 Bucs as the Chiefs are playing like hot garbage.
Bryan Knowles: One day, the Chiefs will just win a game outright without any nervousness, without falling behind or something. Today is not that day.
The Chiefs have four come-from-behind playoff victories in the last two seasons. That ties the league high from 2015 to 2020.
Aaron Schatz: Tampa Bay front four is winning this game so far. Just forced Mahomes to throw it away on third-and-4 in the red zone. The Bucs are putting a lot of defensive backs back -- they do not want to let the Chiefs go deep on them at all. And they're having trouble setting up even the underneath stuff because the offensive line is getting killed out there. Field goal by Harrison Butker and we're now at 14-6 with 1:01 left in the second quarter.
Scott Spratt: The Chiefs have committed seven penalties for 80 yards versus one for 5 yards for the Bucs. Given the Bucs' lack of discipline from the regular season, I think that's my biggest surprise of a surprising first half.
Andrew Potter: Pretty sure the offensive line is also affecting the play calling. We're just not seeing the Chiefs go deep into the bag of tricks like they usually would. They can't even hold up long enough to set up a screen.
Bryan Knowles: I think you're right, Andrew -- Kansas City doesn't look like Kansas City, because the Bucs' pass rush versus the Chiefs' backup offensive line is a mismatch.
Game's not over, mind you, but I think the Chiefs need to score on their first drive out of the half.
And we should note the record for penalties in a Super Bowl is 12, shared by the Cowboys in Super Bowl XII, the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII (versus Brady!), and the Panthers again in Super Bowl 50. The record for penalty yards is 133, set by the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
One of those teams (the XII Cowboys) actually did win, so all is not yet lost for Kansas City
Vincent Verhei: It's not just the number of penalties, it's how many extra chances they have given Tampa Bay. The Bucs have 18 first downs -- six of them have come on penalties. The Chiefs have just been playing so, so badly. And yet ... it's only 21-6. That's not good, but it's not insurmountable. And they get the ball to start the half. That goal-line stand has left Kansas City alive.
It's shocking how much Kansas City's offense, though, looks like a vintage Russell Wilson team. Every play they have made, he has had to scramble away from pressure to make a throw or a run. They had some success early in the half with designed rollouts to move him away from pressure. I'd like to see them go back to that more in the second half.
Bryan Knowles: Vince: I believe the previous record for first downs by penalty in a Super Bowl was four -- that's certainly the post-1999 record, at least, and it looks like no game before that broke that mark. Six in one half is crazy.
Aaron Schatz: If the Kansas City "flip the switch" theory is real, the first drive after halftime would be a good time for them to get a-flippin'.
Bryan Knowles: Check out Mahomes' first-half passing chart. Zero deep shots -- the Chiefs need to figure out some kind of way to buy him time to get his receivers downfield, because right now, the Bucs know that Kansas City just doesn't have time to go deep.
The Buccaneers aligned in two-high safety shells on 21 of 29 plays (72%) in the first half to take away the Chiefs downfield passing game.
Mahomes failed to complete any of his 4 passes traveling 10+ air yards in the first half.#SBLV | #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/eMxvl0yfh8
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) February 8, 2021
Aaron Schatz: Here are some stats from Next Gen Stats on just how much the Bucs are playing with their defensive backs deep and taking away the deep ball.
The Buccaneers aligned in two-high safety shells on 21 of 29 plays (72%) in the first half to take away the Chiefs' downfield passing game. Mahomes failed to complete any of his four passes traveling 10-plus air yards in the first half.
Tom Gower: Halftime, Bucs up 21-6.
The Chiefs game-planned like they were terrified of their offensive line against the Buccaneers defensive line, and, well, they were right. If not for Patrick Mahomes' ability to elude pressure and make second-reaction plays, this game wouldn't be remotely competitive. But in that alternate world, the Chiefs almost certainly wouldn't be here at all. As adjusted for circumstances, Mahomes did well to try to make plays, and the biggest real play completely killed by quick pressure was the third down before the second field goal. I wonder more about the early attempt to manufacture touches for Mecole Hardman (five first-half targets) rather than Travis Kelce (who took a couple ofdrives to get involved as the middle option in front of the two-deep) or Tyreek Hill.
Maybe just because of the way it happened, I thought the Chiefs defense was pretty OK in the first half. They got the early huge fourth-and-goal stop, an area where they have struggled this year. The second touchdown started in great field position and required a ridiculous (by before-today playoff standards) holding call to get any points at all, and a "why didn't we get a down-the-line shot?" offside penalty to get seven points instead of three. The third drive doesn't happen if Andy Reid doesn't call timeouts (plural -- the second one after the positive pass was simply an atrocious decision) and required some flag-happy officiating. Maybe they're getting run over after the early start, and Brady isn't getting pressured, but this is really a Ansas City offense-driven result through 30 minutes.
Aaron Schatz: Kansas City gets some nice gains on the ground on their first drive of the second half and then, ugh, Andy Reid kicks another field goal, this time on fourth-and-7 from the Kansas City 34. EdjSports model had that as a go for it by 1% GWC.
Bryan Knowles: I know counting the Chiefs out at any point is a fool's errand, but after the Buccaneers came out and marched right down the field, I think that might well be ballgame.
Kansas City will probably get on the scoreboard more, with 23 minutes left on the clock. But I have no trust in the Chiefs' defense to get anywhere near the needed number of stops.
Tom Gower: OK, that first Bucs drive of the second half and its hot-knife-through-butter nature was a sign that maybe the Chiefs defense is not good.
Vincent Verhei: There is not a projection system, forecast, or injury scenario that ever would have suggested the Bucs holding Mahomes to 114 passing yards through three quarters.
Aaron Schatz: Can Todd Bowles be the Super Bowl MVP?
I realize that the Chiefs have injuries on the offensive line, but four of these linemen started against Buffalo two weeks ago and they absolutely did not look like this.
Vincent Verhei: Well, a lot going on on that failed Chiefs red zone drive. Shaq Barrett has been eating Mike Remmers for lunch, but he wasn't rushing against Remmers there it was ... Vita Vea? Who has no played defensive tackle, edge rusher, tight end, and fullback tonight? Vea for MVP!
Regardless, Mahomes is running for his life on every play. Three straight snaps, he's scrambling back and forth for seven-plus seconds. Twice he nearly threw touchdowns anyway. The fourth-down incompletion may have been the best throw of his career:
omg Mahomes what pic.twitter.com/0Kbx5KRRTN
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) February 8, 2021
— Mike Sando (@SandoNFL) February 8, 2021
Carl Yedor: I honestly don't have much of a takeaway for the Chiefs offense beyond 1) they're dropping passes/not making tough catches, and 2) their offensive line is a sieve. Mahomes has someone turned loose on seemingly every play, meaning he doesn't have time to go through progressions at all before scrambling for his life. The Bucs pass rush is putting on a clinic against Kansas City's depleted offensive line.
Vincent Verhei: Hey Scott, the Bucs just threw a deep pass on third-and-1 and then punted! They're driving you nuts on their way to a championship!
Scott Spratt: Haha Vince, I was just typing that! I guess Bruce Arians gets the last laugh.
Vincent Verhei: Twenty-two minutes later, the Bucs threw deep on third down and punted again, and there's really nothing else to talk about during the worst game of a pretty lousy postseason.
Aaron Schatz: I'm pretty sure that this will be the legendary, long-awaited Patrick Mahomes game below replacement level. Although you can't fault him. He made some amazing plays to get out of pressure and those passes turned into drops.
It turns out there was no flipping of the switch. It was just a good Kansas City team having two very good games, which happens all the time. Tampa Bay has been higher than Kansas City in DVOA since after Week 3 and I listened to all the criticism from the rest of the analytics community and doubted my own numbers. But the fact is, winning games close instead of winning them big does matter. In the long run, it does tell us something.
Bryan Knowles: Well, we can talk about Bruce Arians winning his first Super Bowl ring -- it's not quite as sweet for me as seeing Andy Reid win his last year (well, theoretically sweet -- I remain a 49ers fan, after all), but Arians is a football lifer and, by all accounts, a great guy who deserves every bit of this. And maybe after this performance, Todd Bowles will eventually get another chance to run a team, and maybe not the Jets this time!
Vincent Verhei: Mahomes has had negative DYAR once: in Week 17 of 2019 (in a win they needed to clinch home field, not a rest-the-starters game).
I'm also happy for Lavonte David. And hey, we now live in a world where Blaine Gabbert has a Super Bowl ring!
Tom Gower: This ended up a complete throughgoing butt-kicking, and not a lot to say. Didn't make for a bunch of Audibles conversation, especially with, say, me, sticking to my normal "watch the game and don't say much the first half" routine. The Chiefs needed to execute really well on offense in the second half, and the Bucs pass rush never got to the point the 49ers did in the fourth quarter of last year's game where they weren't getting enough to Mahomes that he had the chance to make plays downfield. And when he did have the chance to make plays, well, it would have been a more interesting game had the Chiefs players in the end zone caught the passes that hit them in the face. Or had Chiefs players made a contested catch, any contested catch, since I sure don't remember them doing so at any point in the game. But Buccaneers cover players won that matchup almost as badly as the defensive front won their matchup, and the team that struggled against good teams in the regular season gets to hoist a Lombardi.
Vincent Verhei: Watching some of the postgame, and Nate Burleson congratulated Byron Leftwich for running his usual offense, or something along those lines. I love Nate, but he's wrong there. They averaged 9.6 yards per catch tonight, 2 full yards below their season average. They totally changed their offense to attack the Chiefs' weaknesses, and it worked perfectly.
Rivers McCown: I think there are some iron-clad truths in football and the level of pass protection that Kansas City had in this game is just difficult to win with. Credit to the Bucs front four and the creative blitzes that dominated this game and had Mahomes throwing off his third and fourth adjustment all game. Kansas City couldn't find a screen around it, got too far behind to run on it, and that was about it.
Tom Gower: Oh, one more note from me: the Bucs offensive line was by and large terrific the last part of the season. After the big Frank Clark play early, the Chiefs got basically nothing from their pass rush. Brady ended up getting pressured four times on 30 dropbacks, the lowest pressure rate of any of his Super Bowls. And outside of the goal-to-go stop, the Bucs ran the ball pretty successfully.
Vincent Verhei: Mahomes, meanwhile, was pressured 29 times in 56 dropbacks.
I also like this graphic, showing each quarterback's movement out of the pocket (or lack thereof):
Here are the path's that Patrick Mahomes (top) and Tom Brady (bottom) took before pass attempts in shotgun during tonight's #SuperBowl
White: incomplete pic.twitter.com/TLFEOxzwhr
— Michael Lopez (@StatsbyLopez) February 8, 2021
Vincent Verhei: And now here's a great thread by Next Gen Stats on Tampa Bay's defense, and how they broke all their tendencies tonight.
How did Todd Bowles & Co. design the perfect defensive game plan to limit the big-play ability of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense? A THREAD ⬇️
🔹 (I) Two-high safety shells
🔹 (II) Pressure w/o blitzing
🔹 (III) Take away the sidelines#SBLV | #GoBucs pic.twitter.com/BW4ruwwBkY
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) February 8, 2021
The Bucs won the Super Bowl by playing an entirely different brand of football than they had all season on both sides of the ball, and that's a huge credit to their coaching staff.
200 comments, Last at 11 Feb 2021, 7:00am
#1 by jonsilver // Feb 08, 2021 - 12:22am
What we'll never know is what this game would have looked like if KC had Eric Fisher at left tackle instead of three offensive linemen playing out of position. Somewhere in tonight's discussion, someone suggested the Chiefs might have been better off if they didn't shift guys around like that. My thought is that you have to credit KC's coaching staff with a level of competence such that what they did with the OL was what they thought gave them the best chance. Clearly the best chance did not equate to a good chance.
#160 by turbohappy // Feb 09, 2021 - 1:06am
Clearly they didn't have any sort of LT backup option they trusted and they thought this gave them the best chance. It sure didn't work though, both tackles looked horrid and there was some occasional pressure up the middle also. Would things have been better if they would have just run out their weakest player at LT and constantly called protections to try to help them? Maybe, but we'll never know...it looked like they were getting beat on every play but honestly there were a number of coverage sacks/pressures thrown in as well...it's entirely possible the other alignment could have been even worse.
#4 by greybeard // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:00am
I would have laughed at someone predicting 31-9.
Bucs played well across the board. Chiefs played much worse than their usual at offensive line and receiver.
Chiefs were not as good as their record. But their incompetence was shocking.
I loved Mahomes’play. Apparently he ran a total of 497 yards before throwing the ball. He made some amazing throws only for a Chief receiver to drop it. The throw that he made while falling down that hit the receiver in the face mask in the end zone and subsequently got dropped might be the best throw I have ever seen.
I also enjoyed Winfield taunting Hill with the peace sign. Hill has been taunting with it for years and getting away with. Nice to see a payback in one of his worse losses.
#24 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:34am
by DIVISION // Feb 07, 2021 - 5:07pm
I bet $500 total on a whim, so I will likely win big or lose big depending on how this plays out. Based on the actions of Reid's embarrassing son and the distractions derived from that, I expect the Bucs to dominate, but mainly to coast to a comfortable victory. I see the defense shutting down KC with Bowles changing things up in the secondary. The Bucs' front four being dominant is the main key for all of this.
Brady will do what he tends to do. I see Mahomes having a rough day...
I see it something like Bucs 30 Chiefs 17
#21 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:28am
What did Tony Romo say that was wrong?
As far as the obvious, that's kind of what announcers do.
Look at Troy Aikman. He's basically our generation's John Madden with all the usual hyperbole and casual observations. "Look, that guy's got mud on his jersey!".
#52 by andrewmilne // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:43am
I don't know enough to be able to say whether Romo was right or wrong on stuff, but I really don't like him as an announcer. His enthusiasm seems to be for his own smartness and ability to predict stuff. He can obviously see the field and say things, but he doesn't explain things well. He has never reached that ability to move beyond technical vocabulary to giving you insight into the game.
Cris Collinsworth, to my mind, is so much better. He is enthusiastic, but about the players and the game. He sees things, and he can explain them.
#10 by MRCHalifax // Feb 08, 2021 - 2:19am
I dunno, the Bucs are absolutely loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. DVOA liked them a lot. They have a future HOF coach. Just looking at the last decade, I wouldn’t take them over the 2003/2004 Patriots, 2013 Seahawks, 2016 Patriots or 2019 Chiefs, but I think they’re at least the equals of every other team in that timeframe.
#100 by Gladiator of t… // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:27am
Oh, so what you're saying is... only express regrets about what didn't happen, don't project hopes on what might still happen? Or... imagine what would have happened if what actually happened didn't actually happen, but don't imagine what might happen if what hasn't happened yet happens? Or what?
#102 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:47am
Ok, pay attention; I'll type slowly. Someone said Arians was a HOFer. I said his record at this time likely would not result in being selected to the HOF, that another championship(s) would likely be needed, and that one can't assume championships. If the person I responded to had written, "If Arians wins another championship, he's a HOFer", I likely would not have responded at all.
I also said that Chiefs receivers failed to execute catches, that were in the range of what professional receivers often accomplish, and if they had done so, the game likely would have been competitive in the 4th quarter.
Got it? Or are you just looking for more reason to engage in pointless snark? If so, please find somebody else to engage with.
#112 by Gladiator of t… // Feb 08, 2021 - 12:08pm
It's pointless snark to highlight how ridiculous it is that you're on here with multiple posts urging people to "imagine this, imagine that; imagine if 6 passes were caught"?
We might as well then further imagine that, after KC picks up those first downs, then on the following play Lavonte David jumps a crossing route to Kelce and takes it to the house. Then let's imagine he does it four more times. Why not, while we're imagining things? You're writing multiple fan fiction posts but then you're weirdly dismissive about other people's speculation about what qualifies for the HOF.
You're obviously really frustrated and disappointed by the KC loss. Don't want a humorous nudge back to reality ("pointless snark" in your angry eyes)? Then write about what really happened. Have a better day.
#113 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 12:20pm
Um, two days before the game, I was writing that I'd really like to see Tom Moore, Tampa Bay assistant coach, win another Super Bowl ring, because I know people who were coached by him at the U of MN. I'm hugely pleased to see Antione Winfield Jr. as a Super Bowl winner, because I liked watching him at the U of MN, and I hugely enjoyed watching his dad's career with the Vikings.
Despite your hallucinations, you really don't know my preferences. I don't recall engaging with you before, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to do it again. If you'll extend the courtesy of not attempting to engage with me again, I promise to not attempt to further engage with you. You can have the last word.
#178 by bravehoptoad // Feb 09, 2021 - 1:34pm
These forums have always changed a lot over time. In the site's heyday, the comments for every major article would sprawl to a second page, and there was an endless line of people to argue against the value of analytics at all. It was great fun to fight the "he's just a winner" or the "analytics can't measure heart" crowd. It was fun to be actually on the Outside going against perceived common wisdom.
Analytics won that fight a long time ago, so the forums are nowhere near as passionate as they used to be. I kind of miss those days, but the bullshit quotient is overall much, much lower here than it used to be.
#194 by Theo // Feb 10, 2021 - 6:59am
Those posts are pretty rare and far between, especially longer ago.
Because those people would scream "hands down off the charts!" and then he would pretty quickly find out that people on this site don't care much about that.
#57 by RickD // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:42am
Tom Flores won two Super Bowls and didn't get into the HoF until a few days ago.
I would pump the brakes on "Arians for Hall of Fame". Right now he'd be a long shot.
Of current coaches, I'd say Belichick is the lock of all locks, and Andy Reid clinched a spot with the SB win last year, which came at the end of a very long string of successes. After that, who is there? Pete Carroll? John Harbaugh? Mike Tomlin? I'm not seeing any of them as locks and they've all got stronger cases than Arians.
#138 by Bright Blue Shorts // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:45pm
They've opened the floodgates for average coaches with ringz by letting Flores in. Seifert should be next - his 49ers career was a lot more successful and without the final 1-15 year in Carolina, he'd have one of the best win-loss records ever.
I wonder if Marty will get in before the Alzheimers does for him. Sad.
#161 by DIVISION // Feb 09, 2021 - 2:41am
Andy Reid has compiled wins in Philadelphia but he was never good at clock management/timeouts and was basically seen as a middling HC. He is gifted a multi-talented QB and subs him in for game manager Alex Smith. For all of KC's success the past couple years, it really came down to Mahomes being able to make a couple great throws at the end of a game and Jimmy G's inability to make a rather pedestrian throw to close out a SB. I'm not taking anything away from Mahomes or the success they've had but I never overrated them like some did and I still believe that if the Niners had a capable QB, they would have won that SB.
Just my opinion.
As far as Arians goes, he was the one who was responsible for Pittsburgh's SB win over my Cards, not Tomlin. The offense and Big Ben took that game at the end. Tomlin has always been overrated despite a glossy W/L record. When you draft athletes who fit your system, you're bound to have success. Tomlin's teams have always lacked discipline and that's one of the main reasons Pittsburgh hasn't had a deep playoff run in years. How many players have left Pittsburgh due to disciplinary issues/legal issues? As we know, correlation doesn't equal causation so I can't directly lay this at Tomlin's feet, but it's pretty consistent that there are always issues with Pittsburgh's locker room. This past year, the whole Ju-Ju Tik-Tok thing really came back to bite them.
I posit that if Arians had been given a HC job years ago, he would be a shoe-in for the HOF. As I lament back to his years in Arizona, I just wish we had a better QB than Carson Palmer. He was the weak link for us in the playoffs during those years.
#36 by MRCHalifax // Feb 08, 2021 - 7:39am
In terms of results, he’s basically Tony Dungy with two Coach of the Year awards, albeit on a much shorter career. He’s also the first NFL head coach to hire women in coaching roles, and he hires a notable number of minorities. As a positional coach, he was Peyton Manning’s first QB coach. And then, FWIW, two more rings as an assistant coach. Obviously Belichick and Reid are in ahead of him, but IMO, he has a really, really good shot.
#45 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:33am
The "much shorter career" part is significant. John Madden had to wait decades, and absent the visibility from announcing, he may not have made it. With more championships, sure, but Jimmy Johnson had to wait 20 years, but the broadcasting gig helped him, too, and you just can't assume more championships.
#162 by DIVISION // Feb 09, 2021 - 2:44am
I never understood why Madden left coaching so young. He doesn't seem like the type of guy to get burned out based on his enthusiasm when he was announcing.
Jimmy Johnson did get burned out. I remember him talking about it. That last game he coach and Dan Marino played it was one of the worst games I can remember. Losing to your in-state rival, an expansion team on your own field is beyond reproach.
#165 by Vincent Verhei // Feb 09, 2021 - 3:32am
Madden developed a pathological fear of flying after a mid-flight panic attack in 1979. He was able to finish out that season, then retired and never stepped on an airplane again. You can get to games via train and bus and be a successful announcer, but coaches have to fly.
#58 by RickD // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:46am
I still think his resume was a bit thin. Only 139 wins and 1 SB title. Of course, Jimmy Johnson only has 80 wins, but he has two titles (in addition to his college coaching, but I don't know how much the NFL HoF cares about that.)
#180 by Will Allen // Feb 09, 2021 - 1:51pm
Meant to reply to this earlier, but among the 39 guys that have coached at least 200 NFL games, 4 have a better winning % than Dungy. Among the 61 that coached at least 150 games, 5 have a better win %. Among the 103 that have coached at least 100 games, 9 have had a better win%. Dungy spent 6 of his 13 years with a team which, for nearly all of its previous 2 decades of existence, had been a disaster.
Dungy was a great choice.
#65 by COtheLegend // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:56am
I think that's an interesting discussion, and I was thinking the same thing as I went to bed last night. Or, at a minimum, I was trying to wonder which team would you consider to be a stronger team: the 2002 Bucs, or the 2020 iteration.
If you were to look at the 2020 Bucs' roster on paper, then they are absolutely loaded. To me, the 2020 Bucs felt like a modern day NBA team, with guys like Gronk, Antonio Brown, and others wanting to join the party once Brady was signed. I think that Bill Cowher had it right last night when he said during the postgame show that they were the most complete team in the league. However, the team really didn't hit their stride until December, so we didn't really get to see this team play at their peak performance for an entire season. I almost feel as if we would need to see more games out of this team to get an accurate feel of where they stand historically.
#91 by Gladiator of t… // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:03am
I think the NBA team analogy is apt. Before the season began I could see things either going really well or really badly if the personalities didn't mesh.
The 2002 Bucs also seemed to hit another level in the postseason. In particular I remember that their offensive line seemed to step it up in a big way, and then they were routing opponents in the playoffs. This year's team didn't get those kinds of routs in the postseason, but their opponents seemed to be much tougher (just my impression; I don't know if the stats would bear that out). I think the coaching for the 2020 team is better. On the defensive side, I thought this was the first game where the 2020 defense played with as much intensity as the 2002 defense.
#107 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:54am
Last night was impressive but they were clearly dealing with a completely terrible offensive line, which obviously made it much, much easier. The 2002 team went up against the #1 offense, though, to be fair, Bill Callahan inexplicably didn't change the play calls Gruden had designed, so that made it easier. I did recently watch a 25 or so minute video with the highlights of the '02 Super Bowl, and I'd forgotten just how much the Bucs defense manhandled the Raiders. Sure, there were loads of turnovers and knowing the playcalls makes it clearly pretty damn easy, but the '02 Bucs defensive front just flung the Raiders around pretty effortlessly. That's one of the all-time great defenses, and, sure, the Super Bowl blowout slants it, but, in three games in the playoffs, offenses scored three TDs against that defense, and the defense scored four TDs itself. IIRC, Keyshawn Johnson led the team in the regular season with five TD catches, and, with the famous dagger pick-six, Derrick Brooks scored five TDs himself that year.
Last night was a dominant performance, but with that offensive line there was very much a "I will take that candy from you, baby, and you will like it" feel to it.
#135 by Bright Blue Shorts // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:42pm
The 02 Raiders "lost" their All-Pro center Barrett Robbins the night before the game. Think he stopped taking his meds for bipolar and went crazy. So they sent him home on the Saturday night. Center usually calls the line protection and of course, they lost a strong link, So maybe not entirely unlike the Chiefs situation.
As for not changing the playcalls, I never thought it was that strange. The only way the Raiders could meet the Bucs that year was in the Super Bowl - what were the odds on that? So while it would have been a good idea to do in training camp, I'd guess Callahan didn't see it as a priority.
It was the last year there was only one week between the Championships Games and SB, so having got there with #1 offense, they just didn't have time to install a whole new set of signals.
That said, I think throwing in a couple of reworked playcalls could have blown some defensive coverages open for the Raiders.
#146 by PirateFreedom // Feb 08, 2021 - 2:21pm
If the protection had been just a little better then Mahomes would have picked them apart. the rush made the coverage work but Mahomes was just barely contained. I was cheering for the Bucs but I wish that ball had been caught that hit the fask mask after Mahomes threw that amazing throw to the endzone while horizontal . That was some bullshit right there. an all time unforgettable play if caught.
#163 by DIVISION // Feb 09, 2021 - 2:59am
I don't know what game you watched, but I saw Mahomes running scared for 75% of the game.
If Jimmy G could throw a 20 yard vertical route, Mahomes is 0-2 in SB appearances and definitely not even considered for any GOAT conversations. He'd be seen the same as Watson, Jackson, Mayfield, Murray etc..
#175 by barf // Feb 09, 2021 - 11:06am
I agree with you that Watson is really, really good. The other guys you mentioned are not in the same category as Mahomes and Watson - they do things throwing the football weekly that no one has ever seen before. At this point, the others are just young QBs trying to get to that level. Jackson can't throw outside the numbers. Allen is close to being another elite guy, but needs to play better in big games. Mayfield and Murray are JAGs at the moment. Last year, the 49ers would have *still* had to stop the Chiefs if Jimmy G had completed that pass you mentioned. Do you think they would have stopped that offense at full strength in the 4th quarter last year? Because I don't. Mahomes had taken their best shots, and he had them figured out. I think he'd have done the same to the Bucs if consistently given *any* time in the pocket. Make no mistake - Tampa 100% won that game, they were the much better team. However, if the KC offensive line had not been decimated, it would have been *much* more competitive. TB probably still would have won, but it would have been a better game for sure.
#182 by bravehoptoad // Feb 09, 2021 - 1:53pm
Mahomes had taken their best shots, and he had them figured out.
Don't think that's what happened at all. The 49ers were without almost their entire second-string D-Line, and their first stringers just got tired. If they hadn't lost Blair, Jones, Street, Moore, et. al., they would have had a good shot at keeping up the 4-man pressure that's been shown to beat Mahomes.
#169 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 09, 2021 - 8:35am
"but I wish that ball had been caught that hit the fask mask after Mahomes threw that amazing throw to the endzone while horizontal"
Me, too! Just an amazing effort by Mahomes. Deserved a better result on that play.
#174 by SandyRiver // Feb 09, 2021 - 10:57am
Without slo-mo I couldn't tell whether the defender touched the ball at all, but his hands waving a few feet in front of the receiver added some difficulty. Maybe why the receiver didn't get HIS hands up in time?
#176 by Will Allen // Feb 09, 2021 - 11:18am
Was it an easy catch? No. Was it a catch that would have been considered especially remarkable, if it had been made? Also no. My impression is that there were a lot of passes like that thrown under extreme duress, and a slightly above average day by Chiefs receivers, in terms of catching the ball, results in a competitive 4th quarter.
I'll admit my biases. The only thing I hate more than a ball on the turf that was reasonably catchable is a tackler who was able to make good contact but didn't finish the job. Catch the effin' ball.
#8 by theslothook // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:34am
This game kind of proved why pass heavy, all offense teams are not always the SB winner. Credit Tampa Bays defense, but KCs offense did not have a good game and thus their margin of error vanished.
I guess I disagree with others, Mahomes to me was not good. Yes his line played poorly, but he exacerbated the situation by drifting in the pocket backwards and leaving himself in a situation where he had to launch prayer shots deep down the field. His down to down accuracy was also scattershot. Bur hey, I've seen Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and many many others play poorly in a playoff game. It happens.
Happy for Milkman. I'm sure this season was fun. Happy for BA. Happy for Lavonte David.
Brady wins another sb. Hurray for him. Trying not to be a hater real hard :)
A lesson for KC fans. And others. Don't question DVOA. Always see the bullet coming.
#12 by BJR // Feb 08, 2021 - 3:40am
I can’t agree with the Mahomes criticism. He was simply overwhelmed with pressure from the very first snap, whilst (seemingly) carrying an injury. Less mobile/able QBs could have been injured, or completely melted down. There were enough plays that Chiefs receivers could have made to at least keep the game interesting.
I might point in the direction of the play calling, which didn’t appear to adjust much to the lack of protection. But again, it’s fundamentally difficult to look good in such circumstances.
#20 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:25am
The reason Mahomes was drifting back is precisely because of the Bucs pressure.
It's not like he wanted to do that.
Less mobile QB's would have not even attempted that.
Under the circumstances, he played well. Overall, very poor stat line but consider the other factors.
#29 by RobotBoy // Feb 08, 2021 - 6:18am
My primary takeaway from this game was what a remarkable player Mahomes is. I've watched a lot of NFL but I don't know if I've ever seen a QB elude so much pressure while still scanning the field well enough to see openings and then, while off-balance, moving laterally, with defenders in his face, still be able to zip the ball into tight windows using arm strength alone. MVP Aaron Rodgers, maybe, or young Favre (although he wasn't as consistent)? KC was really a couple of dropped passes away from making it at least a semi-competitive game.
Despite the results, I do wish the NFL would do something to make winning less dependent on QB talent. Having a single player's performance automatically determine such a large proportion of the outcome detracts from the other aspects of the game. You'd have to do something like allow DBs to maul receivers again (KC certainly tried) and that's never going to happen.
#44 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:31am
I agree about Mahomes. Yesterday was the first time I really got the hype about him. There was no taking advantage of a great system, just a phenomenal physical talent giving his team a chance to win.
It wasn't enough, partially because of dropped passes, but mostly because the speed on the middle and back end of Tampa's D prevented the very fast KC receivers from getting open on Mahomes' scrambling.
I expected Tampa's DL to get pressure. The question for me was whether Tampa's team speed could prevent YAC on the quick-hitters and misdirections and limit damage on the scrambles. Turns out the answer was a very big 'yes'.
#54 by Snowbound // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:55am
Early in the game he was able to escape to his left when pressured and pick up first downs. I thought we were going to see a lot more of that, but it looked like the Bucs D adjusted to shut down that option.
#48 by Joey-Harringto… // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:36am
“You'd have to do something like allow DBs to maul receivers again (KC certainly tried) and that's never going to happen.”
Something between the dead ball era and post turn of the century would be a reasonable compromise. Passing offenses in the 1990s were still fun to watch, but the defense still had a chance to compete, and you only saw crazy video game numbers if your offense had multiple future hall of farmers (Warren Moon, 49ers, Greatest Show on Turf, etc).
#120 by ALauff // Feb 08, 2021 - 12:45pm
"Despite the results, I do wish the NFL would do something to make winning less dependent on QB talent."
In the context of this game, I don't know that this is really an NFL problem. The biggest SB takeaway, for me, is how dependent the Chiefs are on Mahomes doing superhuman things, and how tenuous that can be as a strategy. Especially as he gets older and the physical gifts recede. This loss may be a blessing in disguise, long term, as management can now focus on ensuring he's never put in such a position again. I'm really trying, and ultimately failing, to chalk this approach up to complacency. Then again, maybe I wouldn't tinker with things either, had I such a phenomenal talent at QB. The cliche about the NFL being a copycat league exists for a reason. Wouldn't be surprising to see a surge in demand for versatile LBs, in the White-David mold, to combat the new generation of ultra-gifted athletic QBs, and a concomitant focus on fielding balanced, complete teams over relying so much on one great player to raise the tide. Will likely be on the Chiefs and others to adjust.
#129 by rj1 // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:18pm
"Despite the results, I do wish the NFL would do something to make winning less dependent on QB talent."
In the context of this game, I don't know that this is really an NFL problem."
It'd have to be a change to the structure of the offense. For example, a dual QB setup (where QB #2 also functions as a RB, think a souped-up Antwaan Randle El) or they have to change into some kind of rugby-style offense where laterals past the line of scrimmage are more common.
#137 by ALauff // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:43pm
I'd be in favor of any tactic that lessens the likelihood of an injury to a great player. I was begging for the Chiefs to do anything to lessen that possibility re: Mahomes. The plan seemed to be to put everything on his shoulders; if any meaningful adjustments were made, besides a few token running plays in the second half, I missed it. I suspect the Chiefs understand the danger and will make the necessary adjustments. Andy Reid is, obviously, a far better coach than Bill O'Brien, but Mahomes' circumstances last night bore an unsettling similitude to those faced by Watson on a more typical basis. That's how it played to me, and it wasn't particularly enjoyable, aside from the rare spectacle of dominant defense.
#53 by Joey-Harringto… // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:45am
I’m really happy for Lavonte David, too. I really thought for a while he was doomed to being an excellent player at a non-glamour position, toiling away for a bad team, that everyone will forget about after his career ends.
#56 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:41am
FWIW, I thought Mahomes was @#$!! Superman last night, and you put a vaguely human QB back there and they take 15 sacks, throw five picks and go out on a stretcher in the third quarter. Mahomes did that Aaron Brooks "run backwards, turn around, and run the other way" thing multiple times . . . and he got the pass off every time. That insane plan where he got tripped and flung the ball 25+ yards downfield right before he hit the ground, sent it past several defenders, and bounced it off his receiver's face mask . . . how does that happen? That happened multiple times. Mahomes was insane, phenomenal, and the only thing that kept the game from being a 1980s-era NFC blowout.
And, yeah, I'm happy for Lavonte David, who had to endure constant losing while being so good, and it looked to me that every time Kelce caught a pass and got immediately tackled, David was there, and every time Kelce caught a pass and got some YAC, it was somebody else, because Lavonte gonna Lavonte. Mike Evans gets his ring, Ali Marpet get his ring, Cameron Brate gets his ring, and those guys have been around through a lot of crap, and good for them. I'd prefer if Antonio Brown had been eaten by a gator on the way to the stadium, but, well, there's always an element of cringing when you look at the roster of a team, and he's just a bigger cringe than usual. Between a lot of the long-running Bucs who finally got to win and Arians being a generally great guy with a very impressive progressive hiring history, go Bucs.
#66 by Scott P. // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:58am
FWIW, I thought Mahomes was @#$!! Superman last night, and you put a vaguely human QB back there and they take 15 sacks, throw five picks and go out on a stretcher in the third quarter
People are making it sound like it was Bears-Patriots out there in terms of talent disparity. The Chiefs are good! Very good! And even the best defense of all time only got 7 sacks in the Super Bowl.
#69 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:05am
It wasn't a Bears-Patriots talent disparity, but what it was was a very specific talent disparity; the Bucs defensive line vs. the Chiefs offensive line. That's what is being focused on, and, yes, that right there was a Bears-Patriots level gap in those particular trenches, and that's the specific example I thought of last night. Your thought experiment--put Tony Eason back there instead of Mahomes. What does that game look like? Seriously, the fact Mahomes was able to keep that many plays alive was pretty mind-boggling, and who else is capable of doing that?
#77 by RickD // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:33am
John Hannah was a better lineman than anybody else on the field that day. As he sees it, the Patriots made a big strategic mistake going into Super Bowl XX. They were a run-oriented team. Problem was that the '85 Bears had a historically good run defense.
So Raymond Berry looked at how the Dolphins beat the Bears. They did that by using Dan Marino and the short passing game. So the Pats abandoned their running attack and tried to turn into the '85 Dolphins on the fly.
It was a miserable failure. Among other reasons, Tony Eason wasn't Dan Marino. But instead of trying to put their best foot forward, they conceded the running game and went with an attack that they just didn't know how to do.
I'd have liked to see Hog Hannah and his teammates try to do what they did best. They probably would not have won anyway, but it was sad to see that be Hannah's last game.
(And, yes, after Hannah the talent level on that line dropped off considerably.)
I've seen far more dramatic mismatches than yesterday: basically every Super Bowl between 1985 and 1995 was a mismatch. The AFC teams were just not as big as the NFC teams. Denver and Buffalo were built on speed and they both got rolled by NFC champions.
#172 by Will Allen // Feb 09, 2021 - 9:51am
To pick at nits, the Bengals did have to drop an easy int in the 4th quarter, then give up a last possession, length of the field td drive, to lose to the Niners in the '88 season, and there was a pretty famous missed field goal on the last play of the '90 season. It's reason to be more circumspect in one's assessments, once it is considered how many reputations are altered by the thinnest of margins. Do people keep calling Sam Wyche "wicky-wacky" if his team beats Walsh The Genius' team in that game, and Wyche never goes to Tampa?
#166 by DIVISION // Feb 09, 2021 - 5:47am
It reminded me of a few games this year with Kyler Murray and the Cards when Murray would have to escape several defenders.
The difference is that Murray is a much better runner than Mahomes so he could pick up the yards.
Sometimes, though, when defenders are in your face within 2 seconds, you can't get away and that was the case with Mahomes. Not he didn't get sacked every time, but those plays were essentially meaningless because they netted no yards. Pretty incompletions are still incompletions.
Yes, the Chiefs dropped some very catchable passes, but they were also getting their asses kicked at the point of attack.
They weren't winning that game anyway. The rest is only window-dressing.
#11 by Dan // Feb 08, 2021 - 3:01am
Kansas City's offense couldn't get it done in crucial situations. They drove into scoring range (inside the TB 35) 6 times and came away with 9 points (FG, FG, FG, downs, downs, INT). Converted only 4/16 on 3rd & 4th down.
#13 by BJR // Feb 08, 2021 - 3:50am
So, the KC switch was flipped firmly back off. Just a single game and all that, but a salutary lesson nonetheless.
Frustrating that the refs chose this game to get ticky-tack with the defensive penalties for the first time these playoffs. KC was undoubtedly victimised by that. OTOH, the Chiefs Tackles could have been flagged for holding on any given play.
#17 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:16am
If the referees hadn't showed the Chiefs ots mercy, they might have been flagged for holding 25 times. It would have made the game unwatchable so I'm glad they did. As bad as it was, if the Chiefs receivers catch balls that were catchable, it's a competitive game in the 4th quarter.
#19 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:22am
If you watched the replay of the penalties, they were holds and DPI. One was for tripping.
I don't think the penalties would have changed the outcome of this game.
KC didn't even score a TD!
OTOH, the Chiefs O-Line were holding on many, many routine plays. They didn't get called for it most of the time.
They also got a ridiculous roughing the passer on Mahomes that was not a hit to the head or anything like that. I think at that point, the refs were feeling sorry for him.
#43 by Jay Z // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:27am
Problem was in the TB-GB game absolutely nothing was called, including an obvious hold on a TB INT. So much so that a late game penalty was complained about.
So you're KC and you watch that game and you play this game and ticky-tack penalties are called, but only against your team.
There were also DPI on TB where they arrived early and it was uncalled. Suh had a head to head on Mahomes uncalled.
I'm sure there was a ton of holding on KC on the offensive end. They still managed to call a ticky-tack one there.
#64 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:55am
One of the consistent things about the holding and PI calls; they were IIRC consistently involving Mike Evans, who draws I would guess an unusually high number of those because he's so freakishly big and strong. I thought the long PI on the left side before halftime was pretty clearly PI; it was a potentially uncatchable ball, but Evans catches a lot of normally uncatchable things. The second PI in the endzone, didn't look like PI in that case, but those calls happen sometimes, and he also drew a few holding calls that were pretty clearly holding. I don't think there was a lot of ticky-tack stuff here, and, yeah, the sad flailing of KC's offensive line was ignored by the refs.
Yeah, refs tend to proverbially swallow the whistle in playoff games and largely have this year, but those holds being called isn't shocking; giving Evans a big hug in front of a ref is, well, a bad idea. Also . . . perhaps KC should realize where the line of scrimmage is, and not, you know, line up offsides?
#81 by RickD // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:37am
Just too many injuries on the Chiefs' line for a Super Bowl facing an elite defense. When we saw Eric Fisher go down late in the AFCCG, I had a "uh oh" feeling. I thought right then that it was an injury that could kill their SB hopes.
It's a shame because what should have been a good game became dramatically one-sided. It wasn't so much that they couldn't "flip the switch" - this poor result was due to injuries more than a season of taking opponents lightly.
#170 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 09, 2021 - 8:40am
Yeah, I don't get people hand-waving away the poor officiating on the DPIs by saying "but they could have called holding on KC more often". It seemed to me the OL holding / not holding calls were officiated in a relatively consistent manner to how the game has been called this year. It was the calls on KC's DBs that were out-of-line with what has been considered a penalty, especially in the playoffs this year, but more generally over the course of the season.
#185 by greybeard // Feb 09, 2021 - 6:59pm
Except that is not what happened. KC Oline, as poor Olines do, held very often, much more often than it was panelized for, even based on the standards for playoffs.
In the 4th quarter pretty much there was holding every other snap. The refs let it go because of the score, not the playoff standard.
WRT DPIs, the 34 yard one is pretty obvious. DB fell and on the way down hugged Evans' legs. The questionable ones are the one for the interception (which looked holding to me) and the end zone one with Evans which I believe is called questionable because the ball was perceived as uncatchable. Well if he hadn't hold we did not have to speculate whether the ball is catchable or not. I am amazed every NFL game how there is one or two catches that look impossible to me.
#14 by MC2 // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:04am
A few random thoughts:
1. I thought Reid/Bieniemy did a poor job of adjusting to what Bowles was doing. Specifically, as soon as they realized the Bucs were playing 2 deep safeties on almost every play, they should have started running the ball, and continued to do so until they forced one of the safeties into the box. I have no idea why they didn't do this, especially since the few runs they did attempt were pretty successful (Edwards-Helaire, for example, had 64 yards on just 9 carries).
2. I don't have a big problem with Brady winning MVP, but I probably would have voted for Gronk. His numbers (6 rec, 67 yds, 2 TDs) weren't spectacular, but they were definitely solid, and it just seemed like every time they needed a big play, he was the guy who delivered it. It looked like he also had some good blocks late, when they were running out the clock.
3. This game should have been a great chance for FO to pat itself on the back, by correctly picking the upset. Instead, they chose to hedge with the "flip the switch" garbage, and squandered their moment in the sun. It reminds me a lot of the 2012 draft, when they decided to put the infamous "asterisk" next to the Russell Wilson projection. This is a website that was originally created to argue against the conventional wisdom, but ironically, they seem to have become afraid to really do that much anymore.
#18 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:19am
If you actually think Bieniemy is running the Chiefs offense, I've got overpriced land to sell you in Arizona.
Andy Reid didn't adjust and I think the Bucs D-Line had a lot to do with that. They would not be able to run consistently anyway with Vita plugging up the middle.
When you aren't winning the battle up front, you can't throw or pass the ball. It's very simple on that level.
The narrative was about Brady winning #7, so there's no way the Gronker was going to get that MVP.
#94 by mehllageman56 // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:14am
I agree that what Reid needed to do once the Buc's strategy was apparent was run the ball down their throat, especially since Mahommes is mobile (granted he was hurt, but with this strategy he'd probably would have been hit less). Historically that is how teams have attacked the Tampa 2.
I did not get to watch the entire game, but it seemed to me the wet field effected KC more than Tampa. It seemed to me that the Chiefs receivers couldn't deal with slipping in the wet grass.
#122 by takeleavebelieve // Feb 08, 2021 - 12:51pm
Re: #3, I think this is due to the fact that “football analytics” in general and DVOA in particular have gotten more mainstream attention ever since Barnwell made the jump to ESPN. It’s hard to buck conventional wisdom when you’ve become the conventional wisdom.
#199 by Chip // Feb 10, 2021 - 10:44pm
When I saw the phrase “flip the switch”, I thought immediately of the R.Wilson QBASE projection and Aaron dismissing the projection.
Just stick to the framework. It’s road tested and works. As soon as you move towards Consensus, you become the consensus.
PS: The projections have become more and more consensus each year. The projection’s mean absolute deviation isn’t nearly what it was a decade ago.
#16 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:15am
None of you, especially Aaron Schatz understood how big a role the Chiefs' O-Line injuries would play in this match-up.
I won $1800 tonight on prop bets because I knew the Bucs D-line would dominate. The O/U play was there and so was the winning point spread.
To think that KC was a 3 point favorite on the road was laughable.
Factoring in the the fact we knew the Chiefs O-Line was playing backups, the Bucs D-Line was dominant as well as the unknown factor of Andy Reid's Son's legal issues hanging over this team, there's just not a whole lot of justification for KC to be favored.
DVOA was vindicated, but sometimes I think you guys are so one-dimensional with your reliance on stats that you forget about the intangibles of the game, injury reports and general trends heading in to games.
I know some of you bet money, and I'm guessing you lost based on your chat transcript.
#167 by DIVISION // Feb 09, 2021 - 5:54am
This was my first time betting money on an NFL game.
It was purely on a whim, literally a day before.
Some of the prop bets were just too easy to take.
I also never thought the Chiefs were as good as people seemed to hype them up to be.
Things worked out.
Week to week, though, is much harder to bet on during the NFL season. So many variables and it's much easier to lose money.
#97 by Gladiator of t… // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:19am
"DVOA was vindicated, but sometimes I think you guys are so one-dimensional with your reliance on stats that you forget about the intangibles of the game, injury reports and general trends heading in to games."
But they ignored their own analytics and made up a magical, imaginary x-factor they dubbed "flipping the switch."
#168 by DIVISION // Feb 09, 2021 - 5:57am
DVOA said the Bucs should win.
Somehow, Schatz and co. were picking Mahomes to grind out a win via "flip the switch".
Sorry, but not every team is San Fran with a below replacement level QB.
If we get this same match-up in the SB next year, I'm taking the Bucs again.
#183 by bravehoptoad // Feb 09, 2021 - 2:20pm
Sorry, but not every team is San Fran with a below replacement level QB.
Hey! Nick Mullens had the second most yards of all time through 16 starts! He averages 250 yards per game!
...and if that's not a testament to Mike Shanahan's play calling, I don't know what is.
#23 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:31am
On the other side, just suberb pass blocking by the Bucs. If that is what Brady typically experiences, playing in that division, where weather is never a factor, he can almost certainly play until 45. I suspect that's the pitch Arians made; "You won't get hit, and you'll not have very many windy, cold, days to contend with."
#26 by DIVISION // Feb 08, 2021 - 4:41am
If he keeps himself healthy physically and avoids serious injury, he could play reasonably well until he's 50.
Peyton had some serious neck injuries that contributed to his decline.
Brady is probably the best conditioned 43 year old in sports right now.
#41 by big10freak // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:02am
is 55 years old as thoroughbred racehorse jockey. He picks and chooses his mounts but in horseracing is nicknamed, "Big Money Mike"
If someone is going to try and explain why being a jockey is not being an athlete check out Youtube for Mike's workout routine. If you still want to go there know that at least this reader will consider such a stance as one of complete ignorance and not be taken seriously.
#85 by RickD // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:43am
Chara has slowed noticeably the past two years, and that matters far more for a defenseman in hockey than it does for Brady.
BTW, it's been a rough year for Boston sports fans with legends at the end of their careers leaving the Patriots, Bruins and, wait, what the hell did the Red Sox do????
I'm gonna assume that Mookie's win in the WS and Brady's win in the SB mean that the Caps are a lock for the Stanley Cup.
#164 by RobotBoy // Feb 09, 2021 - 3:32am
Chara has been slow for a long time. Speed hasn't really ever been a big component of his game. What he can't do now that he could a few years ago is play big minutes on the top defensive pairing. But he can still contribute. I was bummed that he couldn't figure out things with the B's but they do have quite a few rising stars on D.
#31 by Raiderjoe // Feb 08, 2021 - 6:52am
Manfred Moore had personal w-l record of 4-10 in 1976. Ztarted eith Buccaneers, finished season in Super Bowl with Raiders. Thsi seapsn Steve McLendon started eith Jets and ginsihed eitj Buccaneers in Super Bowl
Had personal recors of 9-9.Moore and McLendon combined for 0-16 with their crap teams.
#35 by Peregrine // Feb 08, 2021 - 7:32am
In addition to all the other stuff, I'm sure most of us were stunned by Reid calling those two timeouts on Tampa's drive at end of the first half. I'd love to see any game-winning chance data for those timeouts. I can't imagine that KC calling timeouts there did anything other than increasing Tampa's chances of winning. Very possible that if KC doesn't stop the clock twice, the Bucs don't score at the end of the half, and the Chiefs - while playing terribly - would be down 14-6 and getting the second half kickoff.
#87 by RickD // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:45am
Reid was not basing his decision on the situation at hand. Many times, it makes sense to use those time outs so your great offense can get one more chance. But in that situation, all he did was make it that much easier for the greatest end-of-half QB in Super Bowl history to drive down the field and score.
You do not give Tom Brady extra time-outs when he's doing a two-minute drill. Or a 1:06 drill, as it was.
#111 by BigRichie // Feb 08, 2021 - 12:07pm
Dead wrong in one way, Peregrine. "I'm sure most of us were stunned". Of the FO staff, only Tom even made mention of it. So clearly not one other FO staffer thought it was stunning at all. My guess is the marked deck they use to sell their 'GoForIt!!GoForIt!!GoForIt!!' G-I-G-O stuff also somehow defends those timeouts.
Yeah those timeouts were beyond terrible, never mind what the FO guys thought. Gifted another score to the Bucs. KC had no business other than taking coming out for the 2nd half with the ball down by 8.
Ideal Andy Reid use of timeouts would be to call one after each of the halves' first three plays, and be done with them. You know he's not going to make productive use of them, at least that way he can't use them to hang himself.
#37 by big10freak // Feb 08, 2021 - 7:44am
Even if KC catches some contested balls TB would have been able to score. The gap between both line groups (O-line and D-line) was enormous. TB was far superior in both and its incredibly hard to compete in that scenario
The Tampa defense should have been named MVP. That unit dominated.
#51 by big10freak // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:42am
was Barrett. Along with playing both pass and run in superb fashion he is one of the VERY few pass rushers I have witnessed who delivers pressure when absolutely needed. When TB turned the ball over against GB it was Barrett who blew up the following series to force GB to punt. Same against KC early.
Barrett delivered critical pass rush all playoffs while never vacating his run stopping duties.
Just extraordinary work
#39 by big10freak // Feb 08, 2021 - 7:55am
in Packerland is hey could we go back and have these officials in the NFC Championship game?
Just having some fun so anyone who wants to go on a diatribe on how it would not have changed the outcome, blah, blah I get it. Again, just some mild attempt at humor.
#50 by rj1 // Feb 08, 2021 - 8:42am
I'd give my vote for MVP to one of the defensive line. Bucs offense executed when it needed to, but the Bucs defense won the game. Gronkowski I thought dominated that secondary but of course Brady was winning MVP.
The scramble map in the main discussion above is awesome. It's one thing I feel gets overstated about running QBs. Yes, you want a QB that can scramble, but you'd rather they didn't have to scramble and had real protection provided by the OL. (Russell Wilson looks down and nods.)
#60 by COtheLegend // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:51am
I'm with you in that the Tampa Bay defensive line is the MVP of the game. Both of Tampa's lines really pushed the Chiefs around, but Mahomes had three Bucs around him as soon as the play started all game.
Do you feel that we may look back at this one day as one of the greatest defensive performances in Super Bowl history?
#68 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:01am
I don't know if it will be remembered in '85 Bears legendary terms or anything because the team didn't really have a "signature" kind of year, but, considering how good the Chiefs' offense has been and the fact the Bucs only blitzed five times in the game and still got that pressure, it'll definitely be remembered, but, let's face it; how games are remembered is something that's largely driven by media coverage, and dominant defense aside, it's going to be remembered for OMG TOM BRADY.
Maybe the best defensive line performance in the SB I can ever remember, incredibly solid game by the LBs, secondary playing great, and all coming down to a defensive coordinator building a perfect game plane and everybody executing. Very much a team effort and should be remembered more, but TOM BRADY MVP is how this one is remembered. Not that it should be that way, but that's how it happens.
#73 by Pat // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:12am
Saying "solid game by the LBs" undersells it, considering the godawful job they had. I mean, you're typically asking them to ensure that Hill/Kelce don't have huuuge tracts of land to run through on crossing routes while still staying close enough to cover great pass catching RBs on dumpoffs. That requires a ton of discipline to know when and when not to drop, and I don't think they screwed up once. Plus you have to stay stupid-disciplined even when the play turns to Backyard Football and Mahomes is running six miles around the field.
The DL had a great game, but c'mon, they were up against an overmatched OL. The linebackers were up against the toughest opponent they could face and man, they were up for it.
#104 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 11:48am
Absolutely a correct point, and I don't want to undersell how well David and White played in just shutting down backs entirely and limiting Kelce to nothing more than dump-offs. Same way, the DBs were great into dropping into their zones and shutting down a great offense, but it's just that the d-line was constantly in the backfield and keeping Mahomes from doing his usual magic. With more time, those backs + Hill/Kelce are going to have time to find an open spot, but the defensive line was the star of the show. Coverage is a lot easier when the QB is just desperately trying to do anything at any given moment.
#131 by Pat // Feb 08, 2021 - 1:22pm
Yeah, but the DL's going up against a marginal OL. They were gonna have a good game. Big deal - if the linebackers aren't perfect, Mahomes just rolls away from coverage or chucks the ball while being dragged down to a wide-open dumpoff who still picks up yardage.
Mahomes is pretty much the QB least affected by pressure (that can be quantified: there are charts out there of EPA/dropback vs pressure rate, and Mahomes's is the flattest). Pressuring him isn't the key to success. It only seemed like it was key yesterday because David and White effing killed it. They literally had the hardest job on the defense.
There was a second quarter quick pass WR screen to Hill behind the line that White blew up for a loss which was flat out ridiculous. I mean, it's Tyreek Hill! Dude only needs a heartbeat to beat an open field tackle attempt like that, and White was there right away.
#171 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 09, 2021 - 8:46am
All good points.
What also helped is that the consistent pressure came without the need to blitz. So there was also an extra defender to prevent Mahomes from scrambling into a good play. And as was pointed out earlier, frequently the OL was getting beaten on both edges, forcing Mahomes to retreat straight back, which is the least effective route of escape.
#79 by COtheLegend // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:36am
Just to clarify on my previous comment and question, by a "great defensive performance", I meant greatest single-game Super Bowl defensive performance in a Super Bowl. Think along the lines of the 2001/Super Bowl 36 Patriots, or 2007/SB42 Giants.
#71 by Pat // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:06am
I think giving it all to the DL undersells the game David and White had. KC could've taken advantage of the rush if White hadn't covered every single damn outlet receiver perfectly.
I don't want to be implying "Mahomes's turf toe decided the game" (because I don't think it did) but I think very strongly that the Bucs linebackers were told "don't worry about Mahomes running, he's not going to be able to do that all game" and they just focused entirely on ensuring the dump off/screen/slant/wheel/sweep/etc. were not there.
That beings said, the Bucs still got flat gifted about ~7 points (borked punts + end of half wackiness again) and the Chiefs gave up 6 due to the game situation. Scoreboard said 31-9, but it felt more like a ~7-10 pt margin. I don't actually think the Chiefs played that poorly (outside of the OL) - the Bucs just played better.
#55 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 08, 2021 - 9:31am
I un-retired my Bucs fandom last night, threw on my beaten-up and faded Super Bowl XXXVII shirt and beloved old #55 jersey, and made myself a few cocktails. Random thoughts:
-Todd Bowles for MVP, and Byron Leftwich for sub-MVP; the Bucs' did a phenomenal job changing what they planned to do and executing their game plan, and the Chiefs didn't.
-One of the reasons Bowles gets MVP is because holy #$!!! was that one of the singly-most dominant defensive performances I recall seeing in the big game. On the postgame, they mentioned the Bucs blitzed a grand total of FIVE times all game, so that incessant pressure was just the front four. That was insane, and the main problem with the "Chiefs tackles were turnstiles" jokes is, without exaggeration, a turnstile would have slowed Shaq Barrett and JPP down more that Remmers did.
-I'm so incredibly glad my Tampa-residing parents got their second COVID shot on Saturday because have you seen the pictures of all the morons in Ybor last night celebrating? JFC, people.
#78 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:35am
The last time Mike Remmers played in a Super Bowl, the guy across from him won the MVP, and in between that game and this, Remmers has had qbs slaughtered in Minnesota and New York. He can't play against talented pass rushers. Credit to the Bucs, but this wasn't a great defensive front dominating a talented o-line, like the 2002 Bucs did. Then again that Raiders team had their All Pro center go on a psychotic Tijuana bender the day before the game, so maybe there were some similarities.
#159 by Will Allen // Feb 08, 2021 - 10:05pm
Well, he's down to earning basically the veteran's minimum now, so he may be done. I think there's a chance the pandemic extended his career. My impression is that there were fewer opportunities for young guys to impress coaches this past year.
#200 by BJR // Feb 11, 2021 - 7:00am
Not that PFF should be taken as gospel, but they graded Remmers around average this year. And he's been in the league long enough to suggest he isn't a constant liability. I figure he's just a solid enough depth guy in a good situation if given help, but is going to get badly exposed against tougher assignments. Sadly for him he has been asked to carry out those assignments in 2 Super Bowls.