By Lenn Robbins
The Kansas City Chiefs know all about Tom Brady’s excellence and Bruce Arians’ “No Risk No Biscuits” offense. They know the running back duo of Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette can churn a defense into cottage cheese. They know how tough Tampa Bay’s vaunted defense, led by the personal injury law firm of White and David, can be.
They know it, because they experienced it firsthand.
They bore witness to Brady’s greatness on November 29th when the G.O.A.T. threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-41 yards passing, and they had a firsthand view of Jones II catching a 37-yard touchdown pass and Mighty Mike Evans hauling in 31-yard score.
They were lucky that Jones II and Fournette, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry, didn’t get more carries. And the Chiefs were battered by the Bucs defense, led by linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David, who combined for 20 tackles.
The Chiefs know exactly how good the NFC champion Buccaneers are. They lived the whole shebang – including the canon-firing pirate ship. And the Chiefs still came away with a 27-24 win.
The pirate ship will be silenced Sunday in Super LV per NFL rules and so will the Tampa Bay fans if the Chiefs duplicate the game they played earlier this season. Led by their resident magician known as quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs overcame the Bucs by doing what they’ve been doing the last two seasons.
Kansas City simply pulled the pin on its explosive offense of a grenade and by the time the dust cleared the Bucs were in too deep of hole even for Brady, Mr. 28-3 Comeback, to overcome.
“Very, very few guys that I’ve seen in this league or any league that can backpedal eight, nine, 10, 11 yards in the pocket and throw a dime 25 yards down the field,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Mahomes after that game. “And he can read the defense as he does it. That makes him more explosive.”
The Chiefs face the daunting task of beating a good team twice. But motivation comes from strange places.
The Chiefs were left reeling yesterday when Reid’s son, Britt, the team’s outside linebackers coach, was involved in a multi-car accident in Kansas City that left a five-year-old child with life-threatening injuries.
Britt Reid was not injured but according to a crash report obtained by Fox4 in Kansas City, officers smelled alcohol on Reid’s breath and observed his eyes were red. This certainly could be a distraction but the Chiefs already have handled the burden of defending champs well. He will not coach in the Super Bowl according to NFL.com
The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs are not a perfect team, not by first down. The offensive line is being held together by duct tape and Gorilla glue. They don’t have a 1,000-yard rusher. The defense recorded a meager 32 sacks and allowed 4.5 yards per carry.
What the Chiefs have is a coach in Any Reid who is banned from getting extra napkins at restaurants because he scribbles plays on too many. And Reid has so many mismatches at his disposal that it’s a wonder he doesn’t wake himself in the middle of the night giggling.
Such was the case in the Chiefs 27-24 win over the Bucs. By the time Tom Brady and Co. got into a rhythm Kansas City was up 17-0 and the team’s P.R. department was editing the season ticket holders highlight tape.
Mahomes found wide receiver Tyreek Hill, aka The Cheetah, on touchdown throws of 75 and 44 yards. Hill, working primarily against Tampa Bay corner Carlton Davis, had a Lotto game, finishing with 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
“I play defensive back in the NFL, so you’re going to have your share of losses,” Davis said earlier this week. “It doesn’t change who I am or what I do or how I approach the game. I’m going to continue to be a dog and go out there and give it my all.”
No dog can keep up with The Cheetah, just as no single defender can neutralize Kelce, who led NFL tight ends with 1,416 yards receiving and was tied for first with 11 touchdowns.
“He reminds me a lot of Tony Gonzalez back when he was unbelievable just trying to stop him,” Arians said. “He’s got wide receiver skills and he runs like a wide receiver.”
It’s the Chiefs speed that sets them apart, the reason they can look vulnerable and still win in a blur. Hill ran a 4.26 at the NFL Combine. Committing too many defenders to negate Hill’s speed is problematic. Mecole Hardman was clocked at 21.74 mph on one touchdown catch and run this season. Sammy Watkins hit 21.33.
Hill was once clocked a 23.34 on a kickoff return, just another way the Chiefs can beat you quick. They did it once to the Bucs and they can do it again. They have the weapons to do it – canons be damned.