The highly anticipated battle of the ages between Tom Brady, 43, and Patrick Mahomes, 25, didn’t exactly materialize in the first half of Super Bowl LV.
That’s because the astute defense of Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles kept Mahomes and the Chiefs’ mighty offense locked in while Brady lashed out against the Chiefs.
Brady, playing for his record-breaking 7th Super Bowl ring, met former sidekick Rob Gronkowski for two touchdowns. It was the most touchdowns in the Super Bowl by a quarterback-receiver combo, and Gronk’s 14 touchdowns put him past Jerry Rice on the touchdown list. The feat was made all the more remarkable by the fact that Gronkowski took off all last season, attending the Super Bowl as a spectator.
Tampa Bay nearly scored a third touchdown in the first half as running back Ronald Jones was stopped in fourth just before the goal line.
Meanwhile, Kansas City didn’t look like Kansas City, according to CBS announcer Jim Nantz. Mahomes had most of the distance run for the Chiefs, as he rushed under a fierce run from the Tampa Bay defensive line. That and a few bad penalties, including one just before half-time that led to a killer touchdown, kept the Chiefs down.
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Kansas City’s frustrations were highlighted on a third down game with just over a minute to go in the half. Mahomes knocked down the Chiefs near Tampa Bay 20, but was forced to come back to his own 35 under high pressure from the Bucs.
Just before halftime, a bad penalty put Tampa Bay on the 1-yard line, and Brady hit Antonio Brown with a short touchdown pass to ram a dagger into the Chiefs.
Halftime ended with a 21-6 lead at Tampa Bay, but the game didn’t look so close for those supporting Kansas City. Still, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who grew up in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, is known as an offensive genius and will likely come up with key adjustments. They are, after all, a team that once overcame a 24-point deficit in a playoff game against the Houston Texans.