Buccaneers want to avoid another slow start vs. Chiefs

In the nine Super Bowls Tom Brady has played in, his teams have been outscored 24-3 in the first quarter. It’s a curious statistic considering Brady and the Patriots won six of those nine games.

It’s unlikely Brady and his new team, the Buccaneers, will be able to survive a bad start against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium — the same place where Tampa Bay lost to Kansas City, 27-24, on Nov. 29.

In that loss, which dropped the Buccaneers to 7-5 and left them at a crossroads to their season, the Chiefs took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and essentially cruised to victory with the Buccaneers tightening the final score with fourth-quarter touchdowns. Kansas City scored on three of its first four possessions before the Tampa Bay offense crossed midfield.

Another 17-0 deficit Sunday in the Super Bowl, with the offensive firepower the Chiefs possess, likely will spell doom for Brady and the Bucs.

“You’d obviously love to get off to a fast start,’’ Brady said. “It’s hard to explain why or why not that has happened [in past Super Bowls]. The execution has to be at your best.’’

Tyreek Hill is all smiles after scoring a touchdown in the first half of the Chiefs win over the Buccaneers on Nov. 29.
Tyreek Hill is all smiles after scoring a touchdown in the first half of the Chiefs win over the Buccaneers on Nov. 29.

The Bucs’ defensive execution was not nearly at its best in that meeting, with Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill abusing the secondary with 13 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 37-of-49 for 462 yards and three TDs. Brady finished 27-of-41 for 345 yards, three TDs and two interceptions.

Sunday will mark the 14th time in Super Bowl history that the two teams will be meeting for the second time in that season. The winner of the first meeting is 6-7 in those Super Bowls.

Both teams are somewhat different than they were in that first meeting.

The Chiefs are without left tackle Eric Fisher, who tore an Achilles tendon in the AFC Championship. The Bucs will have 350-pound defensive tackle Vita Vea back for the second straight game after he missed most of the season because of a broken right ankle. And they have cornerback Jamel Dean back from injury.

“They’re definitely a different team from when we played them a couple of weeks ago,” Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones said. “They’ve been playing well, especially later in the season.’’

The Buccaneers, who are 7-0 since that loss to the Chiefs, believe familiarity from that matchup will help them Sunday.

“You learn from mistakes and you learn from really good things, and there were some really good things in that game,” Arians said. “So, we’ve got a lot of stuff to build on.”

Arians did indicate that he might “help a little bit more than we did in that ballgame’’ the Tampa Bay corners, who were let in single coverage too often on Hill.

“I got tired of running,” Hill joked with reporters this week.

“It didn’t work out the first game as far as what we did and our game plan, but we’ve corrected it and we’ve got a great game plan going in,’’ Davis said. “But I’m going in with the same mentality and that’s to dominate.”

One difference in the Buccaneers’ secondary is they’ll have Dean, who didn’t play in Week 12 due to injury. Bucs coaches believe he has the speed to match up with Hill in coverage.

May the best men, and team, win.

New York Post

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