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What went wrong in Andy Reid’s attempt for a 2nd straight Super Bowl title

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Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid hangs his head during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

Mark Humphrey, Associated Press

Andy Reid’s third attempt at earning a Super Bowl ring as a head coach did not go according to plan, and the coach put the blame on himself.

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” Reid, the former BYU lineman and grad assistant, said after his Kansas City Chiefs lost 31-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV on Sunday night. 

“I thought we were going to come in and play these guys just like we’ve been playing teams, and it didn’t happen that way. I give them credit on that.”

Whether it was offense or defense, the Chiefs simply were overmatched by the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, as Kansas City failed to repeat as champions while Tom Brady earned his seventh Super Bowl title, and first with the Buccaneers.

The 43-year-old Brady earned Super Bowl MVP honors and threw for 201 yards and three first-half touchdowns, the last of which was a backbreaker, as the Buccaneers drove 71 yards in 55 seconds to go up 21-6 just six seconds until halftime on a 1-yard Antonio Brown touchdown catch.

“I thought we were going to come in and play these guys just like we’ve been playing teams, and it didn’t happen that way. I give them credit on that.” — Andy Reid

Patrick Mahomes, the MVP in last year’s Super Bowl, was not as effective, thanks in good part to a suffocating defensive effort captained by Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Mahomes threw for 270 yards on 26 of 49 passing, but he also tossed two interceptions, including one in the end zone, and Kansas City turned six possessions that reached Tampa Bay territory into just nine points.  

“I didn’t play the way I wanted to play, but all you can do is leave it out on the field,” Mahomes said. “They beat us pretty good.”

Penalties hindered the Chiefs much of the night, particularly on defense. Kansas City finished the game with 11 penalties for 120 yards, many of those coming in critical situations. On the Buccaneers’ touchdown drive just before halftime, for example, the Chiefs were called for defensive pass interference twice, helping Tampa Bay move the ball quickly downfield.

“Sometimes the calls don’t go your way. We talked about out there that we just had to keep battling,” said Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen, a seven-year pro out of BYU who refused to make excuses for the penalty issues. “... You can’t put any onus on what you can’t control.”

An off-the-field issue that hung over the Chiefs headed into the Super Bowl involved Reid’s son, Britt, the team’s outside linebackers coach that was involved in a three-car accident Thursday night. The accident injured two children and left a 5-year-old in critical condition, and TV station KSHB reported Reid told an officer on the scene he had “two or three drinks.”

Andy Reid addressed the situation after the game — “just from a human standpoint, my heart bleeds for everybody involved in that” — but said it wasn’t a distraction as far as the game plan goes. “From a human standpoint, it’s a tough one,” he said. “From a football standpoint, I don’t think that was the problem.”

Once Brady and the Buccaneers offense got going, the game was essentially decided. Though Tampa Bay totaled just 13 yards on its first two drives, the Bucs scored on five of their next six possessions, including four touchdowns. By that point, it was 31-9 late in the third quarter and the game was all but wrapped up.

“You can’t do the things we did and beat a good football team,” Reid said.

While Tampa Bay found its offensive efficiency at a critical juncture, that never materialized for a usually high-scoring Kansas City team. The Chiefs went 3 of 13 on third downs and struggled to establish drives.

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes under pressure from Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

Ashley Landis, Associated Press

Among the issues that plagued the Chiefs offense were offensive line play, a middling running game, particularly early in the game, and dropped passes. The Chiefs also gave up three sacks, as Bowles’ defense kept Mahomes under constant pressure.

“I could have done a better job of putting my guys in position,” Reid said. “I’m not going to lay it on the offensive line. When we lose, we all lose together in this.”

The loss cost the Chiefs the chance to become the NFL’s first back-to-back winners since the mid-2000s, when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2004 and 2005.

“It’s tough. That’s a tough thing to even get back to this game,” Reid said. “That just shows you the heart of these guys … to have the opportunity to do this.”