TAMPA- If losing last week was a gut check for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this past Sunday’s contest against the Kansas City Chiefs was more like a gut punch.
A look into football’s past was up against football’s future on full display and Patrick Mahomes edged out the old wizard Tom Brady in a 27-24 decision Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay is now 1-3 in its last four games, with all three losses coming up against Super Bowl contenders vs. the Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, and division rival New Orleans Saints.
There was no shortage of passing yardage in this game, as Mahomes and Brady combined to pile up 807 yards. It would be the former that had himself the better day, however, as Mahomes racked up 462 yards passing and completed 37-of-49 passes plus three touchdowns. Probably the most key statistic of the afternoon was the turnover battle, in which Kansas City committed only one on a Mahomes’ fumble.
Outside of that one error, Mahomes was perfect and his favorite target was none other than speedster Tyreek Hill. Tampa Bay cornerback Carlton David drew the unlucky assignment of trying to cover Hill one-on-one and didn’t have much luck at all slowing the ‘Cheetah’ down. Hill caught 13 passes for 261 yards and he had all three of Mahomes’ touchdown passes.
Though Tampa Bay limited Kansas City’s run game to 87 yards on 20 carries, the Chiefs certainly didn’t need the ground attack to work whatsoever. Much more so to just keep the Buccaneers’ defense somewhat honest in the front seven. With Tampa Bay falling behind 17-0 early on, the Buccaneers played catch up the entire game and they needed Brady to play a nearly errorless four quarters.
That was something he wasn’t able to do, as Brady threw two more interceptions, pushing his season total to 11. The most interceptions Brady has ever thrown in a season is 14. Tampa Bay (7-5) did stage a furious comeback in the second half, as improbable it looked in the beginning. On a 4th and 3 in the fourth quarter, Brady connected with Mike Evans on a 31-yard touchdown pass to narrow the deficit to 27-17.
After getting Kansas City to punt the ball away on its next possession, Tampa Bay went 54 yards on 11 plays a 7-yard Brady to Evans touchdown. Cutting the gap to 27-24 was just too little, too late for the Buccaneers as Mahomes and company were able to notch key first downs to run the clock out. Brady finished with 345 yards passing, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Tampa Bay is the No. 6 seed in the NFC Wild-Card picture and now have a bye week before facing the Minnesota Vikings at home. The Vikings face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home before traveling to Tampa, in what will be a pivotal game when it comes to the Wild-Card picture. If the Vikings defeat the Jaguars, they will improve to 6-6 and could own a tie-breaker if they defeat the Buccaneers in two weeks.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.