The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a 21-6 lead into halftime in Super Bowl LV on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium on the strength of two touchdown passes from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski. The Buccaneers extended their edge just before halftime when a pair of pass-interference calls set up Brady's one-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brady completed 16 of 20 passes in the half for 140 yards and those three scores as the Buccaneers out-gained the Chiefs before the intermission, 194-124. The Buccaneers are seeking their second NFL Championship and their first in 18 years while Brady is looking for his seventh Super Bowl ring and his first as a Buccaneer. Tampa Bay is also trying to be the first team ever to win a Super Bowl in its own home stadium.
Kansas City used most of the last six minutes of the half to mount a 61-yard field goal drive to close the gap after Tampa Bay's defense had bottled up Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' high-powered offense for most of the first two quarters. Mahomes finished the half with 67 yards on nine of 19 passes, though he also ran for 34 yards as the Bucs' defense consistently provided tight coverage downfield.
After the Bucs held in the red zone to keep that drive to three points, the Chiefs used their three timeouts to try to get the ball back one more time before halftime, but the strategy backfired. The Bucs got a first down and then took a deep shot, drawing a 34-yard pass interference call on CB Bashaud Breeland, who was covering Mike Evans on a go down the left sideline. Another pass interference penalty on S Tyrann Mathieu made it first-and-goal at the one with 10 seconds to play and Brady, with no timeouts, zipped a quick pass into Brown's stomach for seven points.
View photos of Super Bowl LV vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Buccaneers missed a prime scoring opportunity in the second quarter after Evans' 31-yard reception made it first-and-goal at the six. However, Kansas City mounted a goal-line stand, stopping Ronald Jones just short on runs behind 350-pound lead blocker on third and fourth down. Tampa Bay's defense then forced a quick punt, which rookie Tommy Townsend shanked, setting up a 37-yard drive ending in Brady's 17-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski. The Bucs originally settled for a 40-yard Ryan Succop field goal but an offsides penalty on the kick kept the drive alive and the Bucs ended up with seven points instead of three.
Both offenses, among the most productive in the NFL during the regular season, had difficulty sustaining drives, with the Chiefs converting on one of six third-down tries and Tampa Bay only succeeded on two of six attempts. However, there was a big difference in penalties, as the Chiefs were flagged eight times for 95 yards in the first half, compared to one for five yards by Tampa Bay.