Todd Bowles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense devised and executed a wildly effective scheme to contain Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV. Mahomes was held without a touchdown pass or the first time in 31 starts and his final passer rating of 52.3 was the worst of his career in any single contest. The Buccaneers won the game and their second NFL title, 31-9, and became just the third team to hold its opponent without a touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday.
Mahomes had thrown three touchdown passes and no interceptions as the Chiefs rolled up 543 yards of offense in a 27-24 win over the Buccaneers in Tampa in Week 12. The main changes to the Bucs' approach in the Super Bowl came on the back end in terms of coverage schemes. Up front, Bowles and his players went with the same philosophy they had when they met Mahomes the first time: hold off on sending extra pass-rushers because the Chiefs' star quarterback has historically dominated against the blitz.
In fact, the Buccaneers took this philosophy to the extreme in the Super Bowl. While Bowles did dial up some creative rushes with corners or safeties coming at Mahomes, they weren't necessarily blitzes as some front-line defenders would drop into coverage. Here we're defining a blitz as a drop-back on which five or more defenders come after the quarterback. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Buccaneers only brought extra rushers at Mahomes on five of his 52 dropbacks, or 9.6%.
View photos from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl LV championship parade from February 10, 2021.