The Buccaneers won the toss and elected to defer, putting their defense on the field to face quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense first. The Chiefs made their way down the field thanks in large part to a couple big plays by wide receiver Tyreek Hill and back-to-back penalties on the Bucs' defense. They got as far as the one-yard line, with the offense pulling some trickery on a double-reverse that ended with tight end Travis Kelce throwing to Mahomes in the end zone. Cornerback Carlton Davis wasn't fooled, breaking up the pass. The Chiefs tried again but were denied and ultimately settled for a field goal, giving them an early 3-0 lead to start the game.
The Bucs' offense took the field, running Ronald Jones for a five-yard gain on their first offensive play of the day, followed by a completion to wide receiver Mike Evans that got them a first down. The drive stalled after that and Tampa Bay ended up punting with just over 10 minutes on the clock in the first quarter.
The Chiefs would end up punting the ball right back after a big stop by the Bucs' defense on third-and-one. And the Bucs would trade one back.
Kansas City's next drive would be a short one, this time because Mahomes needed just one play to connect with Hill deep for a 75-yard touchdown play that gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
The next series would result in another punt for the Bucs as they gave it right back to the Chiefs' offense after just over a minute.
The Bucs had the Chiefs in a third-and-three situation around midfield when Kansas City was hit with a false start penalty. It made it third and eight, which Mahomes converted into a long completion to Hill who scored again, this time shaking his man and back flipping into the end zone. It extended the Kansas City lead to 17-0 with 1:32 to go in the first quarter.
Tampa Bay wouldn't be able to do anything on the next drive either, surrendering the ball back to Kansas City as the quarter expired.
The Chiefs got into another goal-to-go situation but were stopped short when outside linebacker Shaq Barrett sacked Mahomes and forced him to fumble the ball in the process. The ball was recovered by defensive lineman Will Gholston and returned to the Bcs' own 14-yard line.
This time, the Buccaneers would capitalize, driving down the field thanks in part to a good run by running back Ronald Jones and a good grab by tight end Rob Gronkowski that got the Bucs29 yards. The next play was a screen to Jones which he took into the end zone after tiptoeing down the sideline for 37 yards. It put the Bucs on the board, 17-7, with just over four and a half minutes left in the half.
Kansas City was again able to span the field but wouldn't convert a red zone opportunity into a touchdown. After the Bucs' defense managed to force Mahomes to throw it away on three straight plays, the Chiefs had to settle for the short field goal, going up 20-7 right before halftime.
The Bucs were able to drive down the field behind back-to-back big plays by Gronkowski and ended up at the Kansas City five-yard line to open the half. They'd stall there but cut the Kansas City lead by a field goal, 20-10, with 11:04 left in the third quarter.
Unfortunately, Kansas City answered with a score of their own – this one a touchdown, extending their lead to 27-10 with 7:00 on the clock in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers got backed up to third and 15 on their next drive but Brady launched it downfield for wide receiver Chris Godwin, who made the 44-yard reception. The next play though would give the ball right back to Kansas City as Brady was intercepted by cornerback Bashaud Breeland on a pass intended for wide receiver Scotty Miller.
The Chiefs took over at their own 11-yard line but the Bucs' defense stood up, forcing a three-and-out and the Kansas City punt from deep in their own territory.
Tampa Bay got things rolling with Jones on the ground. He hit a hole up the middle and burst through, gaining 34 yards to get the Bucs just outside the red zone. The next play would end the drive for the Bucs after Brady's pass bounced off the helmet of a Chiefs' defensive lineman and into the hands of safety Tyrann Mathieu. He returned it to the Kansas City 35 and the Bucs' defense trotted back onto the field.
They'd hold up again, forcing the three-and-out by Kansas City and getting the ball back to the Bucs' offense at the start of the fourth quarter. The third time would prove to be the charm as the Bucs got a hard-fought 75 yards on eight plays that ended with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Evans on fourth down and three. It brought the Bucs within 10, 27-17, with 12:44 to go in the game.
The next Chiefs punt would not come easy after a tumultuous series. On third down at midfield, the Bucs got pressure on Mahomes who threw it up errantly and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting capitalized, picking Mahomes off. It would be negated by a roughing the passer penalty on Jason Pierre-Paul, though, who in going for the ball as it was leaving Mahomes' hand, ended up making contact with Mahomes' helmet. Kansas City escaped that call but was hit with multiple holding penalties in the ensuing snaps, eventually backing them up to as far as second and 30. They would not convert and would punt the ball back to the Bucs' offense with 6:21 on the clock.
They'd go straight down the field, helped by not one, but two, roughing the passer calls that went their way. The drive ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass to Evans yet again for his second of the game and 11th of the season in just 2:11. It made the score 27-24 with 4:10 left.
The Chiefs got a couple first downs and were able to take the clock down to the two-minute warning while also getting the Bucs' to burn through all their timeouts. They'd get a first down and then kneel from there, leaving the score 27-24 as time expired.