The Tampa Bay Bucs shocked the world in Super Bowl LV. Not just by upsetting the favored Kansas City Chiefs and handing them just their third loss of the season, but also forcing Patrick Mahomes into the worst loss of his professional career. Despite besting the Bucs in the regular season, the Chiefs played right into Tampa Bay’s hands on Super Bowl Sunday, according to inside linebacker Devin White.
White talked about the defense’s performance on FS1’s show Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless.
“We knew that they were going to be a cocky team, which they have every right to be,” White said. “They were the No. 1 offense in the entire National Football League. But the thing is, we knew they couldn’t block us. We knew that our front four was going to dominate them so they did us a favor, they played right into our hands. We weren’t going to be that cocky team like, ‘Hey, we’re going to play them in Cover 1, we’re going to shut them down, our best guys against their best guys.’ We were going to make it be a team collective win on defense and that’s what we did. So at the end of the day, they shouldn’t even talk about not having their offensive tackles when they didn’t even help them. They put them on islands by themselves against the best pass-rushers in the game so that’s their own fault.”
Another thing that played right into Tampa Bay’s hands was the Chiefs’ offensive balance. Head coach Bruce Arians has harped on the Bucs’ defense making teams one-dimensional and pass-heavy during games, allowing their pass-rushers to “pin their ears back” and attack the quarterback by getting a lead and taking away the run game. But Kansas City appeared to abandon the run game of their own accord, allowing rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams to combine for just 11 carries, despite gaining 69 yards in that limited work.
“I ended up talking to my buddy Clyde after the game, he played for Kansas City, and I said ‘bro, I don’t understand. We were so light in the box’,” White said. “And I think that us being the No. 1 rush defense and stoning everybody, that kind of took him away before the game even started.”
And a lot has already been said about what quarterback Patrick Mahomes did in the Super Bowl, despite an injured offensive line, and the 10-catch, 133-yard performance from Travis Kelce. But White says that a lot of the Chiefs’ yards – finishing the game with 350 total yards after amassing just 124 in the first half – came after Tampa Bay had called off the dogs, so to speak.
“People don’t even realize what we did as far as holding those guys to nine points, not letting them in the end zone,” White said. “But they started gaining yards when we were already up 21 points. We had already gave our little brothers the controllers, said ‘y’all can go finish them off’, and they started giving up little B.S. yards, little yards at the end. So I know everybody is praising, ‘Oh, Travis Kelce had 133,’ but a lot of that came at the end of the game when it was already over. We were sitting back in zone playing soft.
“Same as Tyreek Hill. It was third-and-20-something and Coach [Todd] Bowles told us to sit back 15 yards at the sticks and he caught it and ran. That gave him a lot of yards to make it look like he had a decent day but at the end of the day, we know what went on. There was a lot of toe-tagging out there.”