The Kansas City Chiefs jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter en route to what ended up being a close 27-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
In a battle of two of the greatest quarterbacks, one early in his career with the other approaching the finish line, Patrick Mahomes just outperformed Tom Brady throwing for over 460 yards and three touchdowns. While Brady also tossed three touchdowns, including a 37-yard score to running back Ronald Jones, the veteran quarterback was picked off twice.
Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill caused problems all night long for Bucs' cornerback Carlton Davis finishing with 13 receptions on 15 targets totaling 269 yards and catching all three of Mahomes' touchdown passes.
After the Bucs were able to make it a 10 point game early in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay thought they caught a break as Mahomes made a rare mistake throwing an interception to Bucs' cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. The interception with 8:08 left in the game was brought back as linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul was called for roughing the passer as he hit Mahomes in the face.
Still, thanks to multiple holding penalties by the Chiefs that put them in long-yardage situations including 2nd and 30, the Bucs' defense forced a punt with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter giving Brady another opportunity to score.
Brady led his team down the field picking up multiple first downs. Twice the Chiefs were called for roughing the passer after the throw setting up Tampa Bay at the Kansas City seven-yard line. Brady then found receiver Mike Evans for his second touchdown of the game, this time a seven-yard catch. With 4:10 left in the game, Tampa Bay only trailed by three, 27-24.
Despite a late-push from the Bucs, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter, Kansas City was able to convert three first downs on the final drive of the game running out the clock while securing the win.
Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski led the Bucs with 106 receiving yards, averaging 17.7 yards in his six catches. It was Gronkowski's first 100-yard receiving game as a Buc and first since 2018.
Tampa Bay's longest play of the game came on their first drive of the second half on a play-action pass from Brady to Gronk. The tight end was wide open and broke free for a 48-yard pass. Despite the long pass, the Bucs were unable to score a touchdown. Still, Ryan Succop's 26-yard field goal made it a 10-point game, 20-10, with 11:08 left in the third quarter.
Following a successful defensive second quarter, Tampa Bay had trouble slowing down Mahomes in his first drive of the third quarter. The Chiefs went 75 yards in just over four minutes as Hill caught his third touchdown of the game off a 20-yard pass from Mahomes.
What seemed like a second positive offensive drive of the third quarter after Brady found Chris Godwin deep for 46-yards, quickly went south. A play after the Bucs converted on 3rd and 15 thanks to Godwin's diving catch, Brady threw the direction of Scotty Miller. Instead, Chiefs' cornerback Bashaud Breeland came up with an interception.
Kansas City was unable to take advantage of the turnover as the Chiefs punted. But again, another big play on offense for the Bucs quickly turned into a poor drive. One play after running back Ronald Jones received good blocking and picked up 37-yards, Brady threw his second interception of the third quarter. Kansas City brought pressure forcing Brady to get rid of the ball, which was deflected up. Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu came up with the turnover.
Similar to Brady's first interception, Kansas City couldn't do anything on offense after the takeaway. Following a Chiefs' punt, Brady got the offense back on track completing five of seven passes on a drive that was capped off by a 31-yard touchdown catch from Evans. The touchdown is Evans' 10th of the season. With 12:44 left in the fourth quarter, Kansas City led 27-17.
On the opening drive of the game, the Bucs’ defense came up with a huge stop holding Kansas City to a field goal. Hill caught two passes for 57 yards on the first drive and the Chiefs made it down to the one-yard line after a pass from Mahomes to Watkins. Tampa Bay wasn’t tricked when the Chiefs ran a rendition of the “Philly Special” and Kelce tried to throw a touchdown pass to Mahomes. Despite being at the one-yard line, the Chiefs opted to kick as Harrison Butker made a 19-yard field goal giving Kansas City an early 3-0 lead.
Following the Kansas City field goal, the Bucs came up with no points on their first offensive drive. Brady connected with Evans on a short pass that turned into 12 yards. A few plays later, Brady targeted Evans deep down the field but the ball went through the hands of Evans. Following an incomplete pass on third down, Tampa Bay was forced to punt.
Unlike the first drive, in which Kansas City had success moving the ball, the Bucs forced a three-and-out after Jason Pierre-Paul didn’t allow Clyde Edwards-Helaire to run anywhere on third and one. As the Chiefs punted for the first time, the Bucs punted on their second drive to open the game. Facing third and three at his own 26-yard line, Brady overthrew Antonio Brown.
Then, Mahomes and Kansas City took a 10-0 lead in a single play. On the longest passing play of the season for the Chiefs, Mahomes tossed a deep ball to Hill, who sprinted past cornerback Carlton Davis and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to score a 75-yard touchdown with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
Tampa Bay punted for a third time in the first quarter to the Chiefs going three-and-out for a second straight drive. The Chiefs took full advantage and responded by marching down the field with ease. On 3rd and 8, Mahomes connected with Hill again down the field for a 44-yard touchdown. With 1:32 left in the first quarter, Kansas City led 17-0. Hill, who was mostly covered by Carlton Davis, caught seven passes for 203 and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone.
The Bucs continued to struggle on offense in the first quarter, punting a fourth time to close out the quarter. Following the Bucs’ third-straight three-and-out, the Chiefs left 17-0 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Tampa Bay’s defense settled in holding Kansas City to just three points while forcing a turnover.
On the Chiefs’ first drive of the second quarter, the Bucs brought the pressure and got the Mahomes multiple times after the pass. Still, Kansas City picked up four first downs. On first and goal, outside linebacker Shaquill Barrett came up with a strip-sack as defensive lineman William Gholston recovered the fumble for the Bucs.
A holding call on left guard Ali Marpet, who returned to play after missing three straight games, brought back a 13-yard rush by Ronald Jones. On third and one, Brady threw to Antonio Brown outside picking up the first down despite the penalty. Leonard Fournette picked another first down rushing for two yards. Brady finally completed a pass over 20 yards as he found Rob Gronkowski over the middle for 29 yards. On the very next play, the Bucs cut into the 17-point deficit when Brady tossed a short pass to Jones who broke free for his first-career receiving touchdown. The 37-yard score made the score 17-7 with 4:29 left in the first half.
While Kansas City found itself in the red zone a third time, the Bucs continued to have success defensively. Mahomes threw three incomplete passes at the 11-yard line and Butker nailed a 29-yard field goal. At halftime, Kansas City led 20-7 after the Bucs didn’t allow a touchdown in the red zone three different times.
Tampa Bay will have a bye week next week. The Bucs then host the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 13 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Vikings won 28-27 over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.