What a difference 10 weeks makes.
The Chiefs, in Week 12 of the regular season, ran up a huge lead over the Buccaneers and held on. In Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers have played like a much different team through 30 minutes.
Tampa Bay leads at intermission, 21-6.
In Week 12, the Chiefs had 377 total yards in the first half, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing for 359. The Buccaneers gained 131 first-half yards in the first meeting.
This time around, the Chiefs have 124, and the Buccaneers have 194. This time around, Mahomes has completed nine of 19 passes for 67 yards.
The Buccaneers have gotten three touchdowns, on passes from quarterback Tom Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski (twice) and from Brady to receiver Antonio Brown. None of those three players were on the 2019 Buccaneers.
The last score of the half was fueled by a pass interference foul by Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland, whose feet tangled with Bucs receiver Mike Evans. Then, another interference call in the end zone on safety Tyrann Mathieu gave the Bucs the ball at the one. Brady found Brown for the score.
After the touchdown, Mathieu inexplicably put a finger in Brady’s face, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct foul. The Bucs kicked the ball out of the end zone, and the Chiefs took a knee to end the first half.
Kansas City gets the ball to start the second half. They’re down 15. They’ve shown that they know how to come back from double-digit deficits. Their biggest test arguably comes in the third and fourth quarter of Super Bowl LV.