The last time the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t score a touchdown came Nov. 19, 2017.
That Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands, the Chiefs scored nine points and lost to the New York Giants, allowing just one touchdown and two field goals.
That Sunday afternoon, Patrick Mahomes II watched from the sideline while Travis Kelce threw an interception.
Since, the Chiefs have been more likely to score 40 points than less than 20, rolling to three AFC Championship games and back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. But, as they learned with a subpar first half against Tom Brady in the 2018 AFC Championship and again Sunday, a bad day against Tom Brady has little margin for error.
“It was a bad day to have a bad day,” Reid said, noting that the team loses wins as one. “We didn’t play our best game today, but we’re going to get back on it and get ready for next year.”
The Chiefs won’t use excuses and didn’t make any leading up to Sunday, whether it be surrounding the health and capability of the offensive line or how it matched up with the Bucs’ defensive front.
Tampa Bay clearly won the battle, sacking Mahomes three times, hitting him eight times and recording nine pass defenses. He still carved up Tampa Bay for 270 yards, though it came in desperation playing from behind and while scrambling for any inch of turf to throw from.
Twice Mahomes’ passes found receivers in the end zone, only to bounce of the helmets of Tyreek Hill and Darrel Williams.
“We gonna bounce back; we gonna come back; and we gonna do our thing next year,” Hill said.
The Chiefs blitzed the Bucs for 462 yards in the regular season, though Sunday was a different story. The Chiefs never established any run game outside of Mahomes scrambling. The Bucs constantly pressured with only four pass rushers, sprinkling in some of Todd Bowles’ famed blitzed. Hill, who had 200-plus yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter in Week 12, had just seven catches for 73 yards.
The Bucs opted to play lots of zone coverage and kept the Chiefs off-balance all night.
“Todd (Bowles) had a good plan,” Reid said. “I could’ve done a better job of putting us in a better position to make plays. My guys busted their tail. It just didn’t work for us.”
For Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White, it was about sending a message.
“We talked about beating them bad,” White said. “We knew they wasn’t physically enough. They’re real gimmicky on offense. We don’t play like that. We like smashmouth football.”
The Bucs defense showed what helped lead Tampa Bay back to the Super Bowl, beating Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers ahead of shutting down Mahomes, all three being rematches of regular-season games.