TAMPA, Fla. -- Super Bowl LV was billed as Brady vs. Mahomes. The GOAT vs. the Kid. It was supposed to be an epic battle of the greatest quarterback of all time against the current best, and maybe this would be the official passing of the torch.
Tom Brady held up his end of the bargain. Patrick Mahomes failed to do the same. In the end, Brady was holding up the MVP trophy after the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs 31-9 in Raymond James Stadium, and Mahomes was battered and bruised in defeat.
"Obviously, I didn't play like I wanted to play," Mahomes said. "What else can you say? All you can do is leave everything you have on the field, and I felt like the guys did that. They were the better team today. They beat us pretty good, the worst I think I've been beaten in a long time, but I'm proud of the guys and how they fought to the very end of the game."
While Mahomes took the loss, this wasn't all on him. He was 26 of 49 passing for 270 yards and two interceptions (both on tipped passes), and it was the first time he didn't throw a touchdown in a game since Week 4 of the 2019 season, a 34-30 victory against the Lions. His 52.3 passer rating was the worst of his career.
But Mahomes was playing behind a beat up offensive line, which was missing left tackle Eric Fisher (Achilles) and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back). It showed against a dominant Tampa Bay pass rush led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Mahomes took three sacks, eight quarterback hits and was pressured a Super Bowl-record 29 times, according to ESPN. He was running for his life most of the night. According to Next Gen Stats, Mahomes traveled 497 yards before throwing the ball or being sacked, the most scramble yards in a game by any quarterback since 2016.
It was a great game plan by Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. In the first meeting between these two teams in Week 12 when the Chiefs won 27-24, Mahomes had 462 passing yards and three touchdowns, and he was sacked just twice.
"Give credit to Todd for the job that he did." Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He got us."
Added Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David: "We just let our d-line eat."
Mahomes also added five carries for 33 yards, but Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians was fine watching Mahomes run instead of throw.
"Patrick wasn't going to beat us running," Arians said. "We'll let him run all day."
Aside from the offensive line woes, Mahomes dealt with some untimely drops from his receivers. Tyreek Hill had a potential touchdown bounce off his facemask, and Travis Kelce also had a key drop on a third-down play in the first half. Darrel Williams also had a questionable drop in the end zone on a ridiculous attempt by Mahomes where he threw a laser while falling down on probably the greatest incompletion you'll ever see in any game, let alone a Super Bowl.
Mahomes gave credit to Tampa Bay's defense, and Kelce also praised the Buccaneers for shutting down Kansas City's high-powered offense.
"They made us kind of dink and dunk and take what was there," Kelce said. "They put a cap over top and didn't let us get behind the defense. It was frustrating. It was one of those days where it felt like anything you did they had an answer for."
For Mahomes, this was his first double-digit loss in the NFL and first since his Texas Tech team lost to Iowa State 66-10 in 2016. He had gone 35 starts without losing by more than seven points, which was the second-longest streak to start a career for Super Bowl-era quarterbacks. Russell Wilson has the most with 38.
Mahomes didn't blame the toe injury that had bothered him in recent weeks, but he did say that surgery could still be an option. He said the Chiefs will learn from this loss and try to make it back to the Super Bowl again next season.
"Obviously it hurts right now," Mahomes said. "It hurts a lot. But we're going to continue to get better. ... We can't let this define us. We have to continue to get better going into next year and being even better and preparing ourselves to hopefully be in this game again."
Brady got the better of Mahomes on Sunday, and this was Brady's seventh Super Bowl title in 10 tries. He also won his NFL-record fifth MVP award.
The Kid has a lot of work to do to catch the GOAT. Good thing, at 25, Mahomes has plenty of time to keep trying.