The Kansas City Chiefs are officially set to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55. The game will take place at Raymond James Stadium, with kick off set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 7th to be broadcast on CBS.
How did the Chiefs advance through the 2020 NFL season to make it to Super Bowl LV? We’ll break down their season here.
The Chiefs were heralded as the most dominant team in football from the very start of the year. The reigning champs have arguably the most talented quarterback in the game in Patrick Mahomes, a consistently dominant tight end in Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill’s blazing speed out wide. Many believed that Kansas City was poised to get even better in 2020 when it selected the multi-faceted Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the final first-round pick in the draft. One thing’s for certain; the Chiefs did not disappoint when they kicked off the 2020 season with a bang.
Kansas City won by at least 14 points in three of their first four games without Mahomes playing his best. Edwards-Helaire was among the league leaders in carries and rushing yards, while Kelce and Hill had no problems finding the end zone. The Chiefs had a hiccup in Week 2 and had to come from behind to beat rookie Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, and their bad habit of falling behind early against lesser teams caught up with them in Week 5.
Kansas City unexpectedly lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 40-32 at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 5 thanks to an all-time performance from Derek Carr, who threw for 347 yards and three scores. Josh Jacobs scored two rushing touchdowns, and rookie wideout Henry Ruggs III exploded for 118 receiving yards and a score on two catches in a breakout performance. The Chiefs weren’t lacking on offense and got at least one touchdown from four different players, but their inability to get stops hurt them. Former New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell signed with Kansas City a few days after the loss, and that’s when the Chiefs really got hot.
The Chiefs won 10 straight games following their loss to the Raiders, but had some close calls along the way. They had their fair share of blowout victories but also won by four points or less in five of their final eight regular-season games. The Panthers, Bucs, Falcons, and Saints all gave Kansas City a run for its money. Its second loss of the season came to the Chargers in Week 17, but that only happened because the Chiefs rested their starters after securing a first-round bye by finishing as the top team in the AFC. The reigning champs got an extra week of rest ahead of the playoffs and were tested in the Divisional Round.
The Cleveland Browns unexpectedly upset the Steelers to earn a second-round playoff matchup with Kansas City and did not disappoint. While the Chiefs moved the ball with ease through the air, Cleveland managed to stay in the hunt. Things got interesting when Mahomes went down with a head injury in the third quarter and had to be replaced by Chad Henne. The backup managed to edge out the Browns by making some key plays down the stretch to secure a 22-17 victory. Mahomes’ placement in the concussion protocol led some to doubt that he could lead Kansas City past the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship, but he proved the doubters wrong.
Mahomes cleared the protocol a couple of days before the Divisional Round and did not disappoint when he took the field. He tallied a pedestrian 255 passing yards with one passing touchdown in his first postseason appearance of the year but bounced back by throwing for 325 yards and three scores with no picks against Buffalo despite dealing with turf toe. Kelce and Hill combined for 21 receptions, 290 receiving yards, and two scores in the 38-24 win.
The Chiefs aren’t at full strength yet, as they’re still hoping to get back Sammy Watkins — who has missed three straight games with a calf injury — for the Super Bowl to bolster the receiving corps. This second matchup against the Bucs could be a shootout, as Mahomes and Brady combined for 807 passing yards and six passing touchdowns the last time they met.