Everyone in Kansas City remembers Super Bowl LV very well — for all the wrong reasons.
The championship game went absolutely nothing like the previous season’s, when the Kansas City Chiefs rallied back to beat the San Francisco 49ers, winning their first Super Bowl title in 50 years with a 31-20 victory. The second time — facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home stadium — the Chiefs were without several starters on their offensive line, including tackles Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz. Both had been lost for the season.
The Buccanneers had Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes running all night long — and Tampa’s relentless pressure led to a 31-9 victory in which the Chiefs never reached the end zone. In the offseason, the team’s general manager Brett Veach rebuilt the offensive line into a strength, trading for Orlando Brown Jr., signing Joe Thuney and drafting two studs: Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith.
In the Week 4 edition of Sunday Night Football, the Chiefs will get their first crack at the Buccaneers since that devasting loss in Tampa. While no team is ever the same — especially years after a postseason game — there will be some familiar faces on the opposite sideline. Among those will be linebacker Shaquille Barrett.
But when asked about that “rebuilt” offensive line — and how it compares to that fateful night in 2021 — Barrett couldn’t help but giggle into the camera (11:27 minute mark).
“I really don’t think it’s too much of a difference,” said Barrett. “I think we have a lot of favorable matchups. I think we really have an opportunity to really dominate the game... I just think, yeah, we’ve got an opportunity to really impose our will as pass-rushers, edge rushers in this game. We can really have like a coming-out party. I know we had six sacks the other game, but we can really have a coming-out party as edge defenders in the position group for this game.”
Asked about Barrett’s comments at the podium on Wednesday, Mahomes kept it simple.
“I trust those five guys that we have out there,” he said. “I feel like we have one of the best offensive lines in the league — and we’ll go in there with that mindset.”
Brown — one of those brought in to make life better for Mahomes — wouldn’t take Barrett’s bait, either.
“I already think that we’re a very motivated group,” said Brown. “We understand that we didn’t play up to our standards last week — and we have our own expectation of ourselves up front, man. When people make comments like that, it is what it is. But I think what’s most important is that we know what we want to do — and the standard that we set for ourselves as a unit (and individuals) to go out there and compete.”
Brown admitted there were a few plays during last Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts that he wishes he could have back. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown allowed two pressures (including a quarterback hit) in the game. He also was guilty of a false start in the third quarter.
Brown expressed that the Chiefs are doing the right things this week to address their mistakes, realizing they know what Mahomes can do when he is protected.
“[Mahomes is] somebody that can make throws from all different types of spots on the field,” noted Brown. “When we protect him and keep him clean, he’s able to do those things crazily from time to time. When we don’t, he’s able to adjust off of those things. Pat’s [done] a great job just being tough.
“There’s a few situations last week that I put him in bad positions — maybe not being able to step into a throw or a penalty with Yannick (Ngakoue). So I think it’s more so about making sure that we’re doing a great job — keeping within the pocket, keeping depth on the pocket — so he can execute his throws and throw off whatever spot or wherever he wants to.”