Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is sacked by the...

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is sacked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense during the third quarter in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021.  Credit: TNS/Travis Heying

Todd Bowles was unable to lead the Jets to the playoffs in four years as their head coach, but he devised a defense that shut down Patrick Mahomes and the lethal Kansas City offense in Super Bowl LV.

Tom Brady was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after the Buccaneers beat Kansas City, 31-9, on Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium, but Bowles showed how valuable he is to Tampa Bay and why he’s one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL.

Many have tried to slow down Mahomes and Kansas City. Few had succeeded. But on Sunday night, Bowles’ defense had Mahomes under pressure and running from the pocket for most of the game.

The Bucs held Kansas City without a touchdown for the first time in the three years that Mahomes has been the starting quarterback. He had never suffered a double-digit loss in that span.

"You can’t give [Bowles] enough credit," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. "I think he got tired of hearing about how unstoppable they were. I think he came up with a fantastic plan."

Mahomes looked nothing like the generational quarterback who led Kansas City to a Super Bowl victory last year. This game was supposed to move the 25-year-old one step closer to matching Brady’s record for Super Bowl titles, but Brady won his seventh ring. Mahomes trails him by six.

He still has plenty of career left, but he has to hope he doesn’t face a defense like this one again anytime soon.

Bowles, who went 24-40 with the Jets, didn’t blitz much, preferring to have his front four rush the passer against a Kansas City offensive line missing its starting tackles because of injury. Bowles often kept six or seven players in coverage to keep Kansas City’s skill players from going off, and his linebackers were all over the field.

Mahomes, the MVP of last year’s Super Bowl, was sacked three times, hit eight times and chased from the pocket over and over. He completed 26 of 49 passes for 270 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

His passer rating was 52.3. His lowest in the regular season was 83.5 in a loss to Las Vegas. That was Mahomes’ only loss in his previous 26 starts.

"The biggest thing was trying to take away the first read," Bowles said. "We didn’t want him sitting in the pocket just zinging dimes on us all day. The D-line got some pressure on him, making him run and making him a little uncomfortable. I thought that was key for us."

Bowles learned from the Buccaneers’ Week 12 loss to Kansas City. In that game, Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns. Tyreek Hill caught 13 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns — and that was the last time Tampa Bay lost.

Bowles was not going to let Hill beat his team like that again. The Bucs played man coverage on Hill during most of the regular-season game but had two men on him Sunday, and he was a non-factor. He caught seven passes for 73 yards, with most of his production in the second half.

"That’s a credit to the guys up front to get the pressure," Bowles said, "but mostly to the guys in the back because we took away some of the underneath throws, and it took too long for the guys to get deep.

"While the guys in the front hunted, the guys in back covered them. It worked hand-in-hand tonight."

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