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The Bucs got every call against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV

Several key penalties proved very costly for the Chiefs, some of which were highly questionable.

The story of Super Bowl 55’s first two quarters was not how any single player performed, but how much of an impact the officials made, which helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take a 21-6 halftime lead over the Kansas City Chiefs.

While the Bucs certainly outplayed the Chiefs, there were several questionable penalties that helped the ‘home’ team take control. That included a pair of pass-interference penalties at the end of the first half as Kansas City had 90 penalty yards in the second quarter alone.

The first came when Tom Brady aired it out deep to Mike Evans with 24 seconds left in the half, and Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland was flagged for pass interference. While Breeland clearly made contact, it’s hard to justify it being enough to warrant a 34-yard penalty that put the Bucs in the red zone.

That wasn’t even the most questionable PI called on the drive. That came with 13 seconds left at the Kanas City 9-yard line when All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu was flagged for interfering with receiver Antonio Brown on what was clearly an uncatchable pass. It gave the Bucs a 1st-and-Goal play at the 1-yard line they converted into a touchdown one play later.

Earlier in the game, there was a controversial 4th-down offsides penalty called on the Chiefs, which resulted in a 1st down that Tampa later converted into a touchdown. This appeared to be the correct call, however, as Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman appeared to have lined up offsides.

Regardless of whether the calls were correct or not, there’s no question they had a massive impact on the game and put the Chiefs in a 15-point hole at halftime. The only team in Super Bowl history to overcome a 15+ point halftime deficit was the Brady-led New England Patriots in 2017 when they rallied to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.