TAMPA: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes vowed to come back stronger after the Chiefs were manhandled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 31-9 Super Bowl defeat.
The gifted signal-caller was favored to become the first quarterback to win two Super Bowls by the age of 25 after rallying the Chiefs to a thrilling 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last year.
But Kansas City’s bid to become the NFL’s first repeat champion in 16 years ended with Tampa Bay’s dominant triumph.
“My dad lost in the World Series in his career,” said Mahomes, whose father, Pat Sr., played in baseball’s major leagues from 1992 to 2003. “He continued to battle and continued to be who he was.
“Obviously it hurts right now. It hurts a lot. But we’re going to continue to get better.
“We have a young group of guys that have had a lot of success and have learned from that. We’ve had a few failures, and we have to learn from that.
“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.”
One year after he earned Super Bowl MVP honors, Mahomes was pressured by a relentless Tampa Bay defense into one of the worst games of his career.
Sacked three times, he was repeatedly forced out of the pocket to throw on the run, tossed two interceptions and zero touchdowns.
“Obviously I didn’t play the way I wanted to play,” said Mahomes, who refused to blame a toe injury that has bothered him in the playoffs and may require offseason surgery.
“We battled to the very end,” he said. “That’s one thing you can say. We played not very good football today. But we battled.”