Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said Monday wide receiver Antonio Brown ran the wrong route on his touchdown catch late in the second quarter of the Bucs' 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday night.
"A.B. on his touchdown catch was supposed to go down and in and then pop back out. He goes out and pops back in," Christensen said on the Pat McAfee Show (via ProFootballTalk). "I'm kind of going through the headset like: 'Did he run the right route? Did he just do opposite of what he was supposed to do and we hit it for a touchdown?' That was the case."
Christensen credited quarterback Tom Brady, who captured his seventh championship and fifth Super Bowl MVP, for sticking with Brown as an option on the play despite the mistake.
"And that's where Brady doesn't get thrown for a loop," he said. "He just hits the guy. 'Hey, you get open, I'll hit you.' That's where he's pretty darn unique. A lot of quarterbacks are like 'Hey, he's supposed to do this. A to B to C.' This guy, A.B., goes C to F back to A and he just hits him for a touchdown. It was unbelievable."
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"Gronk is like his little brother, they are unbelievable together. But he took AB & Fournette & some of those other guys & said you're part of this team. There's going to be a point where you're going to have to win these games" Clyde Christensen on @TomBrady #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE https://t.co/Jj8bGTASOx
The Brown touchdown capped one of the game's most important possessions.
A Harrison Butker 34-yard field goal had moved the Chiefs back within one score (14-6) with just over a minute left in the first half. Patrick Mahomes and Co. were also scheduled to receive the second-half kickoff, so the outlook was improving despite a lackluster opening 30 minutes.
Instead, Brady marched the Bucs back down the field and connected on his third touchdown throw to help increase the lead to 21-6 with six seconds left before halftime.
Kansas City could only muster a field goal in the second half as Tampa Bay pulled away to secure the franchise's second Super Bowl title on the strength of a terrific defensive performance.
Based on the way both teams played, the Buccaneers likely would've emerged victorious even without the Brown touchdown. That said, in the moment it felt like a crucial turning point, especially knowing Mahomes and the Chiefs offense were getting the first possession of the second half.
Ultimately, a broken play that turned to gold for Brady and Brown was part of a memorable night for Tampa, which hosted the game at its Raymond James Stadium.