Bucs Post-Game Quotes

December 1 – Read what the Bucs players and head coach Jon Gruden had to say about its 23-20 loss to the Saints from the team's locker room inside the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Bucs QB Brad Johnson on his team's 23-20 loss to the Saints:
"We came in here and we needed a win, but we just didn't get it. We prepared hard and we played hard. We had some turnovers on special teams and we had some turnovers, one that really hurt us on offense. We did a great job of battling all night long and you have to give us credit. That's why we have the record that we have, being 9-3. Basically, the biggest thing that hurt us on offense tonight was on third down conversions. We handled a lot of the things they did well, but we just didn't make the plays when we had to."

Johnson on what the Saints' defense showed the Bucs' offense compared to the film they had studied throughout the week:
"We really expected them to blitz much more than they did – they played a lot of coverage tonight. They rushed with their front-four, actually. I really expected and prepared for a lot more than what they did tonight. Again, we made some drives in there and we had a couple of three-and-outs that really hurt us. But the biggest thing for us was third downs, no doubt."

Johnson on the positives the Bucs can take away from the devastating loss to the Saints:
"It's a tough loss, again. But we battled again and we gave ourselves a chance to win this game and we just came up a little bit short. We're going to come back next week with a huge game against Atlanta."

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden on his team's tough loss to New Orleans:
"It's a tough one. We're disappointed, but at the same time, you turn the ball over, you give up some plays in the kicking game and it's going to hurt you in a tight game like this."

Gruden on New Orleans return man Michael "Beerman" Lewis:
"I'm going to go start looking in the beer truck business to see if we can find a guy like that. He's an amazing return guy and at the same time, we see that every week. Everybody in this league is dangerous and we're going to see a punt returner playing quarterback next week. We've got to do a better job of tackling."

Gruden on his defense's inability to get the offense the ball back late in the fourth quarter:
"I was proud of our team. It was 23-12 and we went the length of the field and got the 2-point play to make it 23-20. But their backup quarterback comes in, and it's a gutsy call by them, honestly, throwing a slant in bump-and-run coverage, and the guy comes up with the play. There were a lot of plays in the game that were critical, but that one really sticks out.

Gruden on Tampa Bay's struggling running game:
"We're trying everything. We're trying every combination in the backfield possible. The bottom line right now is it is unacceptable. We're a very one-dimensional football team right now. Our quarterback is playing great football and I think he played an unbelievable game tonight. But without being competitive running the football, being behind in down-and-distance situations is going to make it very difficult on any offensive team. It's something we just have to continue to work at, but I'm not happy with it tonight."

Gruden on what the Saints' offense did to throw the Bucs' defense off:
"They mix up their looks in the nickel as they do every week. But in the early stuff, they didn't play a lot of man-to-man as we expected. We run a lot of crossing routes and things of that nature, but they played us fairly straight after (Mike) Alstott burned them on the zone blitz for the touchdown. We did make some plays, but not enough."

Gruden on Saints WR Joe Horn's touchdown reception against Bucs CB Brian Kelly:
"I think the double-move that they got down in the red zone for the touchdown was a new wrinkle. They had set that up during previous weeks with a little smash-route into the short side of the field and this week they ran a double-move off of that."

Gruden on next week's contest against the Atlanta Falcons:
"We're going home, we're 9-3 and we're disappointed. I say it all the time – you get what you deserve. You don't run the ball well, you give up long third down conversions and you give up big plays in the kicking game, you're going to have a hard time winning in the NFL. But we're a resilient bunch. We're upset and we're mad as hell, but we're going to come back to work and get ready to go and play our best ball next Sunday."

Tampa Bay CB Dwight Smith on the team's loss to the Saints:
"Any time you lose it's tough, but when a team beats you twice it's even tougher."

Smith on the Bucs' defensive performance against the Saints:
"There were a lot of missed tackles and they outplayed us. They made the plays and we didn't make the plays. That's what it came down to tonight. Hopefully we go home and watch the film – it's a big one next week against Atlanta. If we win next week we can forget about this week."

Smith on Tampa Bay's poor special teams performance:
"I take all of the blame for that. I'm the leader of our special teams unit and that was our theme. I let "Beerman" beat us -- make their offense beat us, and we didn't do that. We let (Michael Lewis) get a few big returns and helped them with field position. So, every aspect of our team needs to go back to the drawing board after this game. We've got to win out, and then everyone will forget about this game."

Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice on recording three sacks in the team's losing effort against New Orleans:
"This is a bittersweet situation in terms of getting this victory, or that's what we wanted. We set out to play hard and we played with a purpose in mind. We can learn from it and grow from it, and move forward. We understand we have a difficult road ahead of us, but we have to have our minds right in terms of what we have to do for next week. This is the past now, so there's nothing you can do except learn from it. We'll take something from this game and continue to move forward."

Rice on setting the NFL single-season record for consecutive multi-sack games:
"It's bittersweet. Things in terms of what I did if we would have won the game, it would have made a lot more sense and I think the impact would have been that much more effective. But the effectiveness of the game really couldn't be shown from the ability that I had and the things that I did at a performance level that I play with because of the simple fact that we lost. So, I really can't savor the moment. You have to really dwell and say, ‘What are the things that I could've really done in other situations and circumstances to help us win?'"

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