Bucs Post-Game Quotes

December 15 – Read what the Bucs players and head coach Jon Gruden had to say about its 23-20 win over the Lions from the team's locker room inside Ford Field in Detroit.

Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson on the Bucs' 23-20 win over the Lions:
"It's not about my numbers or anything else. It's about the team and the big thing up here was to get the win. That's what we did. They're a tough team up here and they made us earn it. I think we gave up some yards on our special teams and they made some uncharacteristic drives against our defense. Offensively in the first half, we were very strong. We moved the ball and we scored points, but we had to kick a couple of field goals. The third quarter got a little crazy on us because we had some penalties. But in the fourth quarter, we had two crucial drives, we scored a touchdown on one and scored a field goal on another one, which pretty much won the game."

Brad Johnson on Tampa Bay's 96-yard drive in the first half:
"I think it was our second possession of the game and they pinned us down there with a punt. In those situations, you really just want to get a first down and get yourself out of a bad situation. We've had two long drives this year and I believe that may tie a Tampa Bay record for longest drive in the team history – it may be up there. But we just executed extremely well on that drive and made some big plays in the passing game. I think we converted some crucial third downs there. And today I thought our running game really kind of helped us – I think we had 120 or 130 yards rushing, and that's two weeks in a row. We played very good, but the biggest problem for us today was penalties that were uncharacteristic of our team."

Johnson on his third-down pass to TE Ken Dilger on the game-winning drive:
"We've been setting that up. Actually, about six weeks ago, some guys ran the wrong route and it looked kind of good, so we kind of put that play in against Detroit today. We actually kind of flooded one side of the field and it was a little chase route – that's what we call it – where Ken was kind of following Keyshawn (Johnson). We caught them in a zone coverage where there was no one on Ken. I just threw it over the defender and it just moved the field for us. You just don't want to go three-and-out. That was a big play for us and it pretty much put us in field goal range."

Johnson on the Lions not quitting despite its 3-10 record:
"They never do (quit). Last year I believe they were 1-15 or 2-14 and we needed two 2-minute drives to win those games. Coming up here, it's an awesome stadium and a great environment to play in. We expected that coming in here. Playing on the road, they beat the Saints up here and some other good teams and they had some other games they should have won. We knew what we were going to face today and we didn't play at our best, but to still win, that shows the heart of a champion."

Tampa Bay middle linebacker Shelton Quarles on the Bucs' win against the Lions not coming easy:
"It's never easy. We knew they'd come out ready to play and they proved that point. They're a good team, they just had some unfortunate things happen to them. They'll probably come back and have a better team next year. We don't want to face them again."

Qualres on his interception, which stalled a Detroit drive in Tampa Bay territory:
"I just read the quarterback, basically, and he started to look the other way and I just started to go that way and the ball started to come right towards me. I hit it and I said, ‘Oh, man, that ball went up straight in the air', so it just seemed like it took forever to come down into my hands. I just wanted to secure it before I started to run."

Quarles on Detroit running for 144 yards against Tampa Bay's defense:
"Well, we play a one-gap defense. So, when you play one-gap football and somebody misses a gap, somebody is going to gas you, and that's what happened today. We just weren't real precise in our run bits."

Quarles on the Bucs improving to 11-3 on the season:
"It feels great. We tied our franchise mark with wins in a season and hopefully we can get a couple of more and win out. That would be great. We've been playing good this season, we've just got to pick it up and play a little bit better than we played today."

Quarles on Tampa Bay's upcoming contest against Pittsburgh on Monday night:
"It's going to be a big game for us, that Monday night game. They've been struggling a little bit this year and last year they beat us at home and made us look bad. We definitely have a point to prove and we'll be ready on Monday."

Bucs strong safety John Howell on starting in place of John Lynch on Sunday:
"It feels great to be 11-3 and it looks pretty. The last time I started was against Pittsburgh last year and we didn't get the win. So, it was nice to get out there and start and actually come up with a win."

Howell on Detroit's big rushing day against Tampa Bay's defense:
"Hats off to them. They were just executing their plays. It wasn't anything special that we hadn't seen. I think we get there and watch film it's going to be the theme – it's about us. There's going to be a lot of things we see on film that we weren't doing correctly. That's kind of comforting to us in a way because it still puts everything on our shoulders. We still control our destiny and as long as we play our A-game, we'll be fine. We didn't play our A-game today, but we came out with a "W" anyway."

Howell on having a couple of interceptions fall out of his hands:
"I wish that I could have come up with a couple of those. It would have turned the game around, but I felt like I had a solid performance. But that's not good enough. I'm pretty hard on myself and to just go out there and play solid isn't good enough. When you come in for a guy like John Lynch, you have to come up with those interceptions You've got to make those big plays, those plays that can turn a football game around."

Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman on scoring his first touchdown as a Buccaneer:
"Man, it felt good. That was my first time scoring since I've been a Buccaneer, so that was something I really needed. The offensive line opened up the hole for me, I just ran though the hole and scored the touchdown."

Pittman on Tampa Bay rushing for 122 yards against Detroit's defense:
"I think the offensive line blocked great and me, Mike (Alstott) and Aaron Stecker ran the ball hard and that gave me an opportunity to run the ball."

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Tampa Bay's 23-20 win over Detroit:
"We're proud to be 11-3. It's a costly win. We lost some good players today injury-wise. I tip my hat to Detroit, they played hard. It was a great accomplishment winning 11 games and we've got work to do still."

Gruden on DT Anthony McFarland's injury :
"For sure, I believe Anthony McFarland is out for the year. He broke his foot and we're obviously going to miss him. He's a great player and we're going to have to step up like we did earlier in the season. We're concerned about Nate Webster. He sprained his knee and we don't know the severity. But we know for sure that McFarland is done for the season."

Gruden on the team's offensive drives:
"In the first half, we had four possessions and we scored on three of them. And on the road, that's a pretty good sign. But we've got some work to do and certainly on the opening-drive scoring a seven-pointer there would've been huge."

Gruden on what Detroit's offense was doing to Tampa Bay's defense:
"Well, they did a lot of things differently. Obviously putting (Mike) McMahon in as early as they did changed the scope of the defense a little bit. This is a perimeter quarterback and they ran some naked bootlegs. They had a different combination of backs. To be honest with you, we just lost our gap control a couple of times and they hurt us and made us pay. That's very uncharacteristic of our defense and we're confident we can straighten that out."

Gruden on Tampa Bay having a two-game lead in the NFC South Division because of the New Orleans Saints' loss to Minnesota:
"That breaks my heart. I hate to hear that."


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