Can you believe it, folks? The Bucs are almost in the postseason after a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Falcons.
Tampa Bay has now put itself in a spot to clinch a postseason berth with a win over the Lions this week. But before we move on to Detroit, let’s relive some of the best postgame and Victory Monday quotes.
Bruce Arians on the second-half comeback:
“It’s the way we’re capable [of playing] – that’s the way we should be playing. My comments to the team after the game [were], ‘If we can play 30 minutes like that, why can’t we play 60?’ It’s frustrating. The first third down, we’re off the field [but] we miss a tackle on a check down to a back and the whole game changes. We get blown up on a screen pass, lose 15 yards on a screen pass that we catch, which kills the first drive. I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. We talked about it at halftime – we got the ball, go make something happen. I was not really happy that they went back, scored and answered it. Then, we were able to score every time we touched it in the second half – I think – until the end and finish it off. The defense came alive, we kind of figured them out and the pass rush started getting home.”
Thoughts: Yep. It’s really frustrating how bad this team is in the early going. There’s no excuse for 60 total yards and zero points in the first half when you consider how much talent and experience is on this roster. The defense was just as bad, too.
Arians on Antonio Brown’s game-winning touchdown reception:
“We had it called earlier it was just straight ‘Go’ [routes] by him and Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin] in the middle. They played Cover 2 and we hit Chris in the middle. [We] came back and I love the call Byron [Leftwich] made. A.B. (Brown) blew by [the defense]. They both were wide open by five yards and it was just pick your poison. I was really happy to see A.B. get in the end zone. It was good for him and good for all of us.”
Thoughts: This was a great play to witness. I don’t think AB is on any type of redemption tour or anything, but let’s hope we see more of this over the last two weeks.
Arians on Antoine Winfield Jr.’s PBU in the end zone:
“Great job. He had a hell of a break on that ball – [Calvin] Ridley had come all the way across the field and ‘Twon’ (Winfield Jr.) beat him across. He’s a heck of a player. He read [Ridley’s] eyes, he saw where he was going, [saw] that ball was going to be in the air for a while and he didn’t panic. A lot of times DBs will panic and they can’t run as fast. He doesn’t panic – he just goes and makes the play. I was a little disappointed [because] we dropped a couple interceptions in that one drive that could’ve changed the game a lot.”
Thoughts: This was the play of the game, in my opinion. It was a sure touchdown to Ridley in the back of the end zone. Instead, it’s an incompletion and Devin White sacks Matt Ryan on the next play (a 3rd and 6) to force the field goal attempt. AB’s touchdown catch is probably 1A, but who knows how the game turns out if AWjr doesn’t break up the pass.
Tom Brady on how dangerous Tampa Bay can be if it can play for a full 60 minutes:
“We’re going to have to figure out how to play our best for 60 minutes as opposed to 30. It was a good win by us. Everyone loves winning, but we also want to play better. We want to play our best and I think next week gives us another opportunity to try to do our best. It’s a tough week because it’s Christmas, but [we have] got to focus on what we’ve got to do. We’ve worked pretty hard to get to this point, but there’s still a lot left ahead of us.”
Thoughts: Brady has a point. This week’s game may be a tougher assignment than it appears to be on the surface. It’s a holiday (even though I’m sure players and their families have contingency plans) and the Bucs have to play on a Saturday on the road. We could definitely see another slow start Saturday.
Devin White on what allowed the defense to play better in the second half:
“The big difference is we came out with more energy and we did everything the coaches told us to do. In this league, you’ve just got to be at the right place at the right time and you’ve just got to play within the scheme. I feel like every time it’s a hit and miss, great players will make you pay for it. On defense – all I can speak for is defense – we had to pay for it. I just played instinct football. I was seeing some things and I was taking advantage of it for me to get those sacks. I felt like it was going to help my team get off the field and give us a lot more energy to finish the game. I’m a team player and that’s all I’m about. I had to do what I had to do to help the team – whatever I can do to help the team. [If] I need to get a pick to help the team [I’ll do it]. Whatever I have to do, I’m willing to do it.”
Thoughts: You have to love White’s team-first attitude, but his comment regarding coming out with more energy leaves room for interpretation. Did it mean the Bucs didn’t start with the right amount of energy or that they felt the sense of urgency coming out of halftime? Either way, it leaves you thinking at the end of the day.
Antonio Brown on when he heard the play call:
“Well, I get excited. You know you’ll get an opportunity when they call all go routes, so there’s a chance the ball will come to you. Just run in the wind – I was excited to get an opportunity if it came to me – step on the gas and put myself in a good opportunity to put my eyes back hoping the ball was on the way.”
Thoughts: More of this. Brown brings an electric dynamic to the receiving corps. And the fact that it was the game-winner makes it all the sweeter.
Arians on if the issues in the secondary on Sunday were communication issues:
“No, I don’t think it was communication at all. It was just poor play. You know when you have help and you know when you don’t. You’ve got to play the proper technique. It’s one thing if you’re supposed to be dropping and you rush – that’s a problem. Especially if they throw a ball in the flat where you’re supposed to be dropping to. It wasn’t communication, it was just poor play.”
Thoughts: This is interesting to hear and you could see it on the field. Especially in the case of Sean Murphy-Bunting. Let’s just praise Antoine Winfield Jr. for the game-saving play and leave it at that, shall we?
Arians on SMB’s recent play:
“I think Sean can play better. We expect a lot out of him. He had some struggles early in the season [but] I see him coming out of those and playing with more confidence. Again, we expect a lot of things out of him because he has a ton of talent. He can play better.”
Thoughts: Speaking of which, here we are. SMB has struggled this year, there is no doubt. Maybe it’s a sophomore slump, maybe it’s a sign of things to come. Whatever it is, just keep trying to fix it for the next month and a half and we can go from there.
Arians on any updates regarding Carlton Davis III’s knee:
“No, not yet.”
Thoughts: I know this is supposed to be a “best of” column, but this is important. Davis III is a big part of the secondary, obviously. Let’s just put it this way: I’m just glad Kenny Golladay will likely be out this week.
Arians on how many halftime adjustments are made during halftime:
“I think as you’re going into the locker room, you’re making those adjustments in your head as the first half is being played. You go in and you get what needs to be said, said, what needs to be corrected, corrected and how we’re going to change whatever we’re doing defensively or offensively. Most of the time, guys are going to the bathroom and they’re not in there anyway. There’s not a heck of a lot that you do at halftime, but you can make those subtle corrections quickly and get everything done. There are times where you go into halftime and guys are just hollering and pissed off. That was part of it in this one [yesterday]. [I am] really happy with the way we made those adjustments offensively, and eventually defensively.”
Thoughts: Oh my. This is hilarious, refreshingly honest, eye-opening, and somewhat disappointing. Talk about completely stripping away the thought that teams all stand around each other while a coach draws up new schemes on a dry erase board. Like, all the sports movies are wrong. But that shouldn’t be a surprise.