Tampa Bay is now 2-1 on the season after a big win in Denver, which is good enough for first place in the division as of Week 4.
A fierce pass rush and an opportunistic offense carried the Bucs all the way to a 28-10 victory. What did the coaches and players have to say about the victory?
Here are the 10 best postgame quotes from the win over the Broncos.
Bruce Arians on the win:
“Great job by Pat O’Connor blocking that punt [and] getting us started. Heck of a job by Chris [Godwin] getting it in the end zone [and] turning that into a touchdown. We’ve started fast in every ballgame – we get a lead and we have to develop a better finish. I won’t say a killer instinct – just a finish. We came out, we answered – when they scored, we scored. But again, way too many penalties offensively. First-and-20 every series, it seemed like. [I] liked the way we ran the ball and finished it out. Defensively, we did a heck of a job other than that third-and-20 [conversion].”
Thoughts: Pretty accurate stuff here from Arians. He’s absolutely right about finishing and having a killer instinct. For whatever reason, this team just doesn’t play well in the second half.
Arians on Antoine Winfield Jr.’s and Mike Edwards’ play on Sunday:
“[Antoine] has played the nickel since he’s gotten here, so it was no big deal for him. Mike’s been ready for his shot. Great to see him come up with that big interception because he is a guy that is a ballhawk and should come up with plays like that.”
Thoughts: Man, this pick just keeps looking better and better. Winfield gives the Bucs a viable option at nickel with SMB out. It also allows Jordan Whitehead to stay in the box, where he thrives.
Arians gives Winfield Jr. some love:
Thoughts: Um, yes please.
Tom Brady on getting comfortable with the receivers:
“We’re getting there. It’s a long process. Like I said last week, this would have been our third preseason game. There’s still a lot to learn, a lot to grow. There’s a lot of room for improvement and I know everyone feels that way.”
Thoughts: The Bucs are certainly leaving some points on the field, but Brady’s right. We know from last year that it takes a while for the quarterback and receivers to click in this offense. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later, though.
Shaquil Barrett on the defense being a reflection of what they want it to be:
“Yeah, at times we most definitely are the defense that we love – bringing all the energy and making all the plays – but we still have to work on eliminating some drives, like the two-minute drive that we gave up. That’s really going to hurt us against a team that’s making us work for everything every game or every quarter. We’ve got to work on that and eliminate that because we’re supposed to be out here – nothing against the Broncos, but we sort of have dominated that game and [should have] kept them to no touchdowns. We always had those mental lapses at one point during the game, but it didn’t come back to hurt us this game, so that’s good.”
Thoughts: I’m loving the honesty from Brady and Barrett. The defense has looked very, very good, but they have to clean up some things. They also need to find a way to cover tight ends better, but I digress.
Lavonte David on the Bucs’ pass rush options:
“It’s just getting the opportunity to rush the passer. The way [Coach Todd Bowles] draws it up, somebody’s coming free. If everybody is executing and doing their job on the back end, the rush and coverage work together. That’s what you saw today – guys were keeping blocks and guys were executing on certain blitzes that we ran. We were able to get to the quarterback, hit him and disrupt him for the most part.”
Thoughts: This defense ate the Broncos alive on Sunday. Whitehead and Winfield Jr. each recorded a sack along with Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Vita Vea. Ndamukong Suh was strong, once again. They’ll only get better as the season goes on, too.
Rob Gronkowski backs up his boy:
“There’s been people talking garbage about him since I started playing with him 10 years ago – saying he didn’t have anything left in the tank. That’s just simply not true. Just the way he can air the ball out and put a dime where he needs to. For example, the passes you just brought up. I just feel like he can do it and it’s like he’s not even 43 years old.”
Thoughts: You know he’s always gonna stick up for Tommy and ya gotta love it.
Arians on the special teams improvement:
“No doubt. You take that one play out on the [blocked] extra point and I thought it was a major win for special teams. Not only the blocked punt, but we had a punt return inside that set up a score. One bad penalty or we’d have run that punt after the safety all the way up to midfield. I think Mick (WR Jaydon Mickens) did a good job with his punt returns – handling the ball – and I thought Bradley Pinion had a hell of a game with the touchbacks [and] the three punts inside the 20[-yard line]. We pinned them back there all day. I thought our special teams really, really won the battle.”
Thoughts: The unit is light years away from what we saw in Week 1, even with the blocked PAT on Sunday.
Arians on Devin White’s effort to chase down the ball carrier after he initially slipped:
“He better get up and catch him because he’d never live that down in the film room. We’re in an all-out blitz and he tripped and his guy got out. He has such great speed [that] he ran him down. He looked like he was running in mud. That’s a play that Devin can make. He made that great play in Seattle last year where he chased the guy down and caused a fumble. His speed is always going to show up.”
Thoughts: The effort was fantastic and White has looked really good this year, but he does tend to play a little too fast and overrun things. It reminds me a lot of Vea during his first year; how he would just overpower people to the point where he overran plays. That’ll change with time, though.
Arians on using play action more often:
“Definitely. Tom [Brady] has been a great play-action guy for the last few years. Play action is only good if you’re running the ball. I think we’ve been running it adequately – better than we have in the past, so it should set up more and more play action.”
Thoughts: You don’t need the running game to be effective using play action, but even if you did, Tampa Bay was one of the most efficient teams when they used play action in 2019. The problem was they didn’t do it much. Hopefully Arians begins to incorporate it more often this year.