Another week, another Bucs playoff win. I don’t know about y’all, but I could get used to this.
There was plenty of chatter throughout the game on Sunday night, but now it’s time to reflect on what’s been said afterward.
Let’s dive into this week’s best postgame quotes from the Bucs’ Divisional Round win over the Saints.
Bruce Arians on Devin White’s performance:
“It was great. Just to see Devin make those plays – that’s what he’s capable of making. Everybody was criticizing how he can’t cover anybody – I think he just proved that he can.”
Thoughts: Did anyone else think of Derrick Brooks and Super Bowl XXXVII when White intercepted Drew Brees’ pass? How about Ronde Barber? How about both? He was a man on a mission Sunday and it showed.
Arians on the postgame locker room celebration:
“It’s jamming pretty good right now. I don’t have any dance moves, so I’m not in it.”
Thoughts: I mean, I’d love to see Arians cut a rug. I bet he can get down, he’s just being humble. But in all seriousness, the Bucs deserve to celebrate however they feel fit (as long as it’s within the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, of course) after this win.
Arians on holding Michael Thomas to zero catches on four targets:
“Carlton [Davis III] has played him [well] over the years and he’s a physical corner. I thought Todd [Bowles] had a great gameplan for all their guys. [Jared] Cook and Deonte Harris were the guys that scared me, but the guys really punched the ball out – got one [fumble] with Cook and got the interception from him. The guys really stepped up.”
Thoughts: Per PFF, Davis held Thomas to two receptions for nine yards on 67% of coverage snaps in Week 1 and to three receptions for 33 yards on 56% of coverage snaps in Week 9. Last night was his best performance yet as he held Thomas to zero receptions on 72% of coverage snaps. I think its safe to say the Bucs have figured out how to contain Thomas.
Arians on Antoine Winfield Jr.’s forced fumble:
“I can’t say enough about him. To me, he’s the Defensive Rookie of the Year. 7.5 sacks isn’t anything [compared] to what he’s done.”
Thoughts: You can certainly argue that this was the play of the game on defense. Regardless, Arians is right. AWjr’s value to this team has been invaluable. You can’t put a price on it.
Leonard Fournette on his and Ronald Jones II’s performance Sunday night:
“I’m telling Ro, excuse my language, but ‘[Forget] the injury. We need you, I’m not going to lie to you – we need you.’ I’ve been in these types of games. It’s funny – we have four good running backs – Ro came in fresh; I came in fresh. I said, ‘Man, understand this – you don’t get many chances to make it to the playoffs [and] to have the run that we’re on right now.’ I’m a living example. We (the Jacksonville Jaguars) went from the AFC Championship to the next two years not even making it to the playoffs. So big congrats to Ro for fighting through the injury – a hand and a quad. That’s difficult to play with. I played with it in college and it’s hard. Also, shoutout to coach T-Mac (Todd McNair) who was drilling us on the sideline every possession, giving us tips. ‘[Did] you see that look Leonard? How do you feel about this run? How do you feel about that?’ They did a great job as a whole with our running back coach too.”
Thoughts: This is a great quote. You have to love the humility from Fournette. He’s right, too. The playoffs aren’t automatic. You never know when you’re going to get another shot. What he said worked, as well. RoJo had some big runs and would’ve had an even bigger night if it weren’t for terribly timed holding call. His comment regarding running backs coach Todd McNair is a cool piece of insight, too.
Sean Murphy-Bunting on what gave the team confidence after losing the previous two meetings:
“We played like we had total belief. At the end of the day, the entire year we believed we could win games, but I don’t think that everybody was on the same page and communicating and doing those things. But tonight was just different. Guys were out there flying around from the first quarter to the fourth quarter and there wasn’t any hesitation in between. Usually we start games slow and then we’ve got to pick it up and fight back, but going into halftime… it was tied. It was just different – it was a different atmosphere, it was a different team [and] it was a different unit because everybody was together. Everybody went into this game knowing we could win the game. Not just going in to play – we went in to win and came out with that outcome.”
Thoughts: It’s highly unlikely that an NFL team will self-doubt heading into a playoff game, but it was essential for the Bucs to carry the utmost confidence for four quarters against the Saints. That’s mainly due to the fact that the Saints were going to hit the Bucs in the mouth a few times, so it was up to the Bucs to have the moxy to take the hits and then deliver their own. That’s exactly what the Bucs did and it won them the game.
Ndamukong Suh on the team’s mindset and how it’s impacted their play over the recent weeks:
“I think it’s definitely having the mindset of understanding that you kind of control your own destiny from a standpoint of how we got into the playoffs and how we finished off into the playoffs being the fifth seed and controlling our mindset in that aspect. Then, knowing we needed to get on the road and take care of business against Washington and then see where the chips fell. That had us going back to New Orleans, which I was happy about from a standpoint [that] as a team, we needed to go out, challenge and beat [the Saints], which we were fortunate enough to do in a good fashion from the defensive side of the ball [by] getting so many turnovers. My intent is all about the keys for us continuing to play at a high level. I think for a young guy like [Devin White] to recognize that and see that as an important piece and knowing that we need to stay focused on that as well as executing, we should be in a good place going into this Packers game.”
Thoughts: Suh sounds like the wise veteran guiding the youngsters to glory. He’s a rather humble interview for someone who can be as fierce as he is on the field.
Arians on the big plays from Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller and Brady’s trust level with them:
“He sees those guys work so hard on the practice field and he’s got a great rapport with all of them – especially Scotty. Tyler – very few guys can twist and turn and make that catch. Tom put it out there and he knew Tyler could make that catch. He’s got a great, great future.”
Thoughts: Johnson’s reception was one of the more clutch plays of the year. We all know what Scotty can do and it was awesome to see him make a big play on a big stage.
Cameron Brate on the team’s demeanor, especially when trailing early in the game:
“I think that just goes back to how the regular season played out [and] some of the games we played – the Chargers game, the Falcons game – where we got down big deficits and we were able to come back. We didn’t really get down big during this game, but we weren’t always running smoothly on offense. We just kind of had a feeling that we were going to figure it out.”
Thoughts: I don’t know about y’all, but this sounds like straight-up confidence to me. The Bucs just conquered arguably their greatest foe and they now have two playoff wins under their belt. This team has every right to feel like it can do anything it wants to at this point.
Arians on the contributions from players the Bucs drafted:
“I’ve got to say, Jason [Licht] is the main reason I came back in coaching. I knew how good of an evaluator he was and having worked with him. We shared the same vision we were going to build this thing on defense. We’ll score enough points. Just building the roster the way he has and being able to get Tom [Brady], Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and Leonard [Fournette] and still be really cap friendly with this roster that we have. We believed RoJo (Ronald Jones II) was a player – he had all that talent, it was just a matter of maturity. Can’t say enough about what Jason has done. To me, he’s Executive of the Year just pulling off all that stuff that he did.”
Thoughts: Licht really has done a tremendous job in helping shape the roster. Players like Davis, White, AWjr, Tristan Wirfs, and many others are major contributors and are a big reason why the Bucs are where they currently are. It would be something if Licht won the Executive of the Year award. I’m certainly here for it.