Tampa Bay Buccaneers

01-12-2003 - Post Game Quotes


(On playing at Philadelphia) "It's been tough the past few times going up there and losing, but this is a different ball club (Buccaneers), a different frame of mind, a different offense. So, it's a totally different situation for us."

(On Tampa Bay's offense) "We've been doing some good things at the end of the year, and the balanced attack of our offense is coming out at the right time."

(On playing Philadelphia next week) "The confidence is there. (Philadelphia) is a great ball club, but we're a different team than the last two years. This team (Buccaneers) has a lot of confidence."


(On defending the 49ers receivers) "We have faced some pretty good receivers in our time, and the match-up problems always exist, but in the end it doesn't seem to matter. We just do what we do. We are a good secondary, good defense, and we are not intimidated by anyone."

(On playing at Philadelphia) "I like playing in the cold. We can't let that be a factor. We are on a quest, and there's no stopping it.

"We have some demons up there that would be nice to erase. It's about us, not about them. And, we'll go out and play our best game."

(On today's game plan) "We didn't know exactly what they were doing, but we had a pretty good game plan. It's one of the better game plans we put together. I think everybody in our defense was confident and that we would go out there and get things done to play."

(On the game) "We came to play. We should have. We had a whole week off. We got guys refreshed; we got guys mentally focused, and we came out with a focus. We are on a quest now."

(On the offense) "I think our offense is playing so well. I don't think they (San Francisco) had it in them to do what they did last week. Our offense was scoring at will. I think that was our game plan: get them down early. I think we were clicking on all cylinders. You can't explain the comfort level on defense when you know the offense is going to score."


(On going to Philadelphia) "They're an excellent football team. They've earned the right to host the NFC Championship Game. We've been a good road team. Now it's the challenge before us, and we've got to go up there and meet it."

(On containing Jeff Garcia) "I think it was a combination of rush, disciplined rushing lanes, good pursuit and staying with our guys down field. He's a guy who scrambles to throw the ball, and we've got prior experience playing against that. I think that helped us. Jeff is a tremendous player, but I think we just did a good job of covering down field, along with covering our rushing lanes."


(On Tampa Bay scoring touchdowns) "It's disheartening when you're able to move the ball and have to settle for field goals. Then when the other team scores a touchdown, you're right back in a dog fight. It's huge, especially in the playoffs, to get touchdowns in the Red Zone."

(On Tampa Bay balancing the run and the pass) "It's huge when you can make the defense have to defend against the run and the pass. Whenever the defense only has to defend against the pass, they hit you with blitzes and it makes life miserable. When you pass and then come back and hit them with the run, you've got to be able to gain yards, and that's what we were able to do today."


(On Tampa Bay's offense) "It was important for us to get a good start with Brad (Johnson) in his first week back. And it will be important for us to continue that next week."

(On Brad Johnson's performance) "Brad's been pretty consistent all year, so you've got to expect good things. He knew he was going to lead us to victory today."


(On the game) "It was a total team effort, and we were very complimentary of each other. Usually, we don't turn the ball over, and the defense creates turnovers for us. The defense was dominant, and those guys have been together for six or seven years. They've been doing it year in and year out. We really came together at this game."

(On the offensive line) "The offensive line was awesome today. They gave me a lot of protection back there. We got the ball out of our hands quickly. It was a lot of fun out there."

(On playing at home) "The fans were unbelievable out there. You always hear about the 12th man. That's what home-field advantage does for you. Our fans couldn't have been better."

(On WR Joe Jurevicius' offensive contributions) "Joe is our X-factor this year. Lots of times when he comes in the game, they will put a nickel guy on him, and it's a mismatch for him when he comes in as a wide receiver. He's a very dominant receiver. He makes grabs and catches, and he's a physical receiver. The great thing about Joe – he makes yards after the catch."

(On the Bucs' offensive progression this season) "If you look at from mid-season on, we really took off. Everyone talks about the defense, but we actually scored over 20 points per game. I think we earned our respect. It's been a lot of fun this year."

(On playing at Philadelphia) "We are anxious to play in Philly. We know the work we have cut out for us. They earned the right to have home field advantage because they went 12-4 and had a great year. It is a great environment. We just have to go up there, play ball and let it ride."

(On his eye injury) "It was a crazy play – a play I was trying to run, which doesn't happen often, and his (LB Derek Smith) head got in there and tore me open. I could feel the blood start flowing immediately as I stepped on the field to give (backup QB Rob Johnson) some time to get his arm loose and get a few snaps. This injury didn't affect me and won't affect me next week."


(On the game) "We had something in our grasp and we had to go get it." We know the value of this. The question wasn't were we going to finish this drive or play, rather it was let's just finish."

(On Brad Johnson) "There were a lot of articles in the paper this week about a certain quarterback named Brad. Now you guys know how valuable he is to our team. We always knew it. He's one tough guy. He did an unbelievable job dispersing the ball today to tight ends, to running backs, to receivers…it just shows you what can be done if we continue that trend."

(On Brad Johnson's touchdown throw to him in the corner) "On a scale of 1 to 10, that was a 100. That was a great throw. We worked on it in practice and (Johnson) perfected it. Hats off to him."


(On Playing the Eagles in the NFC Championship) "We are as experienced as a team as we ever have been, and when we get challenges like this, we seem to respond. This certainly is a tough challenge, but if we want to get to the Super Bowl, that's the road we've got to go through. But, I think we're confident that we can go up there and get it done."

(On the Team's Performance Today) "I think it was a team performance, and I think a lot of that credit goes to the offense the first half of the game. We (defense) were not on the field at all."


(On winning the game) "To still be playing in the middle of January is a big accomplishment."


(On Brad Johnson) "He's the leader of this team and he showed it today. The guy was on. We just fed off of Brad's fire. I'm just glad he's back."

(On capitalizing on turnovers) "That was big. Turnovers are a key. I don't even know how many our defense got, but our defense shut them out of the end zone."


(On the Game) "We knew it was going to be a physical, they were talking a lot of trash about we're not physical up front. And we knew we were physical, and it was just the point of going out and showing it."

(On Playing at Home) "It was great. I wish we had another road game, but now we just have to take the show on the road and get a 'W'."

(On Going Back to Philadelphia) "It is definitely fitting. We knew the possibility of going back there at the end of the season. But, we are prepared and know what we're facing, and we'll be ready."


(On the defense) "It was vital what we wanted to do on defense. We wanted to keep them off the board, and we did that. We let them settle for field goals, and we put big points up on offense and played together as a team. I think that is moreover what we will remember from this. We played together."

"Everything worked out well. We needed the guys on defense to set up, and they did that. We got a lot of help from the guys who came in. When you have guys stepping up and playing off of one another, you're going to have a good defense."

(On defending the 49ers' no-huddle offense) "We are conditioned. We understand our circumstances. We needed this one by any means necessary. We needed to play with a lot of energy, and we did that. We needed to play off each other well; we did that. If anything messed them (San Francisco) up, we had the crowd behind us. So, we had the edge. They couldn't get off on the ball and couldn't hear the snap count, so we were rolling.

(On having to play at Philadelphia) "It's okay. We are ready for that. We put ourselves into the situation. If we didn't, we would have gone out today and lost. So this is the situation we are back in. This is what it's all about: big time 60 minutes to glory."


(On the Buccaneers) "I have felt this club was special since we went to camp."

(On Jon Gruden) "He's meant the world. You can ask every guy…(Gruden) will touch every guy with a 30-second speech. He'll touch every guy in the room. That's just something special about him. He's got us feeling special about ourselves. Every day, he's telling us that he loves us. That's something a little strange – telling 58 men that you love them. But we know that he does, and we love him too. So we just want to go out and kill for him."

(On going to the NFC Championship) "The greatest part of playing in the championship game is being 60 minutes away from the greatest show on earth."

(On when the comfort level set in today) "As soon as we got up 7-0. Our offense was rolling today. All we had to do was stick a couple of three-and-outs. Jon (Gruden) has an attack that's working right now.

(On today's match-ups) We knew (Joe) Jurevicius and the boys could handle them out there on the corners because their corners are out, and (Mike) Rumph is in there, and we had the favorable match-ups. We had a favorable match-up with their O-line and our D-line. We thought we could take advantage of them. We wanted to kill their running game."

(On rattling 49ers QB Jeff Garcia) "A veteran quarterback like that you really can't look in their eyes and see something if they are scared. This guy has seen a number of defenses, but we are something special. We had their man bracketed. T.O. (Terrell Owens) wasn't open. He was looking for places to go, and there wasn't anywhere to go."


(On San Francisco) "They thought they could just do the same things they did against other teams. We just played our game."

(On Philadelphia) "The atmosphere around there is a little different. But if we go and play our game and don't let the media get to us and don't let the weather get to us, we'll be okay."


(On the game and playing Philadelphia next week) "It was a big win for us. It was something we definitely needed. We have a big game against Philly coming up. It's going to be a big game in Philly. It's going to be a good week. One more game to the Super Bowl… It's a magical feeling right now. I'm looking forward to it."

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