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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

09-14-2003 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the game) "I'd just like to congratulate Carolina. Joe Jurevicius has a knee sprain. (It) looks like he'll be out for a month, possibly. Brad Johnson has a pulled groin. We think he's going to be okay."

(On the blocked kicks) "Honestly, we got overpowered inside. It was all middle rush, nothing from the perimeter. We got overpowered inside today."

(On the officiating) "They were busy officials today. Obviously, far too many penalties, particularly on offense, on early downs. Having overcome the down and distance we did today against a darn good defense is very difficult. There were some calls that were questionable as there always are, but far too many penalties on Tampa today."

(On whether this is a better Carolina team than in the past) "We played them like this last year. We won a 12-9 game last year, and as was well documented, it was an ugly win. This is a very physical football team, and the additions that they made on offense, Jordan Gross and Stephen Davis. (They) have a young quarterback that is a confident customer. They're in year two of their program. They're a much better team. We had our chances, and again I compliment their performance today."

(On whether Carolina used any surprises on defense) "No. They used a lot of two-deep zone. You should be able to run the ball a little bit better. We were unable to do that. We had no field position in the first half. We just have to do a better job limiting the penalties and keeping ourselves in manageable situations. We had our chances, and we didn't get it done today."

(On the decision to run the ball on third and 15 in overtime) "It's a tough call. We didn't call that play, it was an audible as part of our package there. Carolina played a lot of double zone. They also played a lot of full blitz. In that field goal position, sometimes a seven or eight yard run puts Gramatica in position to make a game-winning field goal, or we do what we did. We punt the ball, and if we cover it they get the ball inside their 10 or 12 yard line, and we'll get our chance here in a little bit with good field position. That's a tough situation against Carolina. They will play all zone. They will play all blitz. That was part of our plan, and unfortunately it didn't work out."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On how tough this loss is) "It's been a hard time since we've lost. We played dismal football, 18 or 19 penalties makes it tough to win, but we are going to try and be positive. We gave ourselves a chance despite playing one of our worst ball games. Credit to them. They hung in, fought, and won."

K Martin Gramatica

(On recovering from today's tough performance) "You can't let it get you down. There is a lot more football to play. We just have to line it up and kick again. We have Atlanta next week, and we have to be ready. This is over. We have to learn from the mistakes."

QB Brad Johnson

(On the loss) "In this league, you either win or you lose, and you go home. Today, we lost. It hurts losing at home, especially the way we did, but that's the way it is."

(On penalties) "I've never been involved in a game with that many penalties. If you want to throw a penalty on every play, you probably can. It seemed like we came pretty close to that today. We did a lot of great things out there, but when you have as many penalties as we had it really hurts you in crucial times. We hurt ourselves obviously with the two field goals and extra point. Those really put us behind the eight ball."

(On coming back) "We did a great job of not panicking, even though we were under duress in the second half, coming from behind like we did. We had two minutes to go. We had an 87 yard drive that we put together. The big play to Karl Williams gave us some momentum. Then we did a great job of just letting things happen and letting the system take care of itself. It was an unbelievable comeback, and then we didn't finish it off with the extra point. It hurts. Football is the ultimate team game in all three phases. At some point we all kind hurt each other, and we'll look back and look at the mistakes more than the great plays today."

(On Keenan McCardell's touchdown) "He did a great job of staying patient with his route and really it was a big hole in there. (It was) probably one of the easier touchdowns that you'll throw."

WR Keyshawn Johnson

(On losing to Carolina) "Last year, we were 1-1 at this point and we went to the Super Bowl. There's no panic setting in for us. We just have to evaluate where we are at and what we did that was wrong out there and try to make the corrections."

(On if the blame for the game can be placed on the Bucs' special team) "It's not just special teams, but in general the whole team, the whole unit, did not play very well tonight. You look at what you did wrong, and you try to fix it, whether it is special teams, offense, defense, positions—You try to do that. That's pretty much all you can do."

(On if the short week affected the Bucs) "We were prepared. We've played in short weeks before. This is a professional football team. We know about short weeks. I think we just didn't answer the bell. Bottom line, we didn't answer the bell."

(On if he thought the game was won when the score was tied at nine) "I thought it was, but you never know. You still have to get one extra point, and we didn't execute and didn't convert it."

(On giving the Panthers credit for their play) "We take our hats off to them, but we'll see them down the line."

(On the penalties) "Some of them may have been correct calls, but it kills our offensive rhythm. We get going, take one step forward and then get knocked two steps back by the calls."

(On being frustrated offensively) "It's not frustrating, it's disappointing. We don't have to panic, we just evaluate this game, don't dwell on it, then shift focus to Atlanta. We will look at the good and bad plays and try to see what we did right and what we did wrong."

WR Keenan McCardell

(On losing in the fashion that the Buccaneers did) "We needed to just get that extra point off. It's never over until it's over. But they made a good play, so you have to give them credit."

(On his touchdown catch at the end of regulation) "It's a play we ran in practice. It was man-to-man coverage. They played the way we expected them to play it, and we got the touchdown."

DE Simeon Rice

(On the loss) "We all ate some humble pie today. But we're still excited about the next game. We've got to put everything in front of us, understand what it is. It's just one game."

(On mistakes the team made) "We gave them a lot of breaks. They're a good team. They are a really good team. We faced ourselves today. They're really good on defense and practical on offense. They do good things. They won today."

(On penalties) "A lot of them weren't real smart. But we played through it. We were right where we needed to be at the end of the game in terms of getting the victory. We had the possibility, but we let it go through our hands and we have to pick it up next week."

DT Warren Sapp

(On the Bucs' play today) "We just didn't play very smart at times and didn't capitalize on opportunities that were right in front of us."

(On his personal foul in the first half) "The dude [Carolina defender] grabbed [Mike] Alstott by the facemask and was lifting Mike up by the neck. I said, 'Ref, he's yanking him by the facemask.' He looks at me and say, 'Back up.' I say, 'What did I do?' And he throws the flag. I've said a lot worse than that."

(On expecting a close game against Carolina) "That's the kind of game we were expecting, so we talked about it all week. It was going to be a hard-fought, defensive game. It [a win] was staring us right in the face."

S Dwight Smith

(On the game) "They didn't make more plays than us. We just let ourselves get riled up, and (we made) too many stupid penalties."

(On if the loss hurts) "Any loss hurts, regardless if you lose by 50 or by one. They all hurt the same. The reason I think it hurt so much is because we beat ourselves. They didn't do anything to beat us. We put ourselves in a lot of field position areas."

(On if it is time for the Bucs to panic) "We were 1 and 1 this time last year, so it's nothing big. (We just need to) get back to the drawing board."

T Kenyatta Walker

(On the number of penalties called on the Bucs' offense) "Well, we had all those penalties, but we were still in a position to win the game. A couple of them hurt us worse than other, though. I don't think penalties lost this game. We drove the ball in the last two minutes and got a touchdown, but we just couldn't kick the extra point to win it. We have a great kicker back there, and we just have to protect him."

(On the role the referees played) "With 19 or 20 penalties, we still could've won the game. We would've been here talking about a good win. I'm going to look forward to playing them again."

Carolina Head Coach John Fox

(On the game) "It was a very hard-fought game. I was real proud of the way our team hung in there. It was more than a 60-minute fight, and I was real proud of how our guys were able to fight and get the win."

(On the three blocked kicks) "Well it's an attitude play, and we've come up with some big ones at some big times, thus far in just two games. Scott O'Brien and our special teams do an outstanding job in getting our defensive players involved. They create a lot of havoc in there."

(On the game-plan versus Tampa Bay) "We had some very hard-fought contests with them last year, and I told our team that I thought we improved. I said to the team, to expect to win and I know it's going to be a hostile environment. I was real proud of the way our guys came in here and fought."

(On his thoughts after Bucs Keenan McCardell's game-tying touchdown) "One of the things mentally you try to prepare your team for, is that we had a game like that in Charlotte last year, and I thought that was a real defining moment for their (Bucs) football team. Everybody knows its history and what kind of season they went on to have, and championship teams (win close games). Mentally you have to be able to win those tough, ugly games."

(On all of the penalties) "I think both defenses are very talented. I haven't been able to view the tape and see the legitimacies of some of those calls. It's part of the game, and I'm sure they saw something going on in there. I think it was a lot of offensive linemen trying to keep those defensive linemen out on both sides."

RB Stephen Davis

(On the game) "They're Super Bowl champs. We fought hard and never gave up. They are a good team. The thing we did was stay together as a team and (we) did whatever it took to win this game.

(On the Bucs) "I played (the Bucs) in the past and beat them. It always ends like that (in overtime)."

Carolina QB Jake Delhomme

(On the game) "Our defense was just playing their tails off all game long. Our special teams came through time after time. And offensively, we just couldn't punch it in. We were able to get some field goals, but would've certainly liked to punch it in. It was a good win. We would like to get better production out of the offense, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. But we got the win and it's a huge win. Two weeks in a row coming through and getting the win. They aren't champions for nothing. That's a great football team we were able to beat out there tonight. We were ready to play tonight. Defense and special teams played outstanding. We were able to get the win, again, which was huge."

(On any nerves starting the game) "Not at all. I did not get hit in the first-half at all. I was not even touched in the first half. When I dropped back to throw, I had plenty of time."

Carolina DT Kris Jenkins

(On how sweet the win was) "It feels great. That was probably one of the hardest games I've ever played in my life. But we found a way to pull it out, and that was probably one of the games that I'll never forget."

(On blocking two Buccaneers kicks) "On one block I went in to block it. On the second block, I went in to block it. It wasn't rocket science or anything."

(On how the Panthers knew which areas on the Bucs' kick-blocking unit to attack) "Scotty O'Brien [Carolina special teams coach] pointed that out, that they're real weak in a couple of areas. When he told us that, we just looked for those areas and we exploited them."

(On the sequence of the Panthers' three kick blocks) "I got one, Pep [Julius Peppers] got one, then I got another one."

(On the mentality the Panthers took in attempting to block kicks) "It wasn't more of the fact of trying to go and get the block. It was just doing something we had to do to stay in the game. Somebody had to get it."

Carolina K John Kasay

(On how close the game was) "I think to a man everyone thought it was going to be a 15-rounder, and it really was. Just back and forth,, back and forth, our guys battled and battled. They aren't the World Champions by accident, and you have to give a lot of credit to every guy in this locker room on how they battled."

(On being forced to re-kick the game winner because of a penalty) "It is almost how we do it in practice. We kick one and then we will back up. I have a lot of faith in Jason Kyle, our snapper and Todd Sauerbrun, our punter. Those guys work really hard. They make great snaps and great holds all day."

Carolina DE Julius Peppers

(On the game) "It was a good win and it was a long, hard, physical game."

(On Keenan McCardell's touchdown) "I thought they already had ten (points), so I already thought it was over. I didn't know we had a chance to block the extra point. I thought it was over and after I found out we had another chance everybody said, 'we have to block this to have a chance to win the game,' and that's what we did."

(On which defensive line is better) "They have four good players over there and we have four good players. That's for us to decide on the field. I don't know who is the best, I don't care to know who's the best, I just wanted to win the game."

DE Michael Rucker

(On the defensive performance) "We have a good defense, and I think we took a big step today."

(On the Bucs' offensive line) "They played well. I was able to get to the quarterback sometimes."

(On beating the Bucs to remain undefeated) "We beat a good football team today. This definitely was (a statement game today). It feels good to be 2-0."

(On the game's officiating) "Football is football, calls are missed during the course of a game."

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