Head Coach Raheem Morris
(Opening statement) It was a tough-fought game by a young football team. We got overpowered there at the end, and really throughout the game as far as the running game. They were able to run the ball at eight-man fronts, which was a credit to the Carolina Panthers and the offensive line that we talked about earlier in the week. They did have the turnovers which we thought they would have. We were able to capitalize on some of those things and make plays. We came out early and on the first drive of the game we were able to score. With a young offense, we were able to move the ball but not able to punch it in like the rest of those drives, whether we ended it with a penalty or we ended it with a turnover. Were young and cant overcome those types of mistakes right now, and weve got to learn how to do that or not make them one or the other.
(On the Panthers final drive) Fifteen straight runs. One being a pass which was called a run because we didnt let Steve Smith go without getting a completion. They were able to run it right at us. Eight-man fronts, blitzes, whatever you were able to do, that offensive line. We talked about earlier in the week they had a very good offensive line. And weve either got to get better up front or weve got to get better people, and weve got to do that. Weve got to find a way to stop the run when it counts, and that was one of the times it counted.
(On if it was more frustrating because the Bucs had some big plays and people step up) No, because thats just a sign that the teams playing, thats a sign to the guys you have some of the right guys that are in the right spots. Tanard Jackson making that big play to put that thing back to 21-21. Sammie Stroughter being a young guy, a seventh-round draft pick, that weve talked about from the beginning of camp, OTA (Organized Team Activity) days, and going right into the season doing it the same way - just stepping in when we needed him to. [With] Clifton Smith going down, him coming in and getting a kickoff return, it put a spark right back into the football team and everybody else. Those plays dont make it more frustrating, that makes it more exciting. That makes me challenge, that makes me ready to work harder, and prepare to have more situations like that so we can be ready to go. Those are the encouraging parts; those are the things that you love to see. Weve just got to fight through how we stop the run when it counts, how are we going to do it. We were eight-man fronts and they ran the ball right at us. Weve got to beat a man physically and youve got to win. That last drive was the giant type of physicality. When you get beat up, you get overpowered, and thats when youve got to get better. We talked about that earlier, we talk about it all the time and we talk about it often.
(On if the team rallied after Clifton Smiths injury) It wasnt that it wasnt a rally. Its not a time to get caught up in any emotional part of the game right there. If you get caught up in an emotional part of the game, you go out there and do something stupid. You follow up one stupid act with another one, thats just not the way its going to be around here. You go into halftime right after that happens, come out of halftime and you throw an interception. Theres nothing to be rallied from with an interception. Theres nothing to come out like that and give up a touchdown right there. That was a turnover that you can overcome. The rally part was Sammie Stroughter getting in there and running it back. That did rally us. It was Tanard Jackson picking off a pass and putting us back in that game. So it rallies you, it just came at some bad situations as far as that interception right there when we were coming out of the half. They get a quick and easy touchdown. And then you come back and they move the ball on us a little bit, get another touchdown. Then weve got to come back with the rally stuff. Youve got to come back with the fight for Clifton [Smith], and they did.
WR Antonio Bryant
(On why the team wasnt able to build on the momentum on both sides of the ball) I cant say for both sides of the ball. I think special teams did a great job, they blocked a field goal, returned a kickoff, Sammie had a great game. The defense came up with the turnovers, we needed Delhomme to fumble and the defense came up with the fumble. We had interceptions, two or three of them; one went back for a touchdown. Offense we put up one touchdown and then we kind of went flat. Thats kind of the summary of the game.
(On what needs to happen to get the momentum going) I dont know. I havent seen anything like that. We definitely have a lot of playmakers on the field but there arent enough plays being made. We are struggling and we have to find a way to finish.
C Jeff Faine
(On how his tricep felt during the game) The strength was there. I tweaked it two or three times but it is just something that I have to deal with. The strength was there, the functioning was there and it felt great to just get back out there and play some ball.
(On the running game) Its kind of the story of the year. It is all self inflicted stuff such as coming out of the half and throwing an interception. There are little things here and there, just all across the board that happened the entire game. We kept stubbing our foot. Coming out of that first drive, I felt like we would be able to move the ball pretty well on them all day. We werent able to do it on them like we really wanted to. It was the little mistakes here and there.
LB Geno Hayes
(On what was going on with the last drive) I think we just had our breakdowns. Its something we have to correct and go from there. Its bad on our part but we just have to get it corrected.
(On matching up with Carolina) We match up well. Look, I think we match up well against everybody. Its just one of those games where everything has been one or two plays, thats it, determines the game. So thats how we have to take it and keep moving.
(On Carolinas running game) Thats something I cant really talk about because I dont really know what happened on the field until we watch film. So I cant really speak on that.
S Tanard Jackson
(On being able to fight back into the game) Just guys wanting to get a W. We were doing whatever we needed to do to get a W. Obviously it wasnt enough because we didnt come out with the outcome we wanted to but we fought. Our young player, Sammie [Stroughter] made a nice play on special teams. We were able to force some turnovers on defense in the second half but like Raheem [Morris] said, it just wasnt enough. Until we understand that, understand that its not enough, we have to keep fighting.
(On his interception return for a touchdown) I just read Jake [Delhommes] eyes. I was the free player in that play and was on Jakes eyes the whole time. He stared it down and I was able to make a play on the ball.
QB Josh Johnson
(On how he felt he played) Obviously, I didnt do enough. We came up short again. Its never enough when you lose. Ive got to see the film tomorrow to critique more of the individual performance. But the way I feel right now, I dont feel good at all about it because of the fact we had an opportunity in the beginning of the second half, but for me to turn the ball over kind of set the game back from that standpoint. Overall, the whole game when we got past the 50 we would kill ourselves. Right now I cant really evaluate individually, but for how I feel right now I dont feel too good.
(On facing a lot of second and third-and-longs) We hurt ourselves a lot today with penalties. It seemed like their goal was to eliminate the big play. They were going to keep two-high safeties. We were able to get Cadillac and our running game going early. When we put ourselves in second and third and long it hurts our ability to keep giving him the ball. He was having a heck of a game. Weve got to keep ourselves out of those situations. Its tough in this league to convert third-and-long after third-and-long. It takes a toll on your offense.
(On his interception at the beginning of the second half) I was trying to get the corner route into Mike [Clayton]. The guy carried him, but he leveled off and I felt like I could throw it over him. He made a great play and jumped. I didnt really think he would get up that high. I thought it would drop into Mike, I was trying to get a play downfield to get us going. I would have probably been better off maybe throwing it underneath, but that comes with the territory. From what I saw on the field, I thought I could make the throw. I thought I could get it in there to Mike.
(On guys being open downfield) At times we had guys downfield if I had been able to have a split-second longer, but it happens. They have guys like Julius Peppers, and guys of that nature so they are going to create a pass rush. That comes with the nature of being in the second and third-and-longs because those routes take a little longer to develop. I was trying to sit in there as long as I could to try to buy some time because we might have an opportunity downfield and I hurt us with maybe two sacks trying to do that. I feel like we had some opportunities to get some shots when they decided to mix their coverage up, but you have to give their d-line credit because they applied pressure those times to knock our offense off rhythm.
G Davin Joseph
(On him being in on a big play and not being able to convert on it) We had enough plays today to be able to win. I thought we did well as a team, its just the final score doesnt show it. We didnt make enough plays. We made a lot of big plays today but we didnt make enough plays to win the game.
(On making improvement on their play) I mean, weve improved. The guys really show up and we have a young team, but thats not an excuse. Some inconsistencies as far as our plays but you see a lot of guys really giving it their all. Thats what it takes to be able to win. Its going to pay off for us.
(On how they are going to push through the loss) We just have to keep on going into next week. We have to learn from our mistakes and just keep on pushing.
WR Sammie Stroughter
(On his kickoff return for a touchdown) It was a great setup. Coach had called a great play. Adam Hayward, Brian Clark, and Maurice Stovall; just to name a few, had set it up with a great block. It was one of those things where it was like they all parted. Thank the Lord for allowing me to have that extra drive to put it in.
(On breaking tackles on his touchdown) It was one of those things where in the back of my mind I kept hearing coach Rich [Bisaccia] say you better not let that kicker tackle you. Thank the Lord for giving me that vision and the power to get through and finish the play.
(On making plays in the passing game) Whenever your number is called you just have to try and make the most of it. I know things arent clicking right now, but we are a good team on offense, defense, and special teams. We are just a little bit away. We have to seize the day on every play and take advantage of it.
DE Stylez G. White
(On the final drive by the Panthers) I dont know what happened. If we knew, we probably wouldve stopped it. They outplayed us on that last drive.
(On what went wrong after that good start offensively) I want to say that we played well enough to win, but we didnt. We had to stop them from scoring and we didnt. Thats the bottom line. Its on us.
DE/DT Jimmy Wilkerson
(On what happened on the last drive) They just had some good plays. They gashed us up the middle in the C' gaps. We just didnt fill them good enough.
(On Carolina running the ball on the last drive) I think that was their mentality within the two minute. They knew we didnt have very many timeouts so they were going to try to drive the ball and tire out our defense and try to punch it in from there.
(On whether the defense was worn down not being able to stop the run) I dont think so. I really cant say what happened behind us. All I can say is we need to do a better job controlling the gaps up front.
RB Carnell Williams
(On the game) That was a tough loss, but it hurts. Its Carolina. Its a rivalry game. Its one of those things where we were so close to winning. We had the momentum and they basically just took the air out of us.
(On the final drive being tough to watch not being able to do anything) No doubt. It was very tough to watch. You just felt like on offense the way things were going, the way we felt, we were going to have the chance to put it back in, but we couldnt. Before that drive we just left so many opportunities out there on offense and defense. We just have to come together and continue to play better and make plays.
(On his touchdown run) The offensive line did a great job coming off the ball. Carolina, I caught them where they were pursuing the defensive end cheating so I just cut back and it was there.
Head Coach John Fox
(On the last drive of the game) We had a couple of mishaps in the passing game, prior to that, and I thought we ran the ball pretty successfully all day and I thought our guys did a great job executing when they needed to.
(On the problems with the passing game) Id rather not. Right now we got a W, Id better not talk about problems.
(On DeAngelo Williams running for over 100 yards) It was a matter of time. I think in an offense it takes a little longer to get the running game going. We didnt jump out of the blocks with any great shakes last year and its something weve worked hard on. Weve worked hard in practice and I think were getting a little bit better as we go. But theyre both fine backs. They need blocking like everybody but they do some things on their own because theyre both special players.
(On the mentality late in the game) Yeah, the way the game played out with what happened with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter I thought it was right up our alley and our guys responded and thats everybody. The line, the tight ends, fullback, both runners, everybody involved even our wideouts blocking was critical.
(On Dante Wesleys intent on the punt return) I really didnt talk about it. I know the kid and I know the kids character and I know he would never do anything like that intentionally, anything cheap. Its unfortunate, but it happens. Im sure hell learn from it.
(On getting his second win) Weve won two games. Unfortunately, we lost three games before that, so it kind of is what it is right now and weve got this one behind us and now we got to get ready for Buffalo.
(On if this was the effort he expected out of Tampa Bay) I think theyre playing hard. I told Raheem after the game, I think these guys are fighting for you. They got a young team just like we do, so I thought they played their tails off.
(On the defensive performance) Yeah, I think we go out of our way to give people points other ways, but I thought defensively the last couple of weeks we played well enough for us to win. Luckily it worked out that way today.
LB Jon Beason
(On the performance of the defense today) I wish we couldve had back some mistakes that we made but besides that I think we played pretty good. They got some first downs on us on third down. We have got to be a little better early on but bend dont break.
(On the interception at the start of the second half and the momentum it gave you) The way the first half ended we knew they were going to come out and play. For Thomas Davis to go out there and make that game changing play to put our offense in scoring position and go in and get seven points was huge for us.
QB Jake Delhomme
(On the last drive) Well, I mean we ran the ball effectively I thought throughout the course of the day. And they kind of knew we were going to do that and were backed up on the four and thats what our intentions were to keep getting five and six yards a carry. But you know guys stepped up. Weve been saying the running games coming, its getting close. I think today it showed and they were giving it to us. I mean two guys committed to [Steve] Smith every play but maybe one or two. You got to run the football and we did that today. Our two guys ran great but our o-line did a great job.
(On DeAngelo Williams performance) I keep saying you can see it was coming. It was getting close. The run game just doesnt happen and he ran well, Stewey ran well. Even DeAngelos touchdown run, the first one, you know Steve [Smith] blocking the corner and DeAngelo made the linebacker miss, safety filled the wrong place and he got around. And on [Jonathan] Stewart, the same thing, he broke it out and Mus [Muhsin Muhammed] was able to hit the corner so those guys were doing a great job. Im sure its frustrating for them. Thats where they probably like to get some more footballs, but you got to take what they give you.
(On the last drive) In the fourth quarter is where you usually like to see or usually see big runs. I dont know the exact time of possession on the last drive but you can just sense that the first downs were huge. We were getting big chunks on first downs and we were running. We only had one little throw in there but we were running the same plays we ran all day, taking what they were giving us. Certainly when you can run the football effectively and move the chains, I think its in favor of the offense, especially the o-line compared to the defensive front.
(On concerns about struggling in the passing game) Well you know what, we would like to do more. I dont think theres any doubt, but were trying to take exactly what theyre giving us and thats, I mean, what theyre giving us is go ahead run the football. We need to be more precise in the passing game. I dont think theres any doubt and I think were all working towards that. Were lucky it didnt come back to bite us today. But its something were working towards. But if teams are going to play us the way they have been playing, we got to run the football like we did.
(On Steve Smith) When theyre doubling Steve [Smith] and theyre playing a lot of coverage, there is not a lot there, so getting one on one opportunities and really the one time we almost had a one on one with Steve he gets, they called it. It wasnt interference. It was illegal contact down the field. We were taking a shot and everything else we were trying to go. We were trying to take some shots down the field but its difficult but thats when you got to run the football.
CB Chris Gamble
(On the teams performance in the last drive) Things are going to happen like that. This is our division rival. We just have to come out and play hard and thats what we did. Even though they had the momentum we had to finish and thats what we did. We did a great job. Offense did a great job today finishing.
(On the feeling of being on the opposite side during the last drive) I know they were tired, we did a great job of running the ball. The offense did good and I know they were tired, so that was good for us.
(On how the momentum of the win will carry forward) Were just going to focus on Buffalo this week, try to get a win, do the same thing we did a week ago and just have fun at the same time.
T Jordan Gross
(On the last drive) They were out there trying to stop us just as much as we were trying to get it. The opportunity to run 15 out of 16 plays felt great especially after that was such a frustration for us last week.
(On Tampa trying to avoid being run on) Every week youre trying to do that. I dont think if youre in the NFL you can use reminders of what your job should be. Our defense did a great job giving us short fields. We were always in a position whenever we were either tied or behind and being able to trust in our defense and lean on them a little more. So it feels good to be able to do that.
RB Jonathan Stewart
(On the run game) They were giving us a lot of room up the field. A couple of runs felt like it was in practice. Thats how much we emphasized the running game this week. The offensive line did a tremendous job.
(On running the ball when the game is on the line) Especially at the end its all about ball control, working the clock and keeping the ball from the other team. The way were playing today, our running game was very effective. We had a lot of openings in the running game.
(On the last drive of the game) Well, it just goes to our offensive line, wide receivers, and Brad Hoover doing the blocking for us. I think they did a great job up front. I think the Bucs knew what was coming, what we were going to do with the ball and our O-line and our wide receivers and our fullbacks did a great job of blocking them up and allowing me and Jonathan Stewart to hit the little seams and pick up yards.
(On the Bucs knowing what you were going to do with the ball and still being able to run) Well, its a good feeling when they are able to open up holes. I dont know if it changes one way or another if they know whats coming or not. My hats off to the O-line and the wide receivers and the fullback today, and the tight ends because they did a great job out there tonight. There were sometimes tonight where they had nine in the box and we were still getting seven or eight yards because they were just moving guys out there.
*(On if the Bucs were keying on the run during the last drive) * Im not sure if they were keying on the run but Im sure everyone in the stadium knew what we were going to do. Again, it goes back to the guys up front, they made their presence felt up there tonight as well as the wide receivers blocking the corners and safeties. I think it was a great all around job by our offense in the run game, and in the passing game today.
(On gaining confidence by the ability to run the ball today) Well its definitely a good starting point. We havent been really successful all year running the ball and I think we stuck to our game plan today. When it came down to it, they put it on the O-line to get us to the promised land and we ultimately won the game with the offensive line and the wide-outs.
(On giving up a 14 point lead and being able to pull out a win) Well, this is our second time in a row doing this and coming up with wins. We are used to it, we are used to playing from behind and coming back and winning games. We are used to keeping a lead and it being close and we win games. Weve seen every type of game we can possible imagine. As long as we come out with a victory, thats what we are shooting for in the end.