Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10-22-2006 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the overall game) "I would just like to say it is a very exciting, thrilling victory and I am very proud of our football team. Obviously, Matt Bryant gets his own room when we go on the road now and anything else he wants, he gets. That's one of the most dramatic finishes to a football game any of us will ever see. To beat a team like Philadelphia is a great accomplishment. I don't care what the statistics say; to be 0-4 and buried by a lot of people, to beat Cincinnati and Philadelphia, two of arguably the best teams in football, is a great accomplishment. It wasn't always pretty, but I tip my hat off to our players and our coaches."

(On the decision to try for the field goal) "Well, you see him kick off prior to the Eagles last scoring drive. There was a little breeze down there, not much today, and he bombed it out of the end zone. I saw him kick two 54-yarders on our practice field this week. I just had a feeling that if he got the ball up, if we could protect where he could really get the ball up, he could make it. What can I say? It was a great, great, great outcome today."

(On whether he was stunned when Matt Bryant made the field goal) "Yes, I was stunned. I don't make a living doing this, kicking 61 or 62 yard field goals to determine outcomes of games. I am big believer in working hard and probability and studying football and trying to manufacture plays and all that. But to count on a 62-yarder on a day like this is hard to do."

(On going for the field goal instead of passing the ball) "We thought about it and we had a pretty good play prior to the field goal. Bruce [Gradkowski] tripped, got tripped coming out of the center. We had Alex Smith, I think, on our sideline for about a six-yard gain to make it a legitimate opportunity to kick it, but we got stepped on, had to throw the ball away. I just went back to what he [Matt Bryant] did on the practice field. I know he has long range capability and I'm glad we went with that decision."

(On whether he has ever seen a bigger swing of emotion than today's between the Eagle touchdown and the Buccaneer winning field goal) "No, not really, I mean, what can you say about [Brian] Westbrook? He is a magnificent player. [Donovan] McNabb for crying out loud, in this weather, in this heat, for him to do what he did today, after throwing three interceptions, tells you he's a heck of a player. For them to come from behind and get the lead with seconds remaining is a credit to them. I also credit our offensive football team and Michael Pittman for getting a good return, collecting some yardage to put ourselves in a position for a chance."

(On the percentage chance he thought Matt Bryant had in making that final field goal) "Well, how many have been made in the history of football? You know what I mean. Not very good. Again, I have seen a lot of attempts in my day and I have seen a lot of guys with strong legs come close and that is all you're hoping for in that situation."

CB Ronde Barber

(On K Matt Bryant's kick at the end of the game) "I think everybody on the sideline after the, you can call it a collapse because it was a collapse in the fourth quarter, there were a lot of negative vibes going. I think everybody banded together, put some positive thoughts on Matt [Bryant], he drilled it. I think from the moment it came off his foot everybody knew it was going through the goal posts. It's an incredible win for us. [It's a] testament in being a team. It doesn't take just one player or one or two plays, you never know. I'm at a loss for words right now."

(On going from the Eagles touchdown to the game winning kick) "[There was] terrible tackling on that play. I think we missed three tackles on that one play. [Brian] Westbrook is a heck of a back, but we just have to get him on the ground. You know what set this all up though was Michael Pittman's kickoff return. It was huge for us. Two or three good plays, the catch by [Michael] Clayton and the run by Bruce [Gradkowski], set us up to make history. It's a good feeling right now."

(On his performance in today's game) "You get opportunities. We've had a bunch of them in the course of the season. In the secondary, especially, and we haven't taken advantage of them. I told these guys it's not alright anymore to leave these opportunities out there. I talked the talk, I guess I walked the walk."

(On K Matt Bryant) "We've always been behind him, have a lot of faith in him. It's great for us as a team for him to make that it. This will drive us. Whenever we're down, whenever we're feeling despondent or whatnot, we can look at this win and say we could find a way to do it."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On what DE Simeon Rice said to him after RB Brian Westbrook's touchdown) "Sometimes you want those moments to remain private. It's just kind of funny because normally, I was down because I was the first guy to miss a tackle, and normally, role reversal, I'm the guy that usually is the one that comes with the positive words, pep in your step. In this particular instance Simeon [Rice] lifted me up. He said he had a good feeling, just stay positive, and just reminded me of the situation. The offense returning the ball out, two timeouts and I just looked up and obviously saw the things he was talking about and the play was made."

(On the missed tackle on RB Brian Westbrook's touchdown) "It's funny because the things that you do the most in critical times seem to fail you. Again, I've made that tackle probably 500 [times] of my whatever tackles I made. I missed it. I guess the discouraging thing is the pursuit after that. We all missed him. That's partly because the guys are used to me bringing the guy down and they're not having to make that tackle. This is just, personally, an opportunity that I've just taken to stay humble and just go up for God with this effort. This was big for us. Who knows where it's going to take us. But for right now, this is probably one of the biggest wins of my career."

(On his missed tackle being an opportunity for K Matt Bryant) "It's because you ask for opportunities in this game to make plays and the humbleness you have from God to do it, you don't want to make it personal. You just ask for an opportunity to honor Him. My missed tackle on the defense was a chance for Matt [Bryant] to come out and make that play. It's just one of these things, you look back and say some things may just have to go down to happen. And maybe this was the time for it. You never went from one emotional low to an emotional high, there are a lot of people saying that. It just teaches us again that the game is not over until it's over."

(On the field goal by K Matt Bryant) "Remember, it was the other way last week against Cincinnati. They lined up to attempt, I think, a 60-something yard field goal. We were well aware and we saw that ball land about two yards short watching tapes last week. It's like we've been on both ends; the guy missing last week and us winning, and obviously, the field goal team and Matt [Bryant] coming through today. Yeah, Matt [Bryant] made the kick but it's from the protection, to the snap, to the hold. It's the kickoff return unit. How many times have we been in that situation and we got a penalty? Everybody blocked their guy, [Michael] Pittman brought it out 40-some yards. This was a team win. The offense didn't turn the ball over. Any time we don't turn the ball over at home, our record is pretty good. This was a real team win today."

K Matt Bryant

(On his emotions before the kick) "Right before the kick, I was telling some guys earlier, you go through your steps, three steps back, two steps over and then you give Josh (Bidwell) a head nod and then you go with it. Again with the head nod, he looks up at me and has a grin on his face and says 'just have fun'. It was almost like you are about ready to get on a rollercoaster and then we'll see you in a little bit type of thing, but yeah we'll be having fun."

(On the rollercoaster type game and how he felt after the kick) "Survival. I got in the bottom of the pile and didn't think I was going to get up, literally. This game was pretty emotional to go through what we did, played a good game as far as getting the points on the board, we had them starting deep in their end and for them to get that touchdown with only thirty-something seconds left is pretty rough, but we managed."

(On the longest field goal he has kicked before today) "I guess pre-season, 53 yards last year.

(On his thoughts once he kicked the ball) "I hate to say this because it's going to sound like I'm lying. As soon as I hit it I said, 'well maybe', but I didn't hit as good as I thought I could have hit it. I saw it probably going three-quarters of the way and then I lost sight of it and then somebody jumped on me and I heard a cannon go off and I said, 'well I guess I made it.'

(On what Coach Gruden said to him after the kick) "He gave me the hip-hip-hooray and then a lot of people came and hit me on the head."

(On his road to the NFL) "To tell you the truth, it's been a weird season for me so far. There are a couple of things that happened in the Atlanta game that I had no control over, just the timing has been off a little here and there. Just frustration, that you know you are a much better kicker than what the stats are showing. After the second kick, I believe the 44-yarder, I went to the sideline and I told Coach Bisaccia, 'we're back in business,' because it seems that things were going how they've always gone in the past. I had a rough road just to get to the league and I got here, I've done the best I can and so far I've done pretty well. They say you're as good as your last kick, so if the season were to end today it would be a great night."

*(More on his road to the NFL) * "When I came out of college I gave myself four years to try to make in the league. I graduated from Baylor University and I worked in a pawn shop for four years. At lunch breaks I would go practice in case I ever got that call. Going on that fourth year I was going to mentally prepare myself that the dream wasn't going to come true, but I wanted to do everything that I could, so I could never tell myself, 'well, what if you've done this and what if you would have done that.' I got a call from the Giants and here I am. That was pretty much the process."

QB Bruce Gradkowski

(On these last second come from behind games) "That was unbelievable out there today, that guy (Matt Bryant) right there that is unbelievable. I looked at Tim Rattay before he kicked and I was like, 'Is this possible? Is this realistic? Should I expect him to miss it?' That was crazy."

(On what Rattay said to him) "Rattay just looked at me and was like, 'I don't know.' That is unbelievable it just shows that we keep playing to the very end. It wasn't pretty out there, offensively. I know on my part there are a lot of things I need to get better at and work on. I'm disappointed by my performance today. We should have scored a lot more, especially with the way the defense was playing with all those turnovers. You're going to have a game like that and, hey, the defense was flying around. They won us a football game, but also offensively we protected the ball well, which was key. Cadillac, the offensive line did a great job and Mike Alstott and Michael Pittman. A lot of good plays out there, a lot we can learn from and build on and it's great to get a win, though."

(On how big it is to establish the run for him as a quarterback) "An effective running game just takes the pressure off the quarterback a lot of the times. If we can run the football, we can play action, drop back pass, it takes some of the pressure off of me. But Cadillac, he hits the hole so hard and with the energy he brings to the table and how enthusiastic he is. It was great game today on his part. He played hard. We fought until the very end. That's one thing about us, we are going to fight until the very end. Don't ever count us out."

(On how it would have felt to lose the game after being up 17-0) "We knew offensively a lot of things were left out there on the field. The defense played a great game and I was just afraid if we didn't win this game there are a lot of things on film that are going to look bad. It is still going to look bad but we have to learn from it. That's the good thing about it, we got away with a win, have to learn from this stuff. Some of us are looking forward to getting there tomorrow and watching this film; getting this over with and then going to New York next week."

(On how the sideline reacted when Philadelphia scored the go-ahead touchdown) "It was crazy; it was an unbelievable play. It was just a little check down and I looked at someone and said, 'Did he just score?' I couldn't see all the way down there, I thought maybe he got knocked out of bounds or something but thought, 'oh well.' We've been in this situation before and that is the exciting part about it. I knew all we had to do was get into field goal range. I wish we could have made it a little bit easier on Matt and got a little closer. Things are going to happen, he made a great kick and it was an unbelievable protection on the kick, great snap, great hold and just overall great execution on that play."

DE Simeon Rice

(On whether he thought Matt Bryant would make the kick) "I felt like he was capable just by the way he kicked the kickoff. I told [Derrick] Brooks; because Brooks was a little down. I said, I don't know Brooks he might boom this because he didn't give them the opportunity to return the kickoff. He was hitting it pretty good."

(On scoring on defense) "We scored on defense. We scored twice on defense. You see what Ronde [Barber] did. We had pressure in their face. Donovan [McNabb] will make plays. Donovan is an MVP-type offensive player. He's a threat. Also, a guy I personally grew up with, high school, Mount Carmel High, so I know his legend far past the game. So, I have an understanding of the concept of what type of competitor that we're going to face. He brought it, his team brought it. They played their butts off. They did what they needed to do, but we won the game. Kudos to us."

(On whether he caught up with Donovan McNabb after the game) "I will back in Arizona. We'll do that later. But right now, I'm relishing the win that we had. I'm going to go home and relax and think about New York next week."

RB Cadillac Williams

(On the feeling on the sideline after Philadelphia took the lead) "I was just like, 'Wow, I can't believe that happened.' We played so good. I still knew we had a chance, but other times, you know, things like this don't just happen. I had faith in the good Lord, and He was definitely with us today."

(On if he has ever been in a game like this) "Never. [This is] my first time in a game like that, where, all of a sudden, we are up 17-0 in the third quarter, five minutes left. Those guys [Philadelphia] fought back. To put a fight like that, you have to tip your hat off to those guys."

(On the weather conditions) "It was a very hot day. Coach Gruden let us know yesterday it was going to be very hot. I think just about everyone on our team had to get an IV today."

(On the game) "I think it helped us a lot. We beat, last week, what's considered the best AFC team, and we beat, what's considered the best NFC team. So that gives us the confidence to know we can play with the best of them."

DT/DE Ellis Wyms

(On Matt Bryant hitting long field goals in practice ) "We were in the way of him [Bryant] kicking his long field goals. We were right there on the 50-yard line. Where he was setting up, probably at the exact spot, right on the 50. He's a clutch kicker man, a clutch guy."

(On turnovers) "We got some pressure on [Donovan] McNabb and he threw us some balls. I think he got a little antsy back there. I think we kind of mixed up the coverages sometimes. I think he's played against us so much that he thinks he knows where we're going to be before the ball is snapped. I guess a couple of times he made some guesses that they [the defensive schemes] weren't what they thought they were."

(On the opportunity to start) "[I was] just happy to get the opportunity. It's a role that I'm not familiar with. I only started like seven games in college. I've been pretty much a backup since I've been here, so it's just good to get the opportunity to come out with the starters. Definitely a little bit different because you have to come out on fire. I got a chance to get a sack and make a few plays and help to win the game. That's what you want to do."

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Head Coach Andy Reid

(Opening statement) "Injuries, Thomas Tapeh left the game with a groin strain, and that's about it. Compliments to their kicker, he did a nice job there at the end. We had too many turnovers. Four turnovers is too many turnovers against a good football team. We got to do a better job than that."

(On how he keeps the spirits of the team up) "They've got to get ready for the next game. That's the main thing. They battled back, can't give a team four turnovers."

(On Donovan McNabb bouncing back) "He did a nice job. He did a nice job to finish up. He battled through it, and that's one of the pluses."

(On the 62-yard field goal) "That guy did a great job right there. I mean that was a heck of a kick."

(On Brian Westbrook) "Looks like he played very good today. He had a couple drops that you'd like to have back. But, as we got going the second half it was better. We just have to start a little bit better."

(On the two penalties on Jerome McDougle in the fourth quarter) "Well, we have to take care of those, alright. That's not smart football right there. The first one you can see because he was busting his tail to get to the quarterback. The second one there is no excuses."

S Brian Dawkins

(On if he thought Bryant had a chance of making the field goal) "Yeah. If you just watched throughout the game, every kick off was sailing out of the end zone, so there was definitely a chance. I was just hoping he missed it left or right."

(On how frustrating it is to lose and not give up a touchdown) "It's frustrating but a loss is a loss, no matter how they come. At the end of the season, they're not going to look back and say, 'well that particular game there, they didn't give up any touchdowns.' They are going to say, 'no, it was a loss.' However the loss comes, it doesn't feel good."

(On if he remembers a game where QB Donovan McNabb struggled early and finished as strong) "I can't say that I have right off the top of my head. But I'll tell you what, he came back and battled. That's what we always tell him once he comes off the field, 'we [have your] back.' Even though it was touchdowns, we're going to do our best to not allow them to score, so that [our offense] can do what [they], do. So we're going to get [the offense] back on the field. We have confidence in [McNabb]. He'll be able to come back. It's something he doesn't dwell on, and that a good thing as a quarterback."

QB Donovan McNabb

(On the Eagles failing to get points on the last drive before the half) "The mindset is to get the ball in the end zone or kick a field goal. The coverage I saw, L.J. [Smith] cleared the linebackers and I thought there was nobody on the outside because I saw Ronde [Barber] was taken up by Hank Baskett on the outside. I put it on his body, and was hoping he could just lean in the end zone. Ronde came and closed real fast. I was just trying to make a play."

(On the interceptions to Ronde Barber) "I just tried to put it in a position where [Greg] Lewis was going to be able to catch it and get out of bounds, but Ronde did a great job of reading it. Actually, both interceptions. The first interception was man coverage and he was taken up by Jason Avant, but he peeled off as I was going outside. The second was a great read on his part by jumping in front of the out cut, and taking it the distance."

(On how he felt physically) "I felt okay. [I was] just trying to make plays with my arm and my legs. I kind of got worn down a little bit. I just tried to catch my breath but it was hard with the heat. I had to get fluids after today and hydrate my body."

(On if the heat was a factor) "Well, we went through hot weather in camp. I train in Arizona, but I didn't expect to get heat like this at this time of year. But it really wasn't a factor like that. I was trying to regain my energy. We were able to run some plays and pick up some first downs, but it was hard. We were trying to make plays, trying to stay alive. Our defense did that. It's tough when you have [four] turnovers and two go back for scores. You put yourself in a hole early, but we continued to fight and we had an opportunity to win but they did an excellent job sealing it with a long field goal."

(On the loss) "We felt we should have won this game, but we felt like that about all of our losses. It's unfortunate the way things turn late in games. It's all about starting fast and finishing strong, and we didn't do that. We have to keep our head up because it's a long season. We have to learn from the mistakes this week and move on."

(On if he feels responsible for the loss) "Not at all, you try to make plays. You have to tip your hat to the defense, they made plays too. In this offense there is going to be plays like that, but you have to be able to bounce back. We bounced back and put ourselves in a position to win, but we didn't come out with it."

LB Jeremiah Trotter

(On the game winning kick) "I thought it was over. You got to give him credit for making the big kick when his team needed it."

(On the game) "We came out hard ready to play, had a great week of practice, it just did not go our way. We couldn't overcome the turnovers. So, we're going to go back to the drawing board and work even harder next week. But, I guarantee you, we're to get this thing turned around. We're still a great team. It's just tough to overcome turnovers. [At the end of] the first half, we had a chance to get seven points, but we weren't able to get anything there. We just had one drive in the second half that, I think was over six or seven minutes. So, we have to get off the field there."

(On how the team will prepare for next week's game) "We're just going to approach next week the same way we did this week. The last couple of weeks we came out in a big deficit. If we can get through the first half without getting into a big hole, we're going to win a lot of ball games. I think that's going to be our main focus next week; not getting into a big hole."

RB Brian Westbrook

(On the loss) "It was definitely disappointing to go up by a point with 33 seconds left and to let a team get down to the 50 or so and kick a field. We were all excited about our comeback but we have to find a way as a team to finish games. We have to find a way as an offense to start games faster and not give up points."

(On Donovan McNabb finishing strong) "I think Donovan started a little slower than he wanted to today. I think he got things going a little bit in the second half. He's our leader, he's the guy we're going to lean on especially when times get rough and we know he can perform well and it's up to us, the guys around him, to get things going for him."

(On starting strong) "We have to find a way, especially in the first quarters of games, to come out explosive. We stopped a little bit early with the fumble. We had a couple of picks on offense and those are things that we gave up 14 points. We had a fumble on the way in. That's a 21-point swing for us that we can't give up as an offense. Those two plays, those three plays, aren't what lost us the game, but those three plays helped contribute to us not scoring any points."

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