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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11-14-2004 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

On his decision not to go for a field goal to tie the game: "We weren't quite sure where the ball was spotted, so when we got the final information, that it was inside one yard - less than a yard - we had the right play. They rotated away from the heavy formation, we had the numbers, but we just didn't get it done. It's a credit to them."

On whether Martin Gramatica's injury had anything to do with the decision to go for it instead of kick: "No. It was a 46-yard field goal, and there are no guarantees. It's a 17-14 game, and if I had it to do again, there's no question, I'd run the same play and go for it."

On the Falcons big yardage early in the game and how they exploited the Tampa defense: "Well, you know, Starship Seven I call him, makes a couple big plays. If you run a naked bootleg and just miss your contain by that much, this guy runs a 4.2 and can outflank you and make you pay - and he did do that. He made a big play on an audible to Alge Crumpler down the middle on the opening series. It's a credit to Vick: he's very fast, very talented and he made some plays early in the game. We were able to come back and make it a three-point game, but we just didn't have enough stuff today."

On the Tampa Bay penalties: "It's terrible. We had some holding calls, we had some penalties on offense that really put us way behind in the downs and distance. And when you have (Patrick) Kerney, and you've got Brady Smith and Rod Coleman and they're rushing and they're in rhythm with the crowd behind them, it's a long day. And we had a lot of penalties on defense as well. That killed us today."

On whether there were major adjustments at halftime to hold Atlanta's yardage down in the third quarter: "We just played better, honestly, we had a good game plan going in. Like I said earlier - it's just my opinion now - but if you make a mistake against this guy Vick, it's a big mistake. He's a very unforgiving guy."

On the prospect of winning the NFC South: "I'm not going to sit here and say we're in prime position to win the division after losing today, but we're going to get ready to play the San Francisco 49ers. I'm sure there are more shockers and stunners in the NFL today as there always are. I compliment our team's effort. We missed McFarland obviously, we had a new center play today, and it's a tough place to play and a tough front to play against. But we'll try to keep growing, keep getting better, and again I credit the Falcons with an impressive win."

LB Derrick Brooks

On the game: "I really dislike losing. We just have to play smart football. Early on defensively we got started slowly. You can't do that when you're playing a good football team like Atlanta. We came in, regrouped in the second and third quarter, and we just didn't make enough plays to win. We were confused defensively for a lot of the day. It wasn't really what they did, just mistakes we made and have been making with our rotation and with other things."

S Jermaine Phillips

On the game: "It's always a dogfight when you come to Atlanta. They are a conference opponent. These games are big. Right now, we just need to keep on fighting. This was a tough loss today, but we need to keep moving forward, take one game at a time, and see if we can turn this thing around permanently."

RB Michael Pittman

On the fourth down and one play near the Falcons 30: "We just didn't get the job done as a offensive unit. It was a 98 toss play and we just didn't get the yards we needed. I'm not going to point the finger at nobody. We just didn't execute as a team."

On Gruden's comments that the play was perfectly called for the situation and for the Falcons defense alignment: "He's the coach and he calls the plays. If he says that it's a perfect call then it's a perfect call. The offensive unit just didn't get the first down. It was a big turning point and we lost a lot of momentum. Like I said, we need to go back and watch the film and see what happened."

On if he was surprised that Gruden didn't send out his field goal unit in that situation: "No. I'm not surprised. Like I said, he is the coach and he gets the last call on anything and we support him on his call. We have his back on the call. It's his call and he made it and he wanted to run the ball, but as an offensive unit we didn't get the first down. Maybe he though Martin's leg was hurt. I don't know."

WR Michael Clayton

On his team falling behind early: "We knew coming in that those guys had the potential to make big plays, especially with a guy like Mike Vick who's hard to contain. They came out and did some things and we weren't able to get the momentum that we had last week going and that kind of hurt us the first few drives. We bounced back and fought hard all night."

On his team's large amount of penalties: "Just lack of concentration. It happened to us early in the season and penalties just killed us. Everybody has to be held accountable for their own actions. We have to go out better prepared. When you go out into a situation like that, you have to focus and execute and when you don't, penalties will kill you in the game."

DE Simeon Rice

On the game: "There isn't really anything we can identify as the prime reason for this loss. It's a lot of things. But one thing is for certain: we play these guys again in less than a month, and things will be different. It will be in our favor next time. Next time, we will be working together instead of against each other, playing smarter."

DE Greg Spires

On the game: "It's really a shame we lost this game. We changed the momentum in the second quarter, and we kept the momentum the first part of the second half. But we were playing catchup the entire game. You can't win that way in this league."

On facing Michael Vick: "We contained Vick for most of the game. We did an excellent job bottling him up. But we let the tight end loose at the end of the game for a touchdown, and it killed us."

CB Ronde Barber

On the game: "We clearly didn't play up to our standards today. It's disappointing that we had as many penalties as we did. It's not hard to be a good football player when you play smart. We definitely didn't do that today. But it wasn't all us. You've got to give the Falcons credit. They stopped some of our drives late. They come in during the fourth quarter and we let Alge Crumpler run down the middle of the field wide open for the touchdown. It's not a winning formula for us."


Head Coach Jim Mora

on the Falcons fans at the Dome: "I just want to start the press conference by thanking the fans. I think they made a difference today, right off the bat. We came out and were able to get three false start penalties. That's nothing but our fans doing a heck of a job. We are trying to bulid a new tradition here. We're trying to create a place where it's tough to come in and play. It's not the team that does that - it's the fans. Today our fans made a huge difference in that game. Our whole team and whole organization wishes to thank them."

on the overall view of the game: "It's obviously a good win for us against a divisional opponent. We came out fast off the ball. I think that's a real credit to our coaching staff and our players. We withstood the surge. When they came out in the third quarter and had field position, we came up with some big plays. Obviously the throw from Mike to Alge down the middle to finish a three-play, 70-yard drive after the fourth-down stop was the pivotal part of the game. I'm just really proud of this team and the way we fought and hung in there."

on what he thought of Tampa Bay Head Coach Jon Gruden's decision to go for it on fourth down late in the game: "John is an aggressive guy. I think he was trying to make a statement there. I would never second-guess a coach's decision to go for it on fourth down. I don't think I would have any grounds to do that. I've done it (myself) eleven times already."

QB Michael Vick

On the game: "We got off to a great start in the first half, then they started to gain momentum. In the second half, we were able to come away with some big plays and then they got away from their game plan. We kept fighting and fighting on offense. Our defense had a great effort today and gave us plenty of opportunities to put the bal in the end zone."

On the touchdown pass to Crumpler: "There comes appoint in time in the game where you have to make a play. You have to put everything that has happened bad to that point behind you and look forward and that was what we were able to do. I told the guys in the huddle that this was the time and Alge was able to step up and make it happen. The play before that, T.J. started it with a big run and Alge was able to cap it off."

On the progression of the Falcons offense: "We are learning each and every week and continuing to get better. We are constantly putting new plays into the system. That is part of taking advantage of what the defense is giving you each week as we watch film. Our defense has played great throughout the whole season thus far and we have to do our part as an offense to keep putting points on the board."

On the Buccaneers defense: "They were the number-two ranked defense and after watching the film from last year, we decided we wanted to keep running the ball at them. A lot of teams were shying away from running the ball, but we wanted to come out and run the ball. We were able to keep pounding and pounding and wear them down and then we were able to take our shots at them down the field in the passing game."

LB Chris Draft

On the defensive effort: "We gave up too many points. 14 points? We shouldn't have even given up that much. We're trying to pull our standards back up and we did, but we gave up way too many yards on the ground the last couple of games and we did much better, but we're better than 14 points. We shouldn't have let them score any. That's what we've got to do. That's how we're going to look at it tomorrow. We're going to say, 'You know what? 14 points? We let them get in that game.' It was 17-14 and they were thinking, 'Well, maybe, we have a chance.' We shouldn't have even let them have that."

On having defensive tackle Rod Coleman back in the lineup: "I tell you, Rod was whopping somebody. I don't know who we was beating like they stole something, but it was one of those guys out there. You know, P[atrick] K[erney] was beating somebody like they stole something, Brady [Smith] was beating them like they stole something. I'm going to tell them to give it back. Tampa's got to give back whatever they stole from us, because they were whopping some people."

On the talking back and forth on the field: "There's always a little verbiage when you get to Tampa. They're just talking a little trash. It's all in fun. I know me and Michael Pittman, we always have something to say. You know he always says, 'Why don't you let me run?' I always say, 'You know I can't let you run.' He says, 'Come on man, let me run.' And I don't let him do that. That's just what it is. We're cool like that."

On the momentum-changing fourth down and one play after the touchdown was called back: "We came back. When we assert ourselves like we did, they know they can't run the ball on us. They weren't able to run the ball the whole game. That's key. I got robbed, though, on that touchdown. And whoever jumped on me, that's just not cool. I don't know who it was on my team, but somebody jumped and hit me in the head and I was tired. I was real tired."

DE Patrick Kerney

On the Falcons defensive effort: "It was another awesome team effort. It's the way we like to win games. When you get the offense racking up some points on the board, running the ball great and there were so many guys on defense making huge plays. We had five or six guys who had sacks today, great team defense against the run, Rossum had a great interception…just so many guys making the game, it's awesome."

On being 7-2: "Yeah, it puts you in great shape, but it's one of those things you have to put behind you and get better for the next game. We're going up to New York next week, it's a tough place to play and we've had some success there the past two years, so you know they're going to be gunning to end that streak."

LB Keith Brooking

On the game: "What a great job our team did today and I emphasize the word team. It is not just one player out there on offense, defense or special teams. It is a collective group. The great thing about this team is when we are faced with tough times, up by 17 points then letting them back into the game only up by three points, that's when we turned it up. That's when you find out a lot about your team."

On the seven sacks by the Falcons defense: "I finally got one myself. Ed Donatell does a great job of knowing when to blitz and when not to. When we have the opportunities, we seem to be taking advantage of them."

On the fourth down stop: "That was a critical point in the game. The play before that, we though we had the turnover for a score, but you can't let something like that get you. Then, on fourth down and inches, we made the stop for a loss. It's exactly like I said before: we find a way to make the plays."

TE Alge Crumpler

On his touchdown reception: "I'm a guy who makes big plays and I want Mike to know and our offensive coordinator to know that I'm going to be there and try to come up for our team."

On the importance of his score: "We had to put them out of there. It was going back and fourth for a little too long. Our defense was playing great. They were saving us. And we were just too stagnant…just somebody needed to step up and make a big play and Mike sat there in the pocket and threw a perfect ball and I just made the grab and went in."

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