Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-14-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening remarks) I cant say enough about our team. It was a tough loss. We had some tough circumstances as well. We had some key players that werent able to go. Field position was also a big part of this game. I will say that I am very proud of our team.

(on failing to score more at the end) We got sacked. One of those possessions was second and seven and we got sacked. We lost some yardage and that had a lot to do with our faltering. When we had a third and inches play, we jumped offsides. We didnt convert on a third and five. We kicked a field goal and didnt make it. We will have to look at the tape. We tried to make some plays, but we just didnt hit it today.

(on Brian Griese's performance) It was a very tough agenda for him today. I was very proud of what he was able to do. He made some very tough throws. He has been inactive for two months. I commend him for giving our guys a chance. I am sure when he looks at the tape he will see some things that he could have done differently. He really stepped up for our team today and I commend him greatly for that.

(on the blocked punt) It was a big play for us. We wished that we could have capitalized with a touchdown. That was one of the sack plays. That really hurt us. We played hard the entire day. Again, I credit our players for their hard work.

(on the play of John Abraham) Hes a great player, particularly on this surface in that noise. We sent help there several times. There are some situations in which you have got to let some people out. He made some big plays in some tough situations and that is a credit to him.

RB Carnell Williams

(on his play) I got some good looks. I feel like I am coming back around. I need to put my foot down and go north and south. I have to keep running hard.

(on if the loss was frustrating) Its tough. As an offense we have to make our mind that we are going to play ball and make plays. There was an opportunity there for us to win the game. There is no way that we should have lost this ball game. Our offense didnt put in our best effort. At the end of the day we still had a chance to win.

RB Warrick Dunn

**(on the game's tough start) "I think that we stayed in the game and made some plays defensively. We made a big play on special teams. We werent able to just put the ball in the end zone. We had our opportunities but we didnt take advantage of it. Its definitely frustrating. Every guy in this locker room wants to do everything that they can to get a win. Its frustrating when you cant do that.

(On losing two division games this week) Its a part of professional sports that you are going to have some times where you play well and some times when you dont play as well. I think as professionals we need to figure out ways to turn things around. And thats doing the little things. Weve probably gotten away from that. We need to be a lot sharper, starting the game and finishing drives. I know that we will get back to the basics next weekend. We need a win bad.

WR Antonio Bryant

(On not getting a shot at the end zone at the end of the game) We had a lot of shots. Like I said we didnt get it done. We just have to make plays. Guys did their part. Im not going to take any credit away from Atlanta, but I dont feel like they were the better team. I cant even say that I feel that they were the better team today. You just cant play that type of football with penalties. I dont know what was going on with that (the penalties). Im not going to speak on the refs as they like to penalize you on that, but like I said, you cant have most of those penalties and just have to make plays.

S Will Allen

(on losing two in a row) We dont lose games consecutively. We expect our team to play better. We expect to play with a high level of accountability. Weve got to bounce back, swallow our medicine and come back ready to win next week.

(on the play of Matt Ryan compared to earlier in the year) "Hes throwing a cleaner ball and making clearer decisions. He basically did the same thing today as he did in the first game, and we should have won both.

(on winning the turnover battle) Man, we expect to win with two turnovers. Thats just how it goes sometimes.

DE Kevin Carter

(on the style of defense played) The Falcons have done a good job all year being one of the top offenses in the league. Ryan has gotten better as the season has progressed. We played them tough and tried to give ourselves a chance to win at the end of the game. And we were in a position to do so, but it just didnt swing our way. Hats off to them.

(on the team's swagger at the beginning of the game) Theres no other way to approach this game. You must bring a certain attitude to the very end. Weve resolved to keep fighting, today and in the immediate future.

(on what's next) Its back to the drawing board. Weve got no choice. Time and the competition wont wait while we fix our problems. Weve got to get healthy and go forward. The playoffs are steadily approaching and we better do something about these next two games if we want to get in.

DE Greg White

(on his opinion of the evolution of Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan) Hes a great player and hes going to be an even better player. He did well today and he got a win. We dont have any excuses. We didnt get it done. Thats that.

(on losing two in a row) Hey man, thats the NFL. You better bring it every week. We need to look in the mirror at ourselves and figure out what went wrong. Im

ATLANTA FALCONS

Head Coach Mike Smith

(Opening remarks) That was fun. It was a really exciting football game. Obviously, we made some mistakes. We had two interceptions, the one fumble and the blocked kick. (Turnovers) make it tough on us, but our guys showed their resiliency and played extremely hard for 60-plus minutes. We talked with our team prior to our game about going out there and emptying our tank. There is no doubt that the guys did that today. Winning a game like this is all part of the process. It may have felt like a playoff game with the atmosphere, but this is really just another step in the process of this football team. Im very proud of the men in the locker room and their resiliency.

(On John Abraham) John had some game-changing plays throughout the game. Thats something that John has done all season. Johns three-sack game gives him 15.5 for the season and that is just outstanding. John Abraham is having a Pro-Bowl year. When we needed him to come and make a big play, he was able to do that.

(On the defense) The defensive played well throughout the entire game. They bounced back from last week. We did not defend the run like I had wanted to last week. It was a great effort. They were put in some difficult situations and were able to rise to the occasion.

(On Matt Ryan) He was very efficient. I know there are a couple of throws he would like to have back, but he put some nice throws in pressure situations. There were a couple of throws to the sideline that were outstanding. Matt continues to progress with what were asking him to do. He was very efficient in the no huddle offense. To win a game like this, when were not hitting on all cylinders is huge.

(On the confrontation with Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Bryant) Antonio was on our sideline and I politely asked him to go back over to his sideline.

(On Michael Turner) This is his seventh 100-yard game of the season. Michael was our first big acquisition in free agency. We knew when we were doing our due diligence that he was the kind of running back that we wanted to have. We wanted to be able to feed him the football and as the game went on he got stronger and stronger. Thats the best thing about Michael. He gets stronger as the game goes on. He did a great job.

(On the win) This was a big win for us because weve gone through this entire season and not had back-to-back losses. Thats very important for a football team. If you dont have back-to-back losses at the end of the season, youre going to be around where you want to be. Weve talked about the milestones that weve reached and this is a milestone that were continuing to be able to do. This is a big win for us. This is exciting. Were going to move forward because its going to be a big game up in Minnesota.

(On the crowd) I cant say enough about the crowd. There were five false start penalties (on Tampa Bay). We got 25 free yards that were directly contributed to the fans. It was electric in there. Our fans are without a doubt the most educated. They know when to scream and yell. They do a great job. Those 25 yards were big for us today.

DE John Abraham

(On his aggressive defensive play during the game) It was just one of those days. Its a big game. We worked hard this week. We tried to come out and play well as a team and I think we did a good job.

(On his thoughts on bouncing back after last weeks game) We had to step-up. If you were at our practice on Wednesday, you would have thought it was a game. We came out hitting and we came out ready today. We knew it was going to be a physical game. We did a good job making plays.

(on how he feels about having 15.5 sacks this year) It sounds good. I think my previous record was 13. I really feel good to keep going higher and hopefully I can keep it going.

LB Keith Brooking

(on thoughts on the Falcons' overtime performance) We played great defensively all day long. We were talking about it on the sidelines saying regardless of what takes place, we have to get a stop. We have to find a way to make a stop and put the football back in the hands of our offense. We gave them enough opportunities and they found a way to get down there and try win the game.

(On thoughts on making the playoffs) We dont look at the big picture and I mean that with all my heart. We have been talking about it all week. We take it one week at a time. This was a very good football team coming in here and we approach it that way. I said last week after the loss in New Orleans that I love this team, the character we have shown and the way we bounce back from all of our losses.

(On thoughts on the Falcons' standings in the playoff race) It feels good. We dont worry about whats going on the outside. We feel like that if we take care of our business the next two weeks, well be where we want to be.

RB Michael Turner

(on how important the game was) We didnt want to lose two in a row and we definitely didnt want to fall out of the playoff race. We needed this game to stay alive.

(On his thoughts on how the team has matured) Its kind of hard to compare us to all the games that we played at the beginning of the year. We were new and still trying to gell as a team.

(on his 15th touchdown and breaking the Falcons single-season record) Its great. I didnt plan on all of this to happen. I just wanted to do my part and help this team win.

T Sam Baker

**(On how it felt to get back out there and play) It was great to get back out there and play. I feel really good. The rotation between Todd (Weiner) and I worked out really well. It was good to be out there and get a win today.

QB Matt Ryan

(Opening remarks) This was an outstanding win tonight for our team. Tampa Bay was a great team to play against so we needed to make some plays out of the ordinary. We were able to execute down the stretch in a hard fought battle in every minute of the game. We were able to get the plays when we needed it. Like great teams do, we had to find ways to win the game, even if its ugly. But at the end of the day, we will take it.

(on how important the win was) To be honest, I havent thought about that topic much. It is important for our team to take one win at a time. It was a great atmosphere out there in the Georgia Dome and we definitely needed their support against a division foe. Our fans had it extremely loud and it was great thing to be part of. On the other hand, you have to give Tampa Bay a lot of credit, because they made us work hard for this win. It was not easy out there in the least bit, but well take it.

(On RB Michael Turner) Mike did a great job out there, which he has been doing for us all year. He has been so consistent for us. He works so hard to prepare week after week that he is ready when its game time. He takes such a pounding because he is a physical runner. Again, Mike was excellent against a stout defense in Tampa Bay. There were times in the game where our offensive line opened some daylight in which Mike would hit the holes and then drag would-be tacklers for three and four yards. He is a great weapon to have out there and we are excited to have his abilities.

WR Michael Jenkins

(On if the game felt like a playoff game) Yes. This game definitely had that type of atmosphere. The stakes were high for this game and both teams played with urgency. This was a crazy win. In the NFL, three turnovers, and blocked punt usually equal a loss, but I believe our heart and our character brought us through with a win.

(On giving everything to win the game) We definitely gave everything we had. When Tampa Bay got the ball first in overtime and proceeded down the field, it wasnt looking good for us. But the defense did a great job on holding them off. Once we got the ball, the offensive line and Michael Tuner gave everything they had. They really helped to pound those guys up front and allowed us to take it down the filed. That was big for us.

(on coming up with enough plays to combat Tampa Bays defense) We knew they were a talented group coming into the game. We made some plays, and they made some plays on their end. Overall, I really have to give them a lot of credit, but our ability to come out on top was huge.

WR Roddy White

(on the Falcons' resiliency) We struggled today on offense, and we turned over the ball a lot and we felt that we were stopping ourselves. Although we were moving the chains, our defense really bailed us out today. We had about four or five sacks and a couple of turnovers. I really appreciate their hard work. If they continue playing like they did today, well always have a shot to win.

**(On the teams performance as a whole) Our special teams played hard and our defense played outstanding. Our defense stopped the run today and had some really big plays out there. Thats what it takes to win in this league. Sometimes the offense will have off days and well need someone to pick us up. Thats what the defense and special teams did today, and Im thankful for that.

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