Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-21-2008 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(Opening Statement) I would just like to say that wasnt our best football today, but San Diego is an excellent, talented team. I realize their record didnt indicate that today, but with their backs against the wall, they played a fine football game. They did not turn the ball over, I dont believe, and they made some big plays. Obviously, Im very disappointed.

(On QB Philip Rivers ability to scramble) Two touchdown passes were scrambles. I dont know that we had a lot of pressure today, but he was a problem outside the pocket and in the pocket. Their play-action pass hurt us throughout the football game and his mobility was a big factor in todays game.

(On if the lack of pressure is a result of injuries along the defensive line) I dont want to stand up here and make excuses. Weve had a lot of injuries; weve overcome it but we didnt today. Im not going to blame the injuries. Ill take responsibility for it. We had our opportunities. A fumble on the opening possession, we had some opportunities to cash in, make some big plays and get off the field defensively. We are beat up to a degree at some positions, but so is everyone else in the league.

(On QB Jeff Garcias second interception late in the game) It was a big play; he was trying to make a play. He saw the open receiver and it just didnt work out for us. Obviously, he wishes he had that back. He was gritty today. Hes another guy thats not, playing at the top physical peak of his game but one interception was after an intentional grounding penalty. They rushed three guys a lot of the time in the fourth quarter with a 10 point lead. Its not a lot of fun to be in a position where youre trying to push the ball and get back in the game against a three-man rush. Both of the interceptions were results of that.

(On the defenses struggles in the last three weeks) Weve run into three good offenses. Not that the other teams that we played werent explosive or talented. We ran into a very good Atlanta Falcons offensive attack, we ran into a very good Carolina rushing attack with a compliment of receivers and no matter what anybody says, the Chargers are putting it up. Theyre putting points on the board. You see the players that they have. They have been together and are talented. I think that has a lot to do with it. The simple fact is, we havent played our best football.

(On the status of Garcias injury) He got cut in the nose. Though I dont think its anything really serious, we did take him out and let Luke finish the game.

(On the number of injuries this season) We had a lot of guys suck it up today to play in the game and Im really proud of them for that. It wasnt enough for us today, and I know were all sick about that.

DE Gaines Adams

(On coming back from the loss) It wont be hard at all; I mean this is our job. You win some, you lose some but when it is all said and done, you have to come back to work the next day.

(On what happened to the defense) I really cant even explain. All I can say is that the last three weeks the defense has been making mistakes.

(On if the departure of Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin has affected the team) Not at all, in this league coaches come and go. It is unfortunate that we will have to see Coach Kiffin leave but it is all in the business. I dont think his decision had anything to do with our play. We just arent getting it done.

(On if it was hard to get pressure) I mean we were getting pressure, he was just moving around. Philip Rivers is a good quarterback and we knew we had our hands full coming in today. Obviously, it was not enough.

CB Ronde Barber

(On QB Philip Rivers) He leads the league in quarterback efficiency. There is a reason why he does that.

(On the playoffs) We have to win a game, period. The heck with the playoffs, we have to win a game. We have Oakland next week, that is all that we can worry about. I dont know our scenarios; I dont have any idea at this point. We just have to win a football game.

WR Antonio Bryant

(On now being 9-6 after being 9-3) That is the way the league goes. You have to play top notch football week in, and week out, and we just didnt bring it to the game today. We didnt finish.

(On being the go to receiver) I dont think I did well at the beginning of the game helping my quarterback out a lot. It kind of throws our rhythm off and then it kind of feels like we find our little sync. It is just about not giving up on plays and run with your quarterback. The drop is something you want to take back.

(On if the team was missing the sense of urgency) I think we just didnt make enough plays. A couple of plays came my way that I didnt come up with early on in the game. That put a stop to two, potentially three drives, that we had, with the fumble and two drops.

(On the offense being different with Jeff Garcia at quarterback) I would say that we were a little more upbeat, but aside from that, it is just a matter of stringing together play after play.

(On if the team is playing not to lose) No, not in that sense, more so in the boxing sense where you give them the points. You just end up putting up your guard and then the other guy keeps throwing punches. In boxing, if you want to score points, you have to keep on punching. That is how it felt like, that we just didnt keep throwing punches at them, which we may well could have.

CB Phillip Buchanon

(On the game) Its just one of those games that we kind of came in here and we definitely want to get a win, and we have to tip our hats to the Chargers. They came out, Philip Rivers did a good job I mean at the same time the Chargers were a good team and they still are a good team they came and they showed up today.

(On losing fourth quarter lead) We just couldnt really get things going on right now. The Chargers are definitely a dangerous team, as you could see we came out and we gave our best effort. I mean its one of those games where they made more plays than we did and theyre dangerous as far as us playing today.

(On defense performance) Im just short for words. I just think its one of those things that Im standing here shaking my head. They made more plays than we did. Philip Rivers did a good job, he found guys, he was scrambling and he made it work.

(On what has happened over the past couple of weeks) Early on in the season we were doing real well and right now it just seems like were in this bad dream or slump or something. I dont know whats going on. Its just we cant get anything going right now and like I said the Chargers were definitely were a good team before the season even started. A lot of people had them picked as a Super Bowl team and they came here and they played well and we didnt play to our potential today.

(On failing to execute) No, it was good execution. Philip Rivers made some good plays. Their receivers did a good job, their o-line did a good job. They were running the ball; they kind of controlled the game. We were still in the game we just werent able to make the plays that we need to make and they made the plays and they hung in there and we didnt hang in there long enough.

DE Kevin Carter

(On scoreboard watching) We dont have any control over the general factors in our situation now, but the only thing we can control is how we go out there and play. If we cant get ourselves together and focused to go out there with a purpose to win then we wont win. Its not about whos going to make the playoffs; we have to win one game. We have had the opportunity for the last three weeks to win one game to get to the playoffs, to guarantee ourselves a spot. We havent done that for whatever reason. So we only have one game left to get a win, to get it together. If there is something wrong dynamically, we havent been able to win whether its been close or not close or in the final minutes, or clutch situations; whatever it is we havent been able to get the job done.

RB Warrick Dunn

(On the running game) You have to have your cracks. In the first half, we didnt have any cracks; any opportunities, really, to get it going. We got behind early. In the second half, we came out more consistent early, but once we got behind, we had to throw the football. So, it was tough.

(On if he is surprised the way the last three games have gone) I think youre always surprised. Youre 9-3 at one point. Youre a game or two away from making sure youre in the playoffs. Now were fighting just to stay in. To lose three games in a row is tough, for any football team. For us we just have to figure out a way to stay together as a team. Find a way to win the game. I dont care how we win it, but we just need to figure out a way to win the game.

(On injuries playing a major part in the game) You never want to blame anything on injuries, but its apart of the game. We are all professionals and you have to take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, guys got injured, but I think we stayed together as a team. We were able to play well early when we didnt have guys so late in the year is tough. When we have had injuries, other guys have stepped up and I think guys did that, we just werent consistent for four quarters.

C Jeff Faine

(On the game) It is tough for me to comment on this game. The weeks before we just werent getting it done, execution wise. I have to get a chance to see the tape, see what is going around outside my little area. That is what football is all about, execution. When it comes down to it, we just have to execute, make plays and it is just a whole team game.

(On if the team is out of its groove) It is hard to say, but I wouldnt say we are in our groove. I dont know if we are out of our groove, I dont know what the deal is with that. We are definitely not in our groove. We are not flowing the way we should, we definitely are not doing the things we need to do. We are not executing, we are not making plays, so we have to change that.

(On WR Antonio Bryant) He is everything that we hoped he would be coming into this season. He is turning into a major, major playmaker, a guy that defenses have to recognize as a definite threat all over the field. He gets the ball into his hands and he has the ability to take it to the house, and that is a huge, huge thing to have on your team.

QB Jeff Garcia

(On the injury to his nose) Ive had better days. Its a pretty good gash on the bridge of my nose, but it is what it is.

(On the effort of the offense) We battled back. The second half started out well, two scores in our opening two drives. Unfortunately it didnt continue. It was one of those games where offensively we needed to maintain the pressure, maintain drives and unfortunately in the fourth quarter we killed ourselves with a couple of turnovers and not doing enough to help this team win.

(On the two interceptions) The first pick, I saw an opening for Ike [Hilliard] over the middle. I got hit right as I threw it. I looked outside to Joey [Galloway] on a dig route and came back to Ike, saw him. Just glanced real quick over the middle to an opening and unfortunately I led him too much and it hit a linebacker in the chest. It would have given us a chance to continue that drive, it would have converted a first down. Unfortunately I was a little off on the throw. The second one, I looked left to soften the defense a little bit and I came back and really didnt see the defender who was stacked right behind Ike. It was a third-and-short situation, I just tried to give Ike a chance to make a play and the guy did a good job of getting his arm around and deflecting the football I guess. They made the play and it was just an unfortunate break for us at the time. It was a critical play in the game obviously.

(On how the team can battle back) One day at a time. We just have to refocus and try to finish off this last game of the regular season on a positive note. Its been very disappointing over the past three weeks to play the way we have and not finish games off the way we are capable of finishing. We have one more opportunity this next Sunday and we have to do what we are capable of doing and thats come out and play with the energy and excitement and know-how that we are capable of playing with and finish off the season on a positive note.

LB Barrett Ruud

(On the game) It was tough. I dont know what for sure, I have to look at the tape, see what happened, but obviously, we didnt play nearly well enough to win. Give them credit because they played well.

(On the Chargers running game) I have to look at it but they were obviously doing what they wanted to do. It is one of those things where you have to look at it tomorrow and learn from it, we have to adjust. They definitely got the better of us today.

(On the touchdown by Darren Sproles) We were in cover-two and they ran a screen, good call. They got a couple of blocks out there and when he is in space he is tough to deal with. He made a good move and scored on it.

RB Carnell Williams

(On the game) It is tough. Wow, it is kind of hard to put things in words, with what went out with everything on the line.

(On the team taking the lead in the second half) I think we got around to tossing the ball to some guys that made a few plays here and there and kind of opened things up. Jeff made a great play, got the ball down field, and happened to get a score on the board.

(On QB Jeff Garcias toughness) That guy there is just a winner, there is not too much you can say about that guy. I feel like he is one of the guys that went out there and laid it all on the line. I feel like he did well enough for us to have a chance to win, but for some reason, everybody didnt come to play.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Head Coach Norv Turner

(On the game and his players) Well, I cant say enough about our guys in terms of the way they handled the last month, the way they prepared, the way they competed. Obviously that was one of our most complete games. We did great things defensively, we were very good on special teams, and offensively we were able to make big plays. And when we needed to, we were able to get some good runs.

(On QB Philip Rivers) He really was sharp. You play a team like Tampa and they decide what they are going to do, and early they were going to blitz us and stop the run. He handled it extremely well and got us into the right runs and into the right passes. When they went to coverage, I thought he did a real nice job of managing the game.

(On people asking where this team has been all year) We played with a lot of confidence today. I thought all along we would match up well with Tampa. They are a very good football team so its satisfying to go out and play at the level we did and have a chance to beat them.

(On if he feels like a playoff team) We are a talented group. We have had some struggles and obviously lost some close games. We opened the season with a couple tough losses and thats why I appreciate the guys in the locker room so much because through so much of the negativity they have hung in there so well and just continued to play.

(On the end of the first half with 10 seconds left) I thought our defense did a great job of holding them to a field goal. Then on our end we were far enough out there where we could take a shot to try and get a field goal. WR Vincent [Jackson made] a great catch and obviously K Nate [Kaeding] made an unbelievable kick.

(On the impact of RB/KR Darren Sproles) He has been such a big part of everything we do. From field position in games we were down and then able to get back into it and make them close because of his big returns. Obviously today, he had big returns and then the big play. Our guys know when he gets a screen out there, that if they get out in front, we got guys that can make plays with the ball and he continues to do it.

CB Antoine Cason

(On his first touchdown and the interception) You know Jam [CB Quentin Jammer] made a great play and I was there to get the tip and just run it back so it was exciting for us. It was my first touchdown in the NFL and I had to do my dance.

(On what he did with the ball) I kept it. Our equipment manager has it, but thats mine.

(On being the first team to defeat Tampa Bay at home) It feels good. Of course, we knew we had to come in here and win and win these last two games no matter what and that was our mindset coming in and thats how we approached it and we played well.

(On their best performance going into a must win) It was everyone stepping up, the captains, the leaders of the team coming to everyone, stepping up saying that its time to win these games or we dont go to the playoffs. So, it was one of those things that we wanted to finish strong and just set a standard for ourselves and keep playing as hard as we could.

(On his interception return for a touchdown) When he threw it I was hoping for the tip up and when it happened I just grabbed it and said I know what to do with this now. I went down there and got it and ran it in.

(On the possibility of playing for a title) It would mean so much to us and Im sure well go out there with a lot of fire. We play well at home and that will be something that were looking forward to and we need to go out there and play well. Hopefully, we can do it again, play for the title.

LB Stephen Cooper

(On teams dominant performance today) Thats how we were supposed to play all year long. Weve been talking about putting a whole game together other than that kickoff return in the first half, I think we played well. Other than that we pretty much had one drive that we were kind of lax on defense, but other than that, I think we played a solid game.

(On if they feel like a playoff team right now) I think so. I think we are playing at a high level now. Were playing great football. Hopefully, Buffalo gets the job done tonight. Then next week in San Diego, its a playoff game.

(On watching Rivers great performance today) It looked like seven on seven, wide receivers were doing a good job. The offensive line played great. They kept Philip protected. As long as they do that Philip is going to sit back and pick any defense apart. Your hat has to go off to the offensive line.

TE Antonio Gates

(On setting two tight end records during the game) Obviously, it is definitely an honor. Considering all the guys that paved the way for me, and the tight ends that you hear about now today, it is definitely an honor to be even mentioned amongst some of the elite guys who had great careers in this league.

(On his first touchdown catch) Philip has been playing at a very high level and he got out of the pocket and tried to make something happen. You couldnt have asked for a more perfect throw and he threw it where only I could get it. I wasnt going to go out of bounds and I was able to come out with the catch.

(On the team playing like a playoff team) Yes, with all due respect to Tampa Bay, this was about the San Diego Chargers today. Obviously, we came in and we wanted to establish the line of scrimmage offensively. We got some big gains going in the running game, and our passing game was-Vincent Jackson, and Legedu [Naanee] came up big for us today. So that is the San Diego Chargers that we anticipated at the beginning of this year. Things happen but we still have a chance at this point.

WR Vincent Jackson

(On the game being a must win) We had our backs against the wall. We kind of put ourselves in a hole early this year and right now it is crunch time. We have to win and we need some other games to go our way as well. I think we played one of our most complete games.

(On the offense) I think we were just playing on their aggressiveness. They like to bring some guys up. We had a couple of tough looks on some run plays, but a few of those screens popped open with LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] and [Antonio] Gates, and even some tight ends got the ball. We kind of took what they were feeding us and fed off their weaknesses.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson

(On the game) Today, I think you saw a great balance from us offensively. The defense played well. We were really clicking on all cylinders today. We came out, we started fast, and we were ready to play from the jump. We were physical, and that is the type of team you see when we play like that.

(On going over 1,000 yards on the season) It is great. I was getting a little worried that I wouldnt reach it. It has been tough to say the least, but I am happy that we got it done. It is just another something to be proud of.

(On the team being a playoff team) I think right now, obviously winning three straight, two on the road, tough leaving on a Friday, and having to travel last week in cold weather, and this week in hot weather. I think we are playing like a playoff team. Hopefully we get some help. Hopefully it is not too late and we can keep playing. That would be the ultimate Christmas present.

QB Philip Rivers

(On having a chip on his shoulder because he was not chosen for the Pro Bowl) I really dont. Individually you have goals, you have things you want to achieve and it certainly would have been an honor to make it, but when you look at the other three guys, those guys are plenty deserving. I think it just shows for me, and its my approach to everything really, you want to help your team win. Even when you win a bunch of games, those individual things come. But, when youre 6-8 when those ballots are going out, it doesnt have the same effect as if you were 14-2. I think most importantly I care about our record and our team winning. But, it certainly would have been an honor.

(On the game) We got into a rhythm early and the guys upfront were outstanding in the pass protection. The receivers, tight ends, and backs were all great. We got into a little bit of a rhythm and when you can do that, it just feels like as a jump shooter when you get going you feel like youre going pretty good. The defense hung in there and kept us in it, made some big plays. Special teams and Darren Sproles made a big run. Another collective team win.

(On Darren Sproles) Hes turned into a complete back. But, his specialty is still screens, draws, and kick returns. He had a pair today that really put us over the top and gave us a 10-point lead.

(On Antonio Gates) Gates is a huge weapon and teams try to take him away. Theres no lack of emphasis to try to get him the football each and every week. It just hasnt come up the way you hope it does each week this year. But, hes still been big for us this year and he came up big for us today.

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