Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-24-2005 - Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Jon Gruden

(On the overall game) "Wow. I am just very proud of our team. I just have to keep reminding myself that the game is officially over. That was a real gut check. Things did not look good for a little while, and coming off a very difficult loss last week in New England, I thought our team played as hard as they could against a team that had their back against the wall, [a team] that we have a lot of respect for. That is a credit to these guys. We made plenty of mistakes, but we were able to hang in there and that is what I am most proud of this football team. They will play hard."

(On blocking the Falcons' field goal) "It was an exchange of special teams errors, obviously. We got through there, I believe, as Dewayne White made a great play. He has been close throughout the season. We have been telling him that, but he saved his best for last. Obviously, we missed a field goal of our own. The snaps weren't very good. Josh Bidwell gave our guy a chance. We fumbled the opening kickoff to start overtime, so there were some special teams breakdowns on our side that we were able to overcome and ultimately, it was enough to win."

(On the missed Buccaneer field goal) "We had the ball on the right hash mark. I have charted this kicker since we have had him. That's his favorite hash. The balls on the eight-or-nine-yard line, and we understand that Atlanta is going to jump into their five defensive line package and obvious running situations, and we don't want to take a chance with any penetration or anything of that nature. Obviously, if I knew it was going to be a poor snap and we weren't going to make the kick, I'd have done something else. That was a percentage play, in my opinion, and I am sure we all could have handled it a little bit differently, but I felt that was the right play at the time."

(On whether it looked like Josh Bidwell got the ball up in time) "Yeah, it did, but obviously, your rhythm is disrupted when you don't see the ball on the ground and slanted the way you want. This is a battery that works over and over together. I felt the one Matt [Bryant] made to win the game was a great hold by [Josh] Bidwell as well. We were fortunate there."

(On Chris Simms' play today) "I tell you, he got off to a great start and I believe he started having success which sometimes can be a conflict to some young quarterbacks. He made a couple questionable decisions trying to get too much out of a couple of plays, but our protection wasn't very good at times today. We knew that coming in here that the strength of the Falcon defense was their ability to rush. They are a great pass rushing team and we had a couple opportunities down the field. Chris [Simms] got blindsided one time on an interception and, I think, we just tried to force the issue with [Joey] Galloway in a blitz situation right before the half."

CB Ronde Barber

(On what this win means for next week) "Back on top of the division, which is good. Dallas did us a favor against [Carolina]. It is important to take care of our business. It is always tight trying to get in the playoffs. We have an opportunity to win our division. If we win, it is ours. [The swing of] emotions in overtime was ridiculous."

(On an overtime game) "Ridiculous. [I have] never been in a game like that. No matter what was happening, we never felt certain. The running game was strong and 'Cadillac' turned it out for us."

LB Derrick Brooks

(On the game) "It was two teams refusing to lose. Knowing how small the window of victory is. The first time the Falcons went from highest of highs to lowest of lows. And, we went back from the highest of highs to lowest of lows."

(More on the game) "We hit the field [and] I was telling the guys we are going to play defense. We are going to block the kick because we were getting pressure all day long. We were going to block the kick. Then, we go back out there and Dave Moore, probably the surest snapper in the NFL, he boots one. But, we go back out and we are going to line up and play defense. Our offense, they had a look in their eye, especially 24. He was feeling it, no doubt about it."

(On Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams) "The offensive line gave him a crack. He's doing what he does. He runs hard. He runs tough. He gets a lot of yards after the hit. I think most people are now starting to see that, especially our offensive line. They know if they get this guy some surge, he's going to get them four or five yards."

(On the players believing they were going to block the field goal) "We all [did]. All 11 of us. You look at how we rushed field goals all year long. This is just that moment [special teams coordinator] Coach [Rich] Bisaccia has been talking about. You all just keep pressing, keep pressing [and] we are going to get ours. And today, we did."

(On Williams' endurance wearing down the Falcons) "You condition for four quarters and then some more. He (Williams) was feeling it. Our offensive line was getting him holes and he was making a lot of cuts in the overtime, and making a lot of yards after the hit."

(On playing for the division crown at home next week) "We're just going to look at the opponent, New Orleans. Not taking anything lightly. We know they've always played us tough. And, we expect a tough fight. We want to win our division. We have to go out here and take it."

K Matt Bryant

(On the game-winning field goal) "It was huge. It was big for this team and this organization. We fought so hard through the whole game. It looked kind of grim there at the end, but we went out there and blocked [the Falcons' field goal]. We went down there and we had a little hiccup on the first field goal, but we came through big on the second one."

(On the missed field goal in overtime) "[The snap] was just one of those that was little low. I have to make those regardless, especially from that distance. But the defense came up big and got us the stop. They got us the ball back, and [the] offense got down there in range again. You do not get too many second chances in this world, but this one we had to make good on."

(On the emotional ups and downs of the game) "This team has battled through so much, for so long. That just shows the heart of everyone on this team. We are not going to give up. It does not matter. We will take on the world. We have been doing that from the beginning. The world has picked us not to do very good, and we have managed to prove the world wrong quite a few times. We just have to do it one more time to get to the playoffs."

WR Joey Galloway

(On Simms' critical audible call and pass to him) "There are not a lot of guys in this league that would make that kind of audible [play] in that situation. He has grown up in tremendously over the course of this season, and as long as he keeps doing that then it is going to be interesting and fun to see just how good he can be."

(On not giving up in overtime) "Sometimes guys have to step up and make plays, especially in these kind of games. Once the play was made to block the field goal, from that point on, we felt like we were going to find some way to win this game."

QB Chris Simms

(On the overall game) "You don't think you'll ever go through a game as exciting as the Redskins game and then this tops it. It's unreal. A game of so many emotions, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, we're going to win, we're going to lose, we're going to win and we finally pulled it off. It's a great team effort."

(On the offensive line protection compared to last week's) "Sacks are an overrated stat to me. The game that we played in last week wasn't our kind of ballgame. You don't want to be down 21-0 to the Super Bowl champs. Today, we ran the ball well. We were never out of the game. We could keep Atlanta pretty honest. It helps when the guys up front, when it comes to pass protection, and I think down the stretch when the game is on the line, we pass protected great."

(On fatigue during the game) "We got the eye on the prize. We were looking at the scoreboard a little bit. We saw Dallas upset Carolina. We looked across the field and we could see that they were huffing and puffing, too. I think all year long, we've just continued to fight, fight, fight, no matter what the circumstances and when we needed to put together a drive, more times than not, we've come through."

(On Carnell "Cadillac" Williams' running game) "He's just a workhorse. He's unbelievable. He's so talented in the open field and when you look at him, you don't think he has the power. I don't know how many times he carried the ball, but it was a lot for a lot of yards. He just continued to plug it in up there with tremendous power and he's a great player. I've got a lot of respect for him. He's carrying our team right now."

RB Carnell Williams

(On the emotions during the game) "We had a chance to win early. Things did not play out and we kind of took things out late. It is a much better feeling because I feel like we just worked so hard for it. That is just a heck of a win."

(On the Buccaneers running back team) "We did great. Mike [Alstott] had a touchdown, [Jameel] Cook had a touchdown, I had a touchdown, [Michael] Pittman came in and had some big runs. We always try to pride ourselves on being the difference-makers, and I thought we were the difference-makers."

(On the win for the team) "This team has been through so much. We have had some really good wins. Last week, we got blown out 28-0, but one thing I noticed as a team, we bounced back. We forget about the last win or loss and come to play on Sundays."

(On having over 1,000 rushing yards) "That feels great. I think much of my offensive linemen to tie in those guys. They need as much praise as I need. Those guys just paved the way. It did feel great, but this is a team victory and we control our own destiny. If we can come out, and next week win the division, that will be an even sweeter feeling."

ATLANTA FALCONS

Head Coach Jim Mora

(On the game) "It was a tough loss. We fought our ass off and didn't get it done. Disappointed and congratulations to Tampa. Are there any questions?"

(On the emotional swing of the game) "Just proud of the team and the way they fought. They fought their asses off, they always do. Their butts off, excuse me, for the networks. They always do, they always will and we just came up short today."

(On turnovers) "Tough. Difficult. But to their credit, they hung in there you know. Hung in there and they kept fighting. They took it down to the end of the fifth quarter, so just there's not much to say. If you can imagine, if you have ever been in a competitive environment, and I'm sure most of you have, you spill your guts out there. You spill your guts and you come up short and it's, it's not a lot of analyzing that you want to do, you just know you left it out there. Our guys left it out there, our coaches left it out there, our organization left it out there and we'll pull together. We're going try to get nine wins, you know that wasn't our goal at the start of the year, but if we can bring two consecutive winning seasons back to the fans of Atlanta, then you know what, that's not a bad consolation prize for our fans."

(On the patchwork defense and injuries) "Patchwork. Well, we have all year. You know, we win in the game we lost [some players], we played the whole second half without two starting DBs, you know and we fought. We hung in there and we fought our tails off and that's what I expect these guys to do and that's what they do and they are extremely disappointed and you know, what are you going to say?"

(On DeAngelo Hall) "D' Hall got a little shoulder and Warrick [Dunn], you know, his hand's been bothering him, he's tweaked his knee a little, but he'll be okay. Those guys will fight. They'll come back. I don't know if D' Hall will, but I know Warrick will fight and he'll be back. I'm proud of this team."

(On why that wasn't a touchdown catch) "That was a correct call by the officials. There is a different parameter in the end zone than there is in the field. You have to, if you hit the ground, you have to come up with the ball and he didn't come up with the ball, so Bill [Leavy] and those guys they got that one right. They did a nice job with that."

(On thinking about a tie) "Absolutely. We were analyzing that. We had Reggie [Roberts] talking about it. Rich [McKay] was investigating it and you know, we couldn't come up with a solid, solid answer and I'm not really one to play for ties. You know, if you want me to play for ties then, I'm not playing for ties, especially when I don't know for sure. If someone had said, 'If you tie this game and win next week, you're in the playoffs,' play for a tie. Because our goal is to win the world championship, but when I wasn't sure when no one could give us, there are, you know how many scenarios there are, I'm not going to say, 'He guys, guess what? We're going to tie.' That's what losers do."

CB DeAngelo Hall

(On how he got injured) "I tried to cut back, [and] a guy hit me from behind. All of his weight and my weight just fell on my shoulder."

(On how tough of a loss this was) "Oh, real tough. Real tough. All throughout this game we thought we had them right where we wanted them. We thought we had this game won. We got a kick blocked. We had a chance to win throughout the game. We didn't capitalize, so that is why we lost."

(On if this game resembles the way the season has gone for the team) "Somewhat. We definitely had chances to make plays throughout the whole season and did not do it. Whether it is falling behind early in the game, or, you know, just not executing."

(On the extent of his injury) "[It's] a mild sprain. [I] really do not know everything. We are going to take more tests, MRI, things like that, and try to figure out what is going on."

QB Michael Vick

(On his thoughts on the game) "I'm drained man, I mean two games with those guys, pretty much similar type games. We didn't pull it out in the end when I thought we had a chance to. We just didn't play championship-type football when we needed to. Some points we did, some points we didn't, whether it was offense or defense, but it's not going to win games for you. Playing like that, we won't even win a game in the playoffs. We need to re-evaluate a lot of things around here and hope it'll work out for the best."

(On whether he was surprised they didn't go for more with 20 seconds left in regulation) "We had to [kneel], think about the situation. There is no use in trying to drop back and make a throw and having something happen, having a turnover happen. I think it was smart to play for overtime."

(On whether he anticipated the year would've turned out like this for the team after a good start) "No, I would've never thought things would've gone the way they've gone this season. It's been a tough season for us, up and down. We've been very inconsistent. That won't win a regular season game for you and when you play inconsistent it won't win a playoff game for you. We just need to go back to the drawing board and everybody needs to work hard in the offseason and hopefully next season will be totally different. We've still got one game left and we've still got to win that one."

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