Buccaneers Full Post-Game Press Conference 10/4/20



(On if the biggest play of the game was DL Ndamukong Suh’s forced fumble deep in Los Angeles territory)

“I don’t think there’s any doubt. We were making plans to go into halftime thinking they were going to take a knee – we had one timeout. They decided to run the ball and Suh does a great job of getting it out. [Then] Tommy [Brady] makes a hell of a play for the touchdown. Three points right there is kind of a deflated win, but the touchdown really made a difference.”

(On QB Tom Brady’s five-touchdown performance)

“I thought he just played outstanding. I just have to coach him up better on that one play and just get it coached better. He played fantastic and was lights out in the second half.”

(On RB Ronald Jones II playing as the featured running back)

“He just kept pounding [and] kept pounding – finding holes, finding the soft spot and then breaking tackles. I thought he broke a bunch of tackles and made some four-yard runs into some 10 and 11[-yard runs]. Can’t say enough about Ke’Shawn [Vaughn] stepping in there for his first time and getting a big touchdown catch.”

(On what was different this week that allowed the team to play better in the second half)

“I think that was the big thing. We knew we had played poorly and it was just a show of character [in] what the second half was going to show. I can honestly say had this been last year, we’d have gotten our [butts] beat by 20 [points]. This team has a ton of character and playmakers. We started making plays and you can see when we don’t beat ourselves, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

(On how much of the team’s character comes from QB Tom Brady)

“I think it’s all those captains and all those guys. Defensively, Lavonte [David] and all those guys – [Ndamukong] Suh made the big play. Tom is never behind in his mind, so we can always make plays to win games.”

(On WR Mike Evans’ effort throughout the game)

“You can’t say enough about it. He tweaked that ankle, taped it up, gutted it out and just had a huge day. We were coming into the game hoping to get [him] 15 [to] 18 targets. He missed a little bit of time in there or I think he would’ve gotten it. Huge day for Mike and this is one of the teams that they played some double coverage, but not much.”

(On TE O.J. Howard’s injury and his performance in the game)

“He was having a great, great game. I thought Tommy [Brady] was going to throw it to him for the touchdown when he threw it to Ke’Shawn [Vaughn]. It looks like he has a ruptured achilles and will probably be done for the year.”

(On if the touchdown to end the first half through the two-minute warning in the second half is as well as an offense can play)

“I think there were some times where we hit a little bit of a lull, but I thought from the last 50 seconds [of the first half] to the end of the ballgame, I thought we made plays to win the ballgame. Very seldom does our defense give up a lead, but they did and we bounced right back and got the score. Then, we get the huge interception to ice it. I think we could still play better, but we’re getting there.”

(On if the offense’s performance on Sunday excites him for what could be ahead when it is playing at a high level)

“Injuries are taking their toll like every team in the NFL right now. It’s the next man up, so we’re going to have to get on a short week, get ready for a hell of a football team in Chicago and travel up there with what we’ve got left. I don’t think Chris [Godwin] will be ready – I think Leonard [Fournette] has a chance, but obviously losing O.J. [Howard] was huge.”

(On the offensive line’s performance on Sunday) “I think they accepted the challenge. I don’t think Tom [Brady] really went down unless he held it for a while. They did a heck of a job in the run game and the passing game. When you run the ball that well, you’re going to have some nice, wide-open play action. They did a really good job with that, too.”

(On how RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn has prepared behind the scenes to be ready for his first game action this week)

“I think that’s all these young kids. They missed so much – especially the ones that got sick or hurt. Tyler [Johnson] and Ke’Shawn – about two or three weeks ago his [attitude] was down. He didn’t think he was going to get much action and I told him, ‘Hey, you never know and when it comes, it’s going to be extremely important – so be ready.’ He was – [made a] hell of a catch [and] a hell of a run getting that thing in the end zone. He played really well.”

(On if he felt the energy from the limited fans that attended Sunday’s game)

“No doubt. It wasn’t quiet, quiet. You could hear them hollering and I could hear them [complaining], too. That was great. They needed to [complain] there for a while and I was loving it when they were doing it. I think our guys heard them too, so that’s awesome.”

(On how Chargers QB Justin Herbert performed)

“I told [Chargers Head Coach] Anthony [Lynn] after the game – I said, ‘You’ve got a great one.’ That retreating play – that looked like [Chiefs QB Patrick] Mahomes where we had an all-out blitz and he just kept retreating and threw a dime down the field. For rookies to make plays like that, you know they’re special.”

(On if he saw something in the second half that allowed the offense to execute deeper passes down the field)

“I think most of it was due to some of the runs that we set up. We were running it very well and then we got some crossing routes off the play action – Scotty [Miller] in the seam, O.J. [Howard] in the seam. Then, it was just throw it up to Mike [Evans]. Mike usually comes down – he did push off on the one, but throw it up again. He’s going to come down with those 50-50 balls and that’s exactly what Tommy [Brady] did. Scotty, too.”

(On WR Scotty Miller’s consecutive receptions, including a 19-yard touchdown catch)

“They were playing a lot of single-high [safety coverage and] loading up the box on first down. You knew the safety was going to cheat to Mike [Evans], Scotty just outran him [and] Tommy [Brady] put a dime on it. Then, we came right back with a hard play action with Scotty crossing the field and the linebackers had to bite on the play action because we were running the ball so well. [He was] wide open.”


(On what made Sunday’s comeback possible)

“We put ourselves in a pretty good hole and we were going to have to dig our way out of it. That’s just the way football works sometimes – just have to tighten some things up. Glad we came back – defense made a big play for us before the end of the [first] half and that got us ignited a little bit. We made some plays in the third quarter and made some good plays in the fourth quarter. Started the game well [and] finished the game well – that middle part – we have to figure out how to play 60 minutes well.”

(On if anything changed that allowed to offense to have more success completing passes down the field in the second half)

“We have to do a good job of forcing them to cover everything. The pass game got a little compressed and then we made some plays down the field. That opened some things up. You’ve got to make them defend everything and that was just a good way for us to do some things in the second half. We’re going to have to keep doing it.”

(On if there is something particular about the route on his intercepted pass that is giving the offense trouble)

“Just execution. Just have to execute better. That’s all it comes down to.”

(On TE O.J. Howard’s performance before his injury)

“It’s a tough injury. I think everyone feels for O.J. and what his commitment’s been to the team through the offseason [and] training camp. He’s just been a great player for us and it sucks to lose him. It’s a tough injury.”

(On his impressions of Chargers QB Justin Herbert)

“He was very impressive today and he played great. Our defense played great all year and he hung in there and made a lot of good throws. They hit us on some big plays – we blitzed them a little bit and he just stood in there and took it. He’s got, obviously, all the ability, he’s got a great arm and moves really well. The team believes in him, so he’s off to a great start.”

(On his confidence throwing to RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn when the offense needed a touchdown in the second half)

“We’ve got to keep building on the confidence in one another because there’s nothing we’re doing out there that’s perfect. But, we’re going to have to keep building on the good things and learn from the bad things. [I’m] happy he caught it [and I’m] happy he got in. A lot of guys stepped up and made a lot of big plays today. We’re going to have to keep it going.”

(On how Vaughn’s contributions speak to the depth the team has on offense)

“It’s good. It’s a long season and we’re 25 percent of the way through, so it’s not early anymore. We have a decent sample size – we have to figure out what we’re good at [and] what we’re not good at and keep working to get better. The guys that haven’t had much of a role have to find a way to find a role for themselves and the guys that have [a role], have to keep improving it and increasing it. I know we have a lot of playmakers out there, but we’ve got to continue to gain trust in one another, become more dependable and consistent and ultimately play well for 60 minutes and see what it looks like if we can do that.”


(On defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh changing the momentum of the game by forcing a fumble at the end of the first half)

“I didn’t see the play. That play itself definitely gave us a boost. It shifted the momentum in the game and it happened right before halftime, which was good for us because we were able to go back and adjust and make some changes – some corrections – and with that momentum we went out there and took care of business in the second half.”

(On what it meant to him to make a play at the end of the game to close out the win)

“It meant a lot – just being in the right place at the right time, being able to read the quarterback’s eyes and making the play. That’s what we have to do every week. Week-in and week-out it’s any given Sunday. You never know what play is going to change it. You never know when that play is going to come, so for me to have that play at the end was huge.”

(On the adjustments he made against Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert in the second half)

“He was running the ball a lot. Kudos to him – as a rookie quarterback he really came in prepared. His accuracy was really good. He’s going to be a really good player, but we just had to make some adjustments in the run game and continue to play top-down football on the backend.”

(On how quarterback Tom Brady’s performance inspired the defense)

“He’s the G.O.A.T. That’s as simple as I can put it. He’s the G.O.A.T. – Tom Brady. He’s a great player, even better to play off of him. Having him go down and score touchdowns gives us a lot more energy on our sidelines and just gives the whole sideline more confidence and the comeback we had today.”

(On if anything in particular was said at halftime to motivate the team to make a comeback)

“We just had to get our heads out of our butts and make some plays and be aggressive. You know, play that defense that we’ve been playing in the previous three games and that’s what we did. Like I said, any given Sunday – all kind of obstacles are going to occur and it’s all about how you battle back. I think we did a good job of battling back today.”

(On if the defense changed their scheme to get to Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert more in the second half)

“Yeah, we were a little more aggressive in the second half to put more pressure on them and give them different looks. From then we just had to play ball. We had to play better. We had to read our keys. We had to be more disciplined in our coverage. Halftime we made some adjustments and it worked.”


(On his productivity despite ankle injury)

“I get paid to play football and if I’m eligible to be out there, then I’m going to be out there. My team needed me. Went to the back [and] the trainer taped me. My boy [Head Athletic Trainer] Bobby [Slater] got me right, I came back out, and played.”

(On quarterback Tom Brady)

“We all know his track record and his résumé. It speaks for itself. We need him to play like that week-in and week-out if we want to be the special team that we think we are capable of being. We have to utmost confidence in Tom [Brady]. He had a hell of a game today.”

(On the Buccaneers defense’s fumble recovery in red zone before halftime)

“The defense has been making plays all year. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t just take a knee. I think there was fifty-something seconds left. I thought they were going to take a knee. It was 24-7. They had a great first half and they made a mistake. We capitalized on it, got a touchdown, and had momentum going into the second half and we ran with it.”


(On what was said to help spark team’s comeback)

“I think we knew it was all out there for the taking. We had a lot of opportunities that we just didn’t capitalize on. Just penalties that were setting us back. The coaches did a good job making adjustments of what they were giving us. They were giving us a little more Cover 2 than we thought they were, so they made the proper adjustments. The coaches put us in a great position to make plays and we made them. So, it was a good second half for us.”

(On the long completion and touchdown catch on the same drive despite fighting injuries)

“Well, first of all, I have to give so much credit to our training staff, the TB12 staff, our strength staff. Everybody for just getting me ready. I was pretty banged up all week. Really, the past few weeks. But, they did a great job getting me ready. It was just nice to be able to make a couple of plays for the team. I think that first one was my first catch of the game, I think. I was pretty tired after that one. But, [offensive coordinator] Byron [Leftwich] called a great play for me the next play. I’m very thankful for it so I [could] cap that drive off. But, it was nice to make a couple plays.”

(On team’s ability to win despite numerous injuries)

“We have so many just tough dudes that wasn’t to go out there and compete for each other. We all have a great relationship. Some of us are very new to each other. We only

met [some] guys a couple of months ago. But everyone just wants to go out there for each other, play hard, and try to get wins.”


(On forcing the fumble late in the first half)

“For sure, they had timeouts if I remember correctly, and they got into a formation that we’ve seen before, so I anticipated just getting off the ball. Obviously, the back was off set to me, so I knew majority of the run was going to go toward Vita [Vea] and he was going to set the edge, so I jumped the gap and saw an opportunity to make a play.”

(On helping turn the momentum back to the Buccaneers favor before halftime)

“Like you said, it created some momentum for us. Tom and the offense did a great job punching it in, getting a touchdown and allowed us to build off of that. That is what we have to do as a defense – make sure we give them as many opportunities to score points because we know we have plenty of fire power over there. It is just about getting opportunities and getting the job done.”

(On Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert)

“Watching him on film he is a great talent, I can see why they drafted him. Big quarterback, big strong arm, and can make plays with his feet. We knew some of his weaknesses and wanted to get after him. Obviously, being a young quarterback was the biggest thing in finding those weaknesses and pressuring him and making sure he has to read a defense and make plays. That is where our focus was.”

(On first home game with fans in the stands and the role they played)

“I was actually talking to one of our support staff – the first home game that we had, the aura felt a little bit off and felt a little bit different, especially going out there before a game. For a guy like me who has been around the league for 11 years now, I really just tune out the crowd whether we are home or away, and the only time I really feed off the crowd is when we are on away games and hearing them silent. For me, it is always great for our fans to be there and it’s appreciated – their support, but at the end of the day for me personally, I kind of tune it out as we get into the game.”

BONUS: Coach's Locker Room Victory Speech! Caution: adult language