COACH DENNIS ALLEN
"Happy New Year to everybody. Good team win for our football team. (I) still feel like there were some things that we could have done better. (I) still felt like there were a few things that we left out there on the field, but I thought, particularly in the first half, I thought we played really well in the first half in all three phases. I thought the field position in the game was a big part of the game. I think the takeaways in the game were a big part of the game. I think we ran the ball a little bit better offensively, which opened up some things in the passing game. We did a good job on third down, converting on third down. Look, there's a lot of good things that we did. Obviously the first drive of the game, taking it down there, being able to score points, putting seven on the board I thought was big for our football team. I'm proud of the way that our guys continue to compete. I'm proud of the way our guys continue to fight, and I'm proud of the way that they played today. Now we (have) to digest this and then get ready for Atlanta."
On if this game was a hard effort performance to pull off after the state of the team following last week's loss:
"I think state of the team is probably… I'm sure everybody has their own opinions about the state of the team, right? But I've never questioned the mindset of our team. I've never questioned the toughness of our team. I've never questioned the [competitiveness] of our team. Look, this game we play is hard. It's not easy. There are some times that you have to fight back after a tough loss, but I told the team last night we've got to handle hard well, and I thought our guys did that today."
On how he feels about how his team responded to his message about doing hard well:
"Look, it's positive. I think when we have faced some adversity, I think our guys are generally respondent. We knew our backs were against the wall and we knew that if we didn't take care of business today, that it didn't matter what happened anywhere else. We knew that we had to win this game, and I think our guys had the mindset that we were coming in here to win. And that's what they did."
On safety Johnathan Abram's performance:
"I thought he played really well. I was extremely proud of him, happy for him. The way that he played — great effort play on the strip to cause the fumble that Demario (Davis) recovered. There [were] a number of things he did well, obviously that play stands out, but here's a guy that's been kind of on the practice squad, then he's on the roster. (He) probably hadn't gotten as many opportunities as he would like, but he's one of the ones that's got probably the most time on the iPad in terms of studying what the opponents are doing. He works extremely hard at it, and he got his opportunity, and he performed well."
On what went into the decision of Abram playing:
"Well I think… look, primarily it was because we had a rookie player that missed the early part of the week practice and I think, particularly for a young player, I think you've got to practice to be able to play and play well. And look, it doesn't really matter how he gets the opportunity, it's about taking advantage of the opportunity and I thought he did a good job of that."
On tight end Juwan Johnson's performance:
"I thought he played really well today. Here's another guy that… look, we've had a number of guys that have kind of gotten challenged a little bit, and they've responded to the challenge. Juwan Johnson being one of them. I think the last couple of weeks Juwan has really responded to it and performed well. Obviously, the touchdown was a big play in the game. The third down catch down the middle of the field was a huge play in the game — it changes field position. He catches the boot, I guess it was the fourth quarter there, and gets us in some good field position, so I thought he played well. I thought he played through a little bit of a shoulder injury and came back out and played and competed, so I was really proud of him."
On the first half being the best the team has played collectively on both sides of the ball:
"Yeah, look, it has been a long season, so I think there's been some times where I feel like our team has played really well in a lot of spurts. But yeah, I do. I feel like that was all three phases, I think, that contributed to us being able to get out to that lead in the first half."
On quarterback Derek Carr taking a different approach:
"Well, I think A, he' s feeling a little bit better. Obviously, he's had a couple of things that have nagged him throughout the season, and I think he's probably… look, nobody is 100% healthy at this time of the year, but I think he's closer to that now than maybe where he was a month or a month-and-a-half ago. So yeah, I think he's been performing much better over the last month or six weeks of the season. I think a lot of that is health related."
On if the team's performance today is in line with his expectations for the team:
"Still not perfect, but it's been improved. We're guaranteed one more opportunity to go and prove it a little bit more and that's what we're going to focus on."
On cornerback Alontae Taylor's performance today:
"Alontae was awesome today, really. Again, that's the enjoyment that I get out of coaching – when the guy hits a rough patch and you challenge him. Look, he got benched. That's hard, that's hard to take [but] he responded the right way. You guys asked me, 'How is he going to respond?' I think he responded the right way. I think he did that today, so I was extremely proud of him."
On the use of tight ends today:
"The fact that we used the tight ends says we felt like there was something maybe we could hopefully take advantage of. And again, look you never know exactly how the game is going to play out. I mean, we kind of have an idea of what they may try to do and yet we don't have a contract with them, they can kind of do whatever they want to do and we have to be able to react to it. In this game, there are some things that I think that they were trying to do to obviously take away some of our receivers. So, the tight ends played a little bit of a bigger role – specifically, Juwan (Johnson)."
On Johnson's confidence:
"You guys have heard this because I got it from one of my mentors, but confidence is born from demonstrated ability. That's the same thing for us as coaches – when we see you do it, we have more confidence that you can do it again. When you as a player see yourself do it, you have more confidence that you can do it again. So, I think all of those things work together. But yeah, certainly we have confidence in him and throwing him the football."
On Alvin Kamara's injury:
"Yeah, so he sprained his ankle... I think it was on the sideline over there, in the first half right before the end of the half, when he got tackled on their sideline over there. (He) kind of came in, got it looked at, came out after the half to try to test it out, and just didn't feel like he was going to be able to be functional enough to help us win."
On if it was a high-ankle sprain:
"I don't know that. I know it's an ankle sprain, I haven't gotten into all of the details as to what it is."
On the players that got pulled out for knee injuries:
"Nephi (Sewell) has a pretty significant knee injury that he's going to miss significant time with. Landon (Young), I think it's the same knee he hurt earlier in the training camp, so very similar situation with him. I have to get all my injury report, but I know that was a couple that were pretty significant."
On Cameron Ervin stepping in and replacing Landon Young:
"Obviously, when you're watching the offense, it's much more difficult to see everything that's happening inside. Usually, if I don't hear his name being said, then I'm assuming he's doing some pretty decent things. I didn't hear his name (being) called out a lot so, nothing stood out to me like, 'Ah, that was not good.' So, I'm assuming that he at least stepped in and did a decent job."
On the key to slowing down the Buccaneers offense:
"The biggest thing for this game was we had to win the line of scrimmage. We had to win the line of scrimmage on offense, we had to win the line of scrimmage on defense. Our OL and our DL had to play well for us for us to have a chance to win this game. Like I said earlier, it wasn't perfect, but I thought, overall, we were able to make enough plays up-front on both sides of the ball to do enough to win the line of scrimmage, to give ourselves a chance to win."
On what went wrong in the final minutes:
"We can't let the ball get over our heads. We didn't play as well as we needed to in those two instances. That's why when you look at the game you say, 'Well it wasn't perfect.' So, we've got to go back, make the corrections, (and) we got to fix that because that's inexcusable to let the ball go over your head. When you get in those situations, you've been playing well for such a long time during it one way, don't change how you're playing. There's that fine line of, 'Well am I just going to play soft and easy and let them throw the ball underneath? Or am I going to play the way I've been playing for the last 58 minutes?' So, we'll look at it and our guys will learn from it."
QUARTERBACK DEREK CARR
On the need to start fast:
"We needed to start fast against this team. They're leading the division – excellent on defense. Coach challenged us this week. He challenged us individually (and) he challenged us as a team – certain units. So, getting that score early, I think just lit everybody up. Juwan made a great, tough catch – tight window. Had to take a hit for us, he did, and I think that ignited everybody. I really do. The belief – it's one thing to keep being positive. But, when it comes to fruition, I think the belief gets higher."
On his on-field connection with Juwan Johnson:
"I thought we began to do things nice and see certain things and then he gets hurt. Then you saw Taysom (Hill) step up and fill that role – how many catches he's had – can't remember - the Houston game and so on and so forth. But, making big plays for me and for us - especially down in the redzone again today. I think you've seen that position and that role get filled by Taysom and other guys. Then, Juwan comes back healthy and his role is his role. When the plays are dialed to him, he's able to make those plays. None bigger than the one down the middle to get us out of (being) backed up. To catch that and make a front flip, one of the best safeties in the league hitting him, that was unbelievable."
On if his early chemistry in training camp with Juwan Johnson affects their play now:
"Yeah, absolutely. (Juwan Johnson) is another guy, that when the defense is doing their thing and I'm doing my extra work, he's down there catching balls for me. He's down there working with me – getting me extra reps. We threw that route, I think, three or four times extra on that left side in practice. We felt like we didn't really like it and we needed to work on it. Man, he catches it – catches a touchdown today. So, we're always working at that chemistry. It's never perfect. This is NFL football – it's never going to be perfect. But, we definitely rely on all those reps we've had together, for sure."
On Dennis Allen saying his play has been better since he has been healthier:
"You know me, man. I can't make an excuse or because I've been playing well. 'Oh, yeah. My shoulder – I feel better.' I do feel better – I can always be honest with you. I do feel better. But, I'll let DA and other guys talk on that."
On the touchdown pass to Taysom Hill:
"Well, he did a great job of using help to get a pick. Taysom's so fast that he got the guy in a trail position and I was able to not overthrow him – just give him a ball that he can react to. He made an outstanding play and I'm thankful he landed in the end zone."
On being able to get fullback Adam Prentice a carry after his fumble last week:
"Yeah, that was awesome. I'm not going to lie to you, when I went to hand that ball, that's usually AK back there. When I went (back), I was like, 'Adam!' – and he took off. It was a huge run for us to take some time off of the clock. But, I know for his confidence, too, he was probably thinking of the last time he played these guys. I even told (running backs coach) Joel (Thomas) on the sideline that was huge for (Prentice) to be in there for that play and have that opportunity to show – because I'm sure he was thinking of the last game. Just like I was thinking of the last game. I think I was fresh off the Green Bay game. I was very frustrated with certain things with things I could and couldn't do. So, it's always good to win a division game to get back at somebody and get a win because they got after us the first time."
On players stepping up to combat the loss of Landon Young and Alvin Kamara:
"Those are two guys, you know, again you can't just replace guys. You know, Landon [and AK are great teammates, great players, great people for our locker room and for our team and I thought that Cam [Erving] stepped up huge for us coming in in that role. He's done that before for us in the season and he's played well. I thought he did a great job. I thought Jamaal (Williams) stepping up - that's no shock to me - Jamaal's, you know, one of the best running backs - power running backs that you're going to find. And he's one of the most enthusiastic – he's a different cat, but he's one of my favorite teammates I've ever had because of his love for, not only the game, but his love for his teammates. You know, he tells us all the time 'I'm going to run through someone's face for y'all, this ain't for me.' You know, and when you have a guy like that you can always go to bat with him and Taysom could probably talk about him even more, you know, with the years they spent together, but the short time I've been with him, he brightens my day every time I see him and to see him get a lot of carries, make some tough yards for us today, against a really good run defense, I thought he did a good job."
On Jonathan Abrams's successful performance:
"I was so happy. You know, we obviously were together with the Raiders. I've seen his development, I've seen his growth, and I'm more proud of who he's become off the field and the type of man he's become, you know, the type of father he wants to be. You know, as much growth as he's made on the field, off the field he's done even better and I'm so proud of that because he's worked hard at it. I thank God for him because he's a great teammate, you know, even though on the scout team sometimes he's a saboteur and it is what it is because that's Jon. You know, but when he got his chance he made a lot of great plays."
On team's playoff mentality mind-set:
"We're still alive playing for something – job's not done. You know, one of my favorite - my favorite athlete of all time, that's one of his most famous quotes. You know, 'job's not finished.' So until we run out of time I'm going to keep believing, I'm going to keep working. We can't feel satisfied because we have to win. You know, we came in with the expectation to win, we had to win, we did, it feels good, but we have to play another team that we didn't beat this year. And so I'm looking forward to that matchup and we'll start on them as soon as we can."
On success against the Buccaneers defensive pressure:
"That was some of the most - that was the saw capital of the world today. They were bringing every form of corner, nickel, you know, safeties, and, you know, base linebackers, SAM, WILL, inside pressure, outside pressure, picks, stunts, and our guys didn't give up a sack. I know it says one on that sheet, that was my fault I thought I threw it away. So I want to credit our offensive line with an amazing job that they did. You know, our two offensive line coaches with the plan that they gave us. Because, you know, when they give us a plan and we go out there and execute it, it's awesome when you come away with those results. Because that's really tough to do against this team. They have a lot of disguises, they hide their pressures better than anybody else, they do a fantastic job, and they've played a lot of football together, you can tell. So, to come out of that with one sack, which was my fault, but none by the offensive line, that's an amazing feat that they had and they deserve a lot of credit.
TIGHT END TAYSOM HILL
On his touchdown reception
"Yeah, I mean Derek (Carr) described it very well. We came out, we knew it was man, and that's what you're kind of hoping for when you're in my position. We had a nice natural pick and Derek gave me a good ball. That was it."
On getting the tight ends involved and what it does for their offense:
"I don't know. I guess, typically, at the tight end role, you're catching balls over the middle and some of those balls typically end up being high-percentage throws. I look at some of the receptions that we had in that room today and I felt like a lot of them moved the chain, so that was fun to see. And I think it was also one of those things [where] you don't know who it's going to be when you are playing the Saints offensively – is it going to be outside, 'Sheed' (Rashid Shaheed), Chris (Olave), Lynn (Bowden Jr.), A.T. (Perry), or are we going to have the guys inside in the tight end room and running backs? So, we have a lot of weapons and [there were] a lot of opportunities for the tight ends today."
On if this was their most complete game of the season:
"Yeah, I think that's fair – offensive, defensive, special teams. It felt like it was a really clean game – defense forced four turnovers. You have a defense that creates four turnovers, and we don't turn it over. Special teams played a clean game, and man, it was great from every aspect."