BUCCANEERS HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On how the defense was able to force four turnovers in Sunday's game)
"I think our guys knew they had to play tight coverage. Coming in, we we're going to play man-to-man, get on them, not let them get going and not let [Drew Brees] dink and dunk. Get after him, get off the spot and make him throw on the move. They ran the ball pretty [well] on us there for a spurt, but once we got the lead, we kind of had them where we wanted them."
(On LB Devin White's performance)
"It was great. Just to see Devin make those plays – that's what he's capable of making. Everybody was criticizing how he can't cover anybody – I think he just proved that he can."
(On the defense's performance after allowing 38 points against New Orleans in Week 9)
"It's a different football team than that week. I try to tell everybody that – nobody wants to believe me. This is what we're capable of playing. Defensively, we've had some rough spots at times, but we've had some really, really good times. This was one of the best times."
(On RB Ronald Jones II and RB Leonard Fournette's performances)
"It's a great combination to have 'Ro' (Jones II) healthy again and then Leonard's playing really [well]. The blocking unit did a great job of blocking those guys – the tight ends, especially. The last time we played them, our tight ends struggled with these big guys. Joe Haeg did a great job and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) did a great job also."
(On how the offense's zero-turnover performance made the win possible)
"Going into the game, we knew all week we had to protect the football. Protect the quarterback, protect the football and take it away. That was the outcome of the game [and] that was what decided the game. It was going to be the turnovers and we talked about it all week."
(On the celebration in the locker room)
"It's jamming pretty good right now. I don't have any dance moves, so I'm not in it."
(On holding Saints WR Michael Thomas to zero catches)
"Carlton [Davis III] has played him [well] over the years and he's a physical corner. I thought Todd [Bowles] had a great gameplan for all their guys. [Jared] Cook and Deonte Harris were the guys that scared me, but the guys really punched the ball out – got one [fumble] with Cook and got the interception from him. The guys really stepped up."
(On the offensive line's protection for QB Tom Brady and G Aaron Stinnie's performance in his first start)
"Tom was clean most of the day. He did a really good job – I thought – of protecting the football [and] not taking any chances – got close a couple of times. Aaron Stinnie played his tail off – I knew he would. He's been around now for a year and a half, two years. He's a good little player."
(On where this win ranks in his coaching career)
"It's up there – probably with the Green Bay win in Arizona that put us in the championship game. That went to overtime. [I am] looking forward to going back to work this week and playing another great team [under] different circumstances and get ready to play."
(On S Antoine Winfield Jr.'s forced fumble)
"I can't say enough about him. To me, he's the Defensive Rookie of the Year. 7.5 sacks isn't anything [compared] to what he's done."
(On if he had any doubt this team would perform at this level late in the season)
"No. I just saw the steady progress. We battled through some injuries, losing Vita [Vea], losing O.J. [Howard] and those guys – and we battled through some injuries today. [Jack] Cichy breaks his arm on the first punt, so we're down to three linebackers. Our guys stepped up there at the end of the game [when] we were almost out of corners. I can't say enough about our guys – this is a very resilient team. These guys work and they have a great belief in each other."
(On the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own territory in the first quarter)
"I had a lot of confidence that we'd get it done. Tom [Brady] does a really good job on that stuff and got us in the right [position]. We had a couple plays called and he could take the sneak if he wants it."
Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup in the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL playoffs.
BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(On how Tampa Bay's defense put the offense in positions to succeed)
"The defense was incredible all game. The turnovers were huge. Last time we played them, we lost the turnover [margin], minus three. Today was plus four – you're not going to lose many games when you're plus four. Just a great effort – they came up huge. Offensively, made some plays when we needed to. The running game was great, the line protected great up front – just a great week of prep. Really proud of our team and everything we put in to get to this point. There's only four teams left – we're one of them. It's tough to get to this point, so we need a big week [and] a great week of practice. We've got one of the best teams in the league, obviously, in Green Bay. [They are] the top seed, Aaron [Rodgers] is playing incredible [and] they've got a great defense, so it's going to be a great matchup."
(On if this trip to a conference championship game feels different than his previous trips)
"[I'm] just so proud of everyone – the whole organization. Our coaches have put in so much work and effort getting us to this point and preparing us every day – just done an amazing job. Guys really come together – it's a really unique team. We have great chemistry, we have fun at practice and we've worked really hard to get to this point, just like the other three teams remaining. It's hard to get to this point – there's nothing guaranteed from this point forward – but we've got to go out there and we're going to have to play our very best to beat one of the best teams in the league."
(On how well the younger players on the team handled the spotlight)
"They played incredible. This team has been doing that all year at different times. The defense has picked us up, some weeks the offense has been a little bit better. Special teams has been so consistent. The way the defense played today – they were spectacular. The way the offensive line played, Leonard [Fournette], 'Ro' (Ronald Jones II) – it was just huge. All those guys came up big and we talked about it all week what we were going to need to win [and] to get it accomplished. It's a long ways from the last time we played these guys at home. We started the season here and it's a lot better feeling sitting in this tent this time around than the first time I was sitting here about 18 weeks ago."
(On what it meant to defeat New Orleans after losing both regular season meetings)
"It feels great, obviously, to beat a great football team. That's what feels best. It's a team effort and again, it just speaks to the commitment level of everyone in the organization – the coaches, the players and everyone coming together. To beat great teams like this – this team has been one of the best teams in the league for a long time. 13-3 a few years ago, 13-3 last year, 12-4 this year. They do a lot of things the right way and I knew for us going into this week, we had to play a great game. Our defense stepped up [and] played huge, our offensive line was incredible – it was just a hard-fought game [and] a very physical game. We'll need to get our rest the next couple of days and then be ready to go for practice on Wednesday."
(On how the team prepares for cold temperatures in Green Bay for the NFC Championship Game)
"You've just got to have some mental toughness, wear some warm clothes and be ready to go. It's chilly, man. That's January football [in the] northeast [and] Midwest. We'll be prepared. The team that plays the best is going to win, not the team that's the coldest. We're going to have to go out there and play well. We're going to be challenged and it's going to be a great game."
(On G Aaron Stinnie's performance in his first start)
"Stinnie did a great job, stepped in – the whole line did a great job., Ryan [Jensen], Stinnie, obviously, Ali [Marpet] – just such a warrior out there – Donnie [Smith] played an incredible game, big Tristan [Wirfs] does great, Joe Haeg came in. Everyone up front played huge. We need that – it starts with those guys, always. Great to see those guys come through."
3,000 New Orleans Saints fans, including 750 vaccinated health-care workers from Ochsner, LCMC, and Tulane cheer on the team from inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL playoffs.