HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
On what was different about this game from other games this season where the team was in a close end-of-game situation
"We won. The good guys won."
On the final drive
"Fourth-and-10 at the five [with] no timeouts – we had a couple of close calls there on I think second and third down, some bang-bang plays. We had tried that play, that fourth-down play, we had run that earlier and it hadn't worked. But right when Cam [Brate] came off the ball they were in zone coverage [and] there was a big hole there. Jameis [Winston] did a really nice job of not panicking and just taking [what he had]. We had a lot of time. I mean a minute and a half is plenty of time. Jameis did a good job of taking 10-yard gains and not trying to force anything further down the field."
On the final touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Godwin and why they went for it all on that play
"Well, Jameis went for the whole shebang that is the truth on that. First, Chris Godwin played fantastic all night as did Adam Humphries. It was great to see Mike [Evans] barely make the 1,000 [yards for the season] – that is definitely something that was important tonight. Freddie Martino [and] Bobo Wilson – the five receivers we had up tonight all did a nice job for us. We were on the 40-yard line with 15 seconds. I think we got gypped out of a few seconds on that timeout, but it is what it is there at the end. You can't argue. We actually had a play called for our sideline to just try to advance it further down. We have to get out of bounds – [with]15 seconds left you don't have enough time to clock it. We had a play called [and] the coverage they came out in was good. To be honest with you, I wasn't even looking at the other side of the field, but Jameis [Winston] saw Godwin one-on-one. It was a double move, a slant-and-go, with a little head slant and go. When Jameis let that thing go to the other side I was like, 'Oh my god.' That play right there really signifies everything our season has been right there for it to end like that. With all of the close games we have been in, we were due I guess."
On the fourth-quarter sack that gave the offense a chance to win the game
"To get a stop against that offense – I thought all night our defense did a really good job against their run game. They shut down that run game, which that is a nasty one-two punch they have, and shut down their screen game. Lavonte David made a couple of beautiful plays against the screen. That is a really, really, really good offensive team that we played. I think we had like five defensive players that got hurt in the game, [who] came out for a while and went back in. We had them stopped either way on that last play, whether they called [the sack or the incompletion]. The sack actually might have hurt us because they kept the clock running. We had them stopped either way there and they were out of field-goal range, so it was huge for our defense to get the stop. I think the biggest story on defense is slowing down their running game."
On quarterback Jameis Winston's resilience
"There is nothing you can say about Jameis' competitiveness that hasn't already been said. I mean the guy – he will give you everything. The first interception Mike [Evans] stopped running on him on the 'naked' play, on the very first one. The second interception, right before the half, [we had] great protection. If he gets that ball up – if he just gets it over that linebacker's head that is going to be a 40 or 50-yard gain. Then the one when we were in the red zone, the last one, that was just not a good play by Jameis. That is the kind of stuff you can't do. But, [we] kept battling – everybody kept battling tonight and that last drive was a good example of that."
On the reassurance this week that the Glazer ownership family plans to keep him as the head coach for next season
"Well, I am certainly appreciative to the Glazer Family for everything they have done for me, and for my family, and for the things they have given this franchise to put us in position to win. The indoor facility is huge [and] something that I think was really needed. Shoot, they built a beautiful facility. It took a lot of courage for the Glazer Family to bring me back [and] bring the staff back with the record what it is, but I really appreciate that. We will start the evaluation process tomorrow. We will send these guys off on their vacation and we will start working on 2018."
On what it means to him for the players to say in the locker room that they have been playing hard for him this past month
"Well [a reporter] thinks I lost the locker room, so it makes me feel pretty good."
On what he sees in wide receiver Chris Godwin
"I see a guy that is way mature beyond his age, a guy that acts like a 10-year veteran out there, a guy that is very tough [and] a guy that is smart enough to play all three positions. We knew he was a good player based on our draft study, but you never really know everything about a guy until you coach him. I hate to throw around comparisons, but he really does remind me a lot of Vincent Jackson. He really does remind me of the things that Vincent Jackson could do and I think the world of Vincent."
On if beating the eventual NFC South Champion Saints proved that the Buccaneers aren't as far away as the record may make it seem
"Of course, I mean New Orleans is the perfect example of that. They won our division and they deserve to. They are a fantastic football team, a well-coached football team [and] a good football team. This is a really tough division, but New Orleans has had two or three losing seasons in a row and here they are winning our division. They made a couple changes, they hit on a couple draft picks and here they are. We are sitting here one and five in our division – other than the [away] game at New Orleans – we were right there in every division game. I believed all along that we are not that far off, but your record is what your record is and we've got to start rebuilding that starting in a day or two here."
On if there are players on the team that give him an extra sense of hope heading into next season
"There is a ton. There is a ton of guys. We can talk about that more tomorrow in the season ender, but tonight is more about what happened tonight. We played with two starting O-linemen tonight. We had three of our starting O-linemen out and there is a ton of good young players on our team. Like I said, I don't want to leave anybody out, so we can talk more about that tomorrow."
On if this game showed the team both sides of one-score games
"Yeah, it does. The things we overcame tonight are the same things that have hurt us all season. Some of those things are things that we are going to have to address. At the same time, it still starts with the competitive fire to hang in there. The NFL is set up for every game to be just like tonight's [game]. I think we were 2-7 in one-score [games], so we are up to a whopping 3-7. We've got to flip that over. If we flip that over then we are going to be in business."
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
On hearing the news that Coach Dirk Koetter would be the coach in 2018
"I was sitting on my couch and I saw the scroll across [the screen]. Thank God for DVR, DirecTV because I rewound that thing back like, 'Yes!' I tried to call him like three times and I asked him, 'Is your phone broken? Did you change your number on me now that you're back?' Man, I'm happy. I'm happy, he truly deserves that. You could just see this locker room and how we kept fighting for him. Our coach comes to work every single day and he is so consistent. His message is always the same and he expects a lot from us and he holds us accountable. Today, we held up to what he's holding us up to and as you can see, you can see the joy in this room right now and it's a beautiful thing."
On if he led an effort over the past few weeks for the team to play for Coach Koetter
"After the Carolina game, the second one, Coach said, 'If you guys play like that next year, no matter who is here, you're going to do good.' I broke it down and said, 'Man, I'm tired of our coach giving us subliminal messages. Like, this is our coach. Let's go out there and get a win for him.' And we got it, right? That's all that matters."
On if the team's effort over the last month might have saved Coach Koetter's job
"No, I think Coach Koetter is just a great coach. I think we just had to change things as a team and we showed a lot of people that we should have faith in Dirk Koetter because we can play good football. But like I've said, we just had a bunch of unfortunate things happen."
On if he believes in this offensive system
"Absolutely. Let me tell you something: When we're healthy, we can beat the heck out of anybody. When we're healthy, when all of us are healthy, and that's tough being in the NFL in particular, but we trust in this offense. This offense works. We run the football and we throw the football. We run play action and we do some nakeds – a bunch of other teams do that too, so we've just got to execute it better than the opposing team and anything is possible."
On what he would tell fans who question the decision to retain Coach Koetter
"That's not their job to question our coach, that's what I'd tell them, and we believe in him. And as our fans, if we believe in him, you all should believe in him too because we're out there busting our tails for them. So hopefully they can trust us, and we've got to prove it – we've got to go out there and ball for our coach – but I'm pretty sure – actually, I guarantee you – that no man in that locker room won't lay his life on the line for Dirk Koetter."
On if it was a point of emphasis to get the ball to certain receivers today
"I was trying – that's what messed me up – I was trying to throw the ball to Mike Evans the whole game and that kind of threw me off my game. I wanted him to get that record. Luckily, he got it by one yard so, shoot, I accomplished what I wanted to do. I didn't go out there, I didn't want to throw three interceptions but I also didn't think we were going to have a 95-yard drive, either. So like I said, God is good. That's all that matters, we got the win, right?"
On passing Dan Marino for the third-most passing yards by a player from their rookie season through their third season
"Hey, man. By the grace of God. If you all watch film, I want you to go back and look at that game and see how up and down that game was for me and Mike [Evans]. We're out there and we've got a chance to break records and do this amazing thing but at the end of the day, it's not about us. It's about this team, it's about every other man in that locker room and, shoot, we were humbled. We were humbled. We were like, 'We can't do it by ourselves.' We got it by one yard, so that's football. That's football. It was beautiful."
On how good of a throw he made on the winning touchdown to wide receiver Chris Godwin
"I think anytime you give receivers a chance in this league – you know, it's their job to get that ball. And like I said, I give that credit to Chris Godwin. I'm going to say it again, it's by the grace of God, man, because you just can't imagine. I wish somebody had taken a video of the coaches on the sideline because I know, I can hear them, they were saying, 'No!' But we scored, so, that's how coaches are. Coaches coach, players play. All right, ya'll. Thank you. Happy New Year, Happy New Year and Merry Christmas."
TIGHT END CAMERON BRATE
On the season
"I got hurt pretty much every week, which wasn't that cool. I think the last four or five weeks, we've been super competitive. We've done a really good job on offense, I thought. We moved the ball every week. We just kind of found a way to shoot ourselves in the foot. It kind of seemed like that was going to happen again today, but guys stepped up and made some plays. Whether it was [receivers] Freddie [Martino], Chris [Godwin], Adam [Humphries]. It just says a lot about the guys in this room."
WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
On how the win makes him feel after a tough season
"Awesome. That was a great team we were playing. They have a chance to go really deep in the playoffs and we just kept fighting until the end. We didn't want to go out in 2017 like that. We pushed through and got a win."
On whether the way the team fought today is symbolic of how he wishes the season would have turned out
"Absolutely. We've been doing it all year. We've had a couple bad breaks here and there and injuries. We can't excuse that. We still had to play, our season didn't go the way we wanted, but we are happy that we got the win tonight."
On reaching 1,000 yards for fourth consecutive season
"They told me I got it. That is just how our season has been. If I wouldn't have gotten suspended, I probably would've got it [earlier] and this is the team I got suspended against. I am just happy that I was able to get it. This is history, so looking back on it, I am happy I got it."
On quarterback Jameis Winston's leadership in final drive
"In the huddle, he said, 'We are going to go down there and we're going to score and win,' and you know, we believed him. We kept fighting. We were fourth-and -10 on our five – great play, him and [tight end] Cam [Brate] and then we just got in a rhythm after that."
On his message to fans about hope for 2018
"Our fans have been great all year. We didn't do what we set out to do – that was to win the division and go to the playoffs. It didn't happen, but our fans stuck with us. We're looking forward to next year. We have a young team, great players, and I'm just ready to work."
WIDE RECEIVER CHRIS GODWIN
On what beating the NFC South Champions says about this team entering the offseason
"Just watch out, man. We have a group of fighters and we can go to work this offseason and we are going to come back ready to go."
On how long the ball felt like it was in the air on his game-winning touchdown reception
"It seemed like it took forever. It felt like it was sitting in the air for days. When it came down and I caught it, I just [knew] I had to find a way to get in the end zone."
On being able to get his first career touchdown on a play of that magnitude
"It was awesome and honestly, it is all in God's timing. I never pressed about getting my first touchdown or anything like that. I know everything is supposed to happen when it is supposed to."
On quarterback Jameis Winston's leadership on the game-winning drive
"It is the same stuff he always tells us. He is our leader and he stepped up and he said, 'All right guys, let's go make a play,' and nothing really changed. It's the same mentality, but just a little bit different situation."
On whether he ever imagined his first career touchdown coming in a game-winning situation
"No, I actually hadn't, but for it to be in a big situation like that and to get the win, it made it that much more sweet."
On his rookie season
"It's been a learning experience this whole season. Obviously, the season is a lot longer than college so adjusting to that and learning from the guys around me, to grow each and every week, I think I did a pretty good job of doing that."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
On his New Year's Eve plans after the win
"I am going to go to sleep. This makes it easier to go to sleep and get up in the morning. It's just great. We had to get this one. We've been in too many of these. This one had to go our way, it just had to. Me and Lavonte [David] said to each other on the sideline, 'This one has got to go our way.' We were on the fourth down and we were like, 'We've got to get this one.' You know what I'm saying?"
On the importance of the defense stopping the Saints offense to give the team the chance to win
"It was excellent, especially to do it at home. That's the way you want to go into the offseason. I said earlier in the week that getting a win changes the taste in everybody's mouth going in to the offseason and we got a win. It wasn't pretty, but we got it and that is all that matters."
On whether he believes they will be able to carry over the momentum from the win into the offseason
"Yeah, absolutely. First thing's first, guys have to go and get healthy, starting with myself. Take some time off and heal up and then go from there."
On Head Coach Dirk Koetter returning for the 2018 season
"Well, it's excellent. The whole getting a new head coach and all those different things, I have been through it too many times and I wasn't looking forward to doing it again. So, I am glad the Glazers decided to keep him around. I am happy. I love Coach and I'm excited for the future."