TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS COACH DIRK KOETTER
"For the fifth week in a row, the good guys win! It's great, man. What a job by our defense, No. 1. Nelson [Luis] handed me this stat sheet and I'm wondering if I was really at this game. There's a lot of stuff on here I don't recognize. But I do recognize what a heck of a job our defense did. Three to zero in turnovers. Vernon Hargreaves getting his first career interception. Brent Grimes getting an interception. Keith Tandy, two weeks in a row, what can you say about Keith? Coming off the bench last week and two weeks in a row getting the game-winner, also leading us in tackles. For the second consecutive week, that was not the prettiest of games. Very proud of our guys for finding a way. It starts with our defense. Who says they don't play defense in Tampa Bay. They do. I would've never guessed both teams would've been under 300 yards and it would've been that kind of game tonight. But it was and the good guys win. On to the next one now. We'll take 24 hours to enjoy it. Got some good folks from Idaho in visiting this week so it's going to be a good night. We'll start getting ready for the next one.''
On the difference between losing to the Falcons and the play during the five-game winning streak:
"I would be speculating if I did that. With the local guys here, it's something we've talked about, the improved communication and success breeding confidence and success. Our guys on defense especially are playing with a lot of confidence right now.''
On Keith Tandy:
"It's awesome to see a guy that gets his chance. Players get pigeonholed a lot in this league. They get pigeonholed as a special teams player or a third safety or as a fourth wideout. Some guys just need the chance and the right opportunity. Keith's come up big two weeks in a row.''
On Bryan Anger:
"Not only the punts, but the coverage. That was a fantastic play. We had a couple of back-to-back unusual special teams plays there in the first half, where they got all five of their points off two plays. Josh Huff – [Will Lutz] didn't hit that kickoff very well and Josh Huff muffed it out at the one. Then we get the safety. That's probably the first punt all year where Bryan hasn't kicked it right where he wanted to. The wind kind of got that ball and blew it out. But those two red-zone punts at the end, those two flip-flops that he nailed, those were huge.''
On whether there was consideration for Roberto Aguayo to try a 53-yard field goal instead of punting:
"Yeah, there sure was. We were right exactly on the border of what we said was our range. We were right there. You're faced with, 'Do you kick it and take a chance that you make it, you're up eight (points)? Or do you try to pin them and make them go the distance?' I think that just shows how times have changed. Our defense was playing so good, I think we would've been crazy at that point to not put it on our defense to get it done.''
On the defensive play in the fourth quarter:
"Right now, I can't put my finger on much of anything. They're just playing with a lot of confidence. It's great to see. Some of these guys on defense have been beat up for a few years. It's great to see these guys having the success they're having, it really is.''
On finishing more offensive drives:
"That's one of the things that's crazy on the stats. I felt like we had 215 penalties and I look at it and they had twice as many as we did. I'm not satisfied at all with how we're playing on offense. We definitely left points out there. We're going to get a chance to play these guys again in two weeks. I'm sure both New Orleans' offensive coaches and our offensive coaches are going to be feeling the same way. We've got to play better. And both (sets of) defensive coaches are feeling pretty good about the way they played.''
On why points are being left on the field:
"The main reason we're leaving points on the field is the play-caller is not going a good enough job.''
On holding Drew Brees without a touchdown pass:
"It's huge. It's the first time he hasn't thrown a touchdown (against the Buccaneers) and also the first time Jameis (Winston) hasn't gotten one. And we had one wide, wide open on third-and-7. Like I said, I wouldn't have guessed that it was going to be exactly this type of a game. But I think it says a lot about how far our guys have come that we can find different ways to win.''
On the fans:
"I've got a feeling the fans are going to be getting another game ball come about Monday or Tuesday. I think another game ball is probably on the horizon for the fans.''
On if the Buccaneers' culture has changed:
"We're on the right track. I don't think we're finished with what we need to get done yet. I'm proud of these guys. Five in a row is a nice little accomplishment. But we're not where we need to be yet. I just say we've got bigger fish to fry right now.''
On the Dallas Cowboys, the next opponent:
"I'm going to enjoy tonight. Come tomorrow, we're going to start worrying about the Dallas Cowboys. From what I hear, we've got a lot to worry about.''
On Charles Sims:
"I thought he did a good job. I thought Charles gave us a little spark in the screen game. We probably should've run some more screens. Again, back to bad play-calling by the play-caller. It was great to have Charles back out there. It was good to be back at full strength at halfback. Speaking of full strength, I don't think we got anybody too seriously hurt today. And we're going to get three or four guys back next week. So again, knock on wood, we're getting healthy at the right time.''
QUARTERBACK JAMEIS WINSTON
On whether the Tampa Bay defense has been overlooked:
"Absolutely. Our defense has been playing amazing. It starts with our leaders on that defense. (Defensive tackles) Clinton McDonald, Gerald McCoy and (linebacker) Lavonte (David) have taken it to a whole new level. (Linebacker) Kwon (Alexander) is stepping up, it's amazing. When our defense is healthy, you see what they're all about.''
On defensive end Robert Ayers having a perfectionistic standard and how he feels Tampa Bay's defense is playing:
"I believe they're great. Honestly, from my side, when I see them, I believe they look great. But he [Ayers] is right about the attitude we've got to have. That win was the ultimate team win. That's how our wins have been during this streak. Ultimate team wins. That's how you win football games. That win felt great.''
On the play of safety Keith Tandy:
"When you've got people that are humble like Keith Tandy, when you've got people that continue to work hard like Keith Tandy, no matter the circumstance – this guy was our third safety, he plays his tail off on special teams. One of the hardest workers we've got on this football team. I'm just telling you, it's his blessing. I tell him, 'Go out there and get your blessing. Today is your day because you've worked hard for this opportunity.' ''
On the manner in which the team is winning:
"My dad always told me defense wins championships, offense wins games. Our defense is definitely playing very well. We've got to continue. It's just one game. We've got to go 1-0 next week.''
On if he's thought about the playoffs yet:
"It's in my mind, but going 1-0 [each week] is very important to us as a team. We're not really trying to look forward. Coach [Todd] Monken says all the time, 'Be where your feet are.' We've got to keep winning. As long as we keep getting W's, the playoffs are going to be in there.''
On the punt team pinning the Saints deep:
"It's amazing. I keep talking about complementary football. [Punter] Bryan Anger, man, he's amazing. He has been so great for this team. We're so happy to have him. The play that I'm really shocked by was No. 45 [tight end Alan Cross]. He came to me, he said, 'Jaboo, we've got to get this team going.' Alan Cross goes down there, Josh Robinson, Russell Shepard [on coverage], and Alan Cross does the toe-tap on the one-yard line. That's amazing. That's a player wanting to succeed, wanting the best for his team.''
On the fans:
"We're getting it rocking, we're getting it rocking. But we're in the red zone, fans, we've got to tone it down (laughs). It's our time to score. Other than that, it was amazing. It's the family thing. People want to come to these games and see the Bucs play now. That's fun. That's fun as a team to know that we're coming into a building and everyone is here for us, not the other team. That's great.''
On running back Charles Sims:
"It was amazing to have him back and I apologized to Chuck [Sims] because he was supposed to get a touchdown early in the game that I missed him on. I underthrew him, so I apologized to Chuck. Like I say, it's fun getting your brothers back. It's fun getting guys coming back. It just talks about the type of guys that we have with [running backs] Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber, who has been playing excellent for us all year, to just say, 'Hey man, I want Chuck to have a great game. I want Doug [Martin] to go there and have a great game.' When they get their chance, they make the most of it.''
On not scoring a touchdown but also holding Drew Brees without a touchdown:
"I know I didn't get a touchdown, but wins, I love wins, I'll tell you that right now. As long as we got a win – touchdowns don't mean much, unless it's a touchdown to win the game. Thank God for our defense. I keep saying that all the time. It's amazing (to hold Brees without a touchdown pass). What they did to [San Diego quarterback] Philip Rivers last week, what they did to Drew this week, what they did to [Seattle quarterback] Russell Wilson the week before, we are playing good Buccaneer football. Coach Koetter said, 'That Buc defense is starting to get back.' But we've got to continue to get better. It's just one game. I'm happy that we got a good division win.''
On how the offense performed:
"No, we didn't (perform well). We're going to look back on this film and say, 'A win is a win.' Coach Koetter's going to get after us. The coaches should get after us, because like Robert [Ayers[ said, 'We're terrible.' We've got to continue every week to get better and better. The offense, we have to play better for us to win football games.''
On whether the early losses makes these wins a bit sweeter:
"You can never get too high on a win and you can never get too low on a [loss]. But a win is a win. When you're losing, you're supposed to be encouraging to your guys. When you're winning, you've got to keep focusing on the next game. One thing I know about winning: Winning is contagious. And when winning starts to become a habit, that's when we start playing fun football.''
PUNTER BRYAN ANGER
On strategy involved in pinning teams deep from punts:
"We're trying to drop it right around the 8-yard line, that's where returners back up to put their heels, the 8-yard line. Anything around the 10 (yard line) is usually good. Josh (Robinson) and Ryan (Smith) have been playing great, so I know I can push the boundaries a little bit. I got a little extra on it, and luckily they were there to make the play."
On the downed punt inside the 1-yard line by Alan Cross:
"Yeah, it's huge, huge. Appreciate those guys being out there."
On type of kick used to pin back Saints for final possession:
"Flip-flop, Aussie, it's an Australian kick where you get that end over end rotation. I'm just trying to, ideally, get it around the 8-yard line. We were able to push it a little bit, got a good hop, and Josh (Robinson) made a good play on it."
On what has sparked the team to play complementary football:
"Just togetherness in the locker room, everybody clicks well. Having good leadership; Jameis (Winston) has come in as a younger kid and taken over the reigns of being a great leader. You have Lavonte (David) out there, Kwon (Alexander). I mean, you can name a ton of leaders there, and everyone is just clicking a meshing well. It's easy to play for people you appreciate and have your back, so I think that's number one. Everyone has each other's back."
DEFENSIVE END ROBERT AYERS JR.
On the team's expectation to win:
"We want to keep winning, we don't believe in losing. We think we're going to win every game, and that's the mindset. Whatever it takes. Whoever the is team we are going against, we expect to win, and that's how we've gone about everything."
On defense being feared right now:
"That's for the media and you guys to say. All I know is that we're 8-5 right now, we're trying to get to 9-5. We're taking it one game at a time and we're trying to keep hunting. We let you guys give labels and stuff like that, but I know we're hungry."
On sack of Drew Brees for 9-yard loss:
"That was a coverage sack to be honest with you. I don't even remember what happened. I know I just got off the ball and I saw Brees do a little fake. Actually, when I was hitting him, I didn't even know if he had the ball or not. I just knew I needed to hit him, and I just brought him down. It was a coverage sack. I got to look at the film to see, but that was great coverage. His first read wasn't open, and I was able to capitalize on the great job that the secondary did."
On making timely stops in the red zone:
"That's huge, especially when you look at the game, we won by five. That's huge. It's something we emphasis throughout the week, not letting people in the endzone. It came through today, and that's a mentality and a mindset and something we emphasis throughout every week. It's good to see we stood up when we needed to."
TIGHT END CAMERON BRATE
On the team's offensive performance today:
"We're just happy we won. Obviously, as an offense, we wish we would've played better. We were able to get some drives going in the first half especially, just couldn't punch it in in the red zone. That's kind of been plaguing us all year, something we've got to improve, but we're happy we walked away with a win tonight."
On if the team can afford to look at the 'big picture' yet:
"No, week by week and we've got a huge one next week. Sunday night, we don't really have too many opportunities to play on national T.V. like that, so we're all pretty excited about that one."
On the defense:
"They're unbelievable. For whatever reason, after that Thursday Night [Football] game, it just became a new defense. Those guys are playing with so much confidence and energy, which carries over to the rest of the team. Special teams and offense really feed off that and they're doing an unbelievable job taking the ball way too, which is huge."
On whether the team knew that they were going to find a way to win the game:
"Absolutely. We knew that someone was going to step up and make a play and back-to-back weeks it's been [safety] Keith Tandy and you can't say enough about how he's been playing. Primarily a special teams player at the beginning of the year, but he's showing that he should be out there every snap of defense as well."
On what New Orleans was doing on defense to slow down the Tampa Bay offense:
"I think the big thing is we were just kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. Penalties, missed communications, pressure on the quarterback. Offensively, we've just got to do a better job, just kind of being on the same page and making sure [quarterback] Jameis [Winston] has a clean pocket. We had a couple bad penalties and just didn't convert in the red zone."
On how satisfying it is to see the team's hard work paying off in terms of victories:
"Very satisfying. We approached this game like a playoff game. Pretty much every game from here on out with the way the Falcons have been playing, we have to match them. We have to win every week and to find a way in a game that offensively we didn't play very well in was huge for us."
LINEBACKER LAVONTE DAVID
On what the defense was talking about before New Orleans' final drive of the game:
"Staying calm. Our two-minute, we always go over two-minute before the game and at practice, before the situation comes up. Coach did a great job of putting us in scenarios. We knew the situation, they had the two-minute warning and they had one timeout, they needed to score a touchdown to win. We've been in those situations plenty of times and [safety] Keith Tandy came down and made a great football play to help us close out the game."
On what was said in the huddle before Tandy's interception on New Orleans' final play:
"It's just all about, it's a mentality. We [knew] our situation and we know what it takes and they needed a touchdown to [win], we've got to get them off the field. Whether it's a fourth down turnover on downs or a takeaway to end the football game and we got our third takeaway of the game."
On Tandy's interception:
"It was a great play by Tandy, man. Great communication on the back end and those guys, they practice it all week. We do a great job throughout the week of talking, so those guys in the back end, they did their talking and they knew what play was coming. Tandy was able to jump in front of the ball and make a great play."
On the team's five-game winning steak:
"For this football team, the sky's the limit. We've got talent all across the board and when guys go down, guys step up. That's what happened today. We [are] just still taking it one game at a time, taking it one game at a time. Guys are really figuring stuff out. It's where we want to be and controlling our own destiny. We're just taking it one week at a time and going out there each week and try to make plays to win football games."
On if the team is playing complementary football:
"Yeah, this is complementary football. We back them up, they back us up. Special teams did a great job, they had a part in that too. They did a great job on special teams. That's what that 'family' thing is all about. When you're playing as one, you play as a family, everybody taking care of each other, whether it's one side of the ball or another. Everybody doing their job and doing our best to get wins at the end of the day."
CORNERBACK VERNON HARGREAVES III
On the difference in the defense from earlier this season to now:
"We're just getting comfortable and it's showing and that's all it is. We have a lot more ball to be played and that's what we plan on doing."
On his first career interception:
"It was great, man. It was great for our team and it helped us win this game."
On the team finding a way to finish in the last five games as opposed to earlier in the season:
"That's the National Football League. It doesn't matter what your record is. You can get hot at anytime and we're hot right now and we're going to try and keep that going."
On keeping New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees from throwing a touchdown pass:
"That's big, but that's the game, we won, it's over. Now we're onto the Cowboys and like I said, we've got a long season ahead. We are not anywhere close to where we need to be. So, we're going to focus on the Cowboys and see what we can do."
On his interception:
"(Linebacker) Kwon (Alexander) made a great play, tipped it up right to me and I just fell right under it. I kind of got lucky and I'm glad I got the first one out of the way."
On the defense getting an interception off of tipped passes the last two games:
"Tips and overthrows, we've got to capitalize. They've got to be our balls and we're doing a good job of getting the ball off people."
On getting contributions from players all over the depth chart:
"That's the NFL. Any given day, anybody can be up, active, non-active, not on a team and get signed the next day. That's the NFL for you. They're expected to step up and that's what they did."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY
On safety Keith Tandy:
"Yeah, I say it over and over again: do things right in this defense, there's plays for everybody. And Tandy is a person who does everything right. Always in place, even when he's two, three, ones, it doesn't matter, you rarely see him out of place. That's why he's making these game-closing plays. He's a very gifted player and we're happy he's on our side."
On if he feels the belief growing in the defense:
"Absolutely. It's our job to keep the other team from scoring. If they don't score, they don't win. We've just got to keep dealing on it."
On players from all over the depth chart and roster stepping up and contributing:
"Yeah, absolutely. You're only as good as your weakest link and I always said, if we don't have any weak links, then how good can we be? And those guy are stepping up when necessary and making the plays we need them to make."
On how the team's five-game winning streak feels:
"Like we're not done. Like we've got to keep going."
On if the Buccaneers defense has been overlooked:
"I don't care, we're winning. I don't care what they say, we're winning. We're winning because we're playing together, not turning the ball over and we're taking the ball away. We're winning because we're playing as a team."
On the team keeping its composure during a five-game winning steak:
"It's the NFL, man. The best teams in this league know how to win and lose and they find a way to win in times like this and we're starting to figure that out a little bit. Complementary football, whatever happens with the offense, we adjust, defensively. Whatever we do, they adjust, offensively and special teams. So, we've just got to keep playing together."
On how much he appreciates being a part of this team:
"It's great, you're always happy for the guys around you. That's why we play, right? You play for the guy next to you, not for yourself. So, when people around you are having success, most likely the team is going to have success. So, just keeping playing for each other and I think we've got a pretty good shot to keep going."
On if he had a chance to talk to New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees after the game:
"No, Drew is a very passionate guy and I knew after that interception he wasn't going to want to talk, I'll talk to him later. I understand, it's the NFL, nobody wants to lose. If you throw an interception, you're not going to want to talk to somebody after that. It's not like he's a bad guy or I'm taking it personal. He didn't want to talk. At times like that, who's going to want to talk? So, I'll talk to him later, I know we'll still friends."
On punter Bryan Anger:
"I think he should be having some [Pro Bowl] consideration. He's been doing it consistent all year and I think he's very slept on, if that makes sense. We're glad he's with us. He is the man and I love it every time he's out there."
On keeping New Orleans out of the end zone:
"You've got to, man. What was the score? (16-11) That's a touchdown, you know what I'm saying? If they don't score, they don't win, it's as simple as that. There's no really, that much more to defense. They don't score, they don't win and Coach talked about getting one more point than the Saints. And next week we have to get one more point than the Cowboys, regardless of whatever it takes. So, we got a win and 24-hour rule. Enjoy it now and then get back to work."