By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
Published December 3, 2007
From Bucs coach Jon Gruden
On his decision to eschew a potential tying field goal on fourth and 1: "Even if you make the 46-yard field goal and go to overtime, we're depleted. You're running out of guys. The center, the fullback, we're on our third halfback, the fourth quarterback and there's no guarantee we're going to go three-and-out. So, you know, hey, get your a-- out there, let's get the first down and see what we can do."
On the winning touchdown: "We had a quick shift. We brought Alex (Smith) from the right to left and then we kicked Jerramy (Stevens) out. They didn't go to their goal-line defense in that situation, but we felt good about a big 6-foot-5 or 6-6 guy that has a physical advantage down there. That was a hell of a catch by Stevens. We got a matchup, a physical matchup, and Jerramy took advantage of it."
On being aggressive with Luke McCown at quarterback: "We tried not to play defensive with a young quarterback playing in his first game in a long time. Luke McCown responded. ... For us to win this game, we knew that we would have to score some points. The only way we were going to do it was throwing it."
From Saints coach Sean Payton
On the call for the reverse that resulted in a fumble: "That was a disappointing loss and probably the worst job I have done as a head coach since I have been here.We got the safety late and had the ball back at midfield with four minutes left. Obviously, I regret the play call that resulted in a fumble and cost us a game. It's disappointing for our players and our staff to lose a game like that. We had every opportunity to win it. ... It starts with me.
"We thought it gave us a chance to break one open. It was a reverse to Devery (Henderson). We just didn't handle the toss well enough. That's my fault. I shouldn't have called the play in that situation. I knew we were in position to get a first down and possibly run out the clock. That was a mistake by me."
On his use of timeouts in the third quarter: "We did a poor job handling those. We had some personnel issues like too many guys or not enough guys. We have to clean that up. That's on coaching and not our players."
On Luke McCown keeping the Saints defense honest: "They got off to a pretty good start. I thought defensively, we hung in there and battled him later in the game. It was disappointing allowing the big play to Joey Galloway. Those are things we have got to clean up."