After dropping both match-ups against New Orleans in the regular season, the Bucs battled back and beat the Saints 30-20 on Sunday to clinch a spot in the NFC Championship against the Packers next week. Despite a slow start, four turnovers forced by the Bucs’ defense and 17 unanswered points to finish the game allowed Tampa Bay to get past New Orleans and live to play another game.

Head coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media following the Bucs’ win on Sunday. Read the full transcript below.

On the plan for the Bucs’ defense coming into Sunday’s game
“I think that our guys knew that they had to play tight coverage. We’re coming in, we’re going to play man-to-man and get on them, not let them get going, not let [Drew Brees] dink-and-dunk and then get after him, get him off the spot, make him throw on the move. Then they ran the ball pretty good on us there for a spurt, but once we got the lead we kind of had them where we wanted them.”

On Devin White
“It was great. Just to see Devin make those plays and that’s what he’s capable of making. Everybody was criticizing him that he can’t cover anybody, I think he just proved that he can.”

On the mentality of this team and defense to have this performance after their performance in Week 9
“This is a different football team than that week. I tried to tell everyone that and no one wants to believe it, but this is how we’re capable of playing. Defensively we’ve had some rough spots at times, but we’ve had some really, really good times and this is one of the best times.”

On Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II
“It was a great combination to have [Jones] healthy again and then Leonard playing really good but the blocking unit did a great job of blocking these guys and 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 [Rob Gronkowski] did a great job also.”

On no turnovers from the offense again
“Going into the game we knew, all week, we have to protect the football. Protect your quarterback and protect the football and take it away. That was the outcome in the game, that’s what decided the game, it was going to be the turnovers and we talked about that all week.”

On the locker room after the game
“It’s jamming pretty good right now. I don’t have any dance moves so I’m not in it.”

On holding Michael Thomas to zero catches
“Carlton [Davis] has played him well over the years and he’s a physical corner and I think Todd [Bowles] had a great game plan for all of our guys. [Jared] Cook and Deonte Harris were the guys that scared me, but guys really punched the ball out, got one from Cook, got the interception from him. The guys really stepped up.”

On Aaron Stinnie and the offensive line
“Tom was clean most of the day, he did a really good job I thought protecting the ball, not taking any chances and they got close a couple of times. But yeah, Aaron Stinnie played his tail off, I knew he would. He’s been around now for a year-and-a-half, two years, and he’s a good little player.”

On how high this ranks among his biggest wins
“It’s up there, probably with the Green Bay win in Arizona that put us in the championship game, then it went to overtime. I’m looking forward to going back to work this week and playing another great team this week, different circumstances and getting ready to play.”

On Antoine Winfield Jr.’s turnover
“It really was [a game-changer] and I can’t say enough about him. To me he’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and 7.5 sacks
isn’t anything [compared] to what he’s done.”

On if he had any doubts whether this team would put it together this year
“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, I mean [Jack] Cichy breaks his arm on the first punt and we’re down to three linebackers. Guys stepped up there at the end of the game, we were almost out of corners, but I can’t say enough about our guys. It’s a very resilient team and these guys work. And they have a great belief in each other.”

On the fourth down conversion early in the game from their own territory
“I had a lot of confidence that we’d get it done and Tom does a really good job on that stuff and got us in the right play. We had a couple plays called and he could take the sneak if he wants it.”

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PissedOffBuc1988
6 months ago

We run the football and play defense like this; IDC who we play. The tampa bay buccaneers will win. We overcame a demon today. We overcame a lot. We took extreme steps forward and it had the same feeling as when we shut down the vet. Idc anymore what nay sayers say. I just want to enjoy this with all the real fans of the bucs. I have not been perfect, but I love this team so much and that’s why I get so mad because how they do really does matter to me. After today, I am extremely confident… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by PissedOffBuc1988
cgmaster27
Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
6 months ago

I certainly love how we ran the ball tonight, but Byrons gameplan was total garbage. Fournette and rojo are a great 1-2 punch. Rojo just runs so damn hard.
But if we come out with this gameplan next week of constantly running on first down, we wont win. This game plan was not good at all. But its nice to nitpick after a huge victory.

Naplesfan
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 months ago

Yeah, such a garbage game plan that it results in 30 points and a big, not close win over our biggest rival in the biggest game in the last 18 years. Dude – what is wrong with you? You don’t know WTF you’re blabbering about! Byron Leftwich’s game plan was literally perfect for defeating the great defense of the Saints. The Fox game broadcast team made the remark that “It looks like the Buccaneers have finally found their identity. this team looks just like a Brady team … taking whatever the defense gives, whether a handoff, a snap sideline throw,… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Naplesfan
Dude
Reply to  Naplesfan
6 months ago

I’m fine, thanks for asking!

cgmaster27
Reply to  Naplesfan
6 months ago

Well asshat, you do realize they had pretty good field position on 3 of their td’s? The fact that you think it’s ok to run for 2 yards on every first down proves what a clown you are. This offense was not in sync yesterday, the defense won the day. Our studs had a combined 64 total yards. We threw the ball 12 times the entire second half. This team should’ve scored more points but when you take the ball out of bradys hand every first down, that’s what happens. Facts back up my claim over the last 5 weeks.… Read more »

Spitfire
6 months ago

They said it over and over how the Saints played the pass to try and eliminate Brady and dared us to run at them. The run is what worked and what we had to do to win, so we did it. The game plan was stalled at first because it seemed like they went all in on stopping the pass and hoped our run game and Defense wouldn’t hold up, but we proved them wrong, we proved it doesn’t have to be Brady 100% of the time to win, it needs to be a team effort, so everyone did as… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

We did get that running game going a bit! I always said it’s important that the Bucs have both, RoJo and Fournette to have our best chance at success. Fournette has really played well these last couple of games! RoJo is snakebite again with another long gain nullified by a penalty! Geeze! Kid gets better every game.

Spitfire
6 months ago

On another note, aside from the False Start in Sinnie I didn’t really hear his name much. I’d like to see Jon do a breakdown of his performance but the fact that he seemed to play better than Haeg and Larsen was great. I was hoping he would prove he can be reliable moving forward and I really hope he was as reliable as it seemed he was. Obviously he probably wasn’t perfect but if it’s a performance to build on then we just might be ok up front.

Spitfire
6 months ago

Any time Peyton and his bird beak mouth can be sent home crying it’s a great day. Every time we can send the show boat, celebrate after every play, disgusting hit list humans called the “Saints” can be sent home crying it’s a great day. Any time a traitor thinks he’s great because he threw a practice ball to a blown coverage yet it’s not the story of the week because he’s flyin home right not crying, it’s a great day. Any time Smiths biggest mistake is pointing out a neutral zone infraction rather than take the free play and… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

Haha lol! Dude you are Pumped Up & I love it! You are right “Its a Great Day” Cheers Everyone and let’s go Bucs!

Dude
Reply to  Captain Sly
6 months ago

I am, thanks for noticing!

Naplesfan
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

Dude – I am the least likely Winston fan club member in the universe, but he was cut by the Bucs. Therefore not a “traitor”. He made a great play on a gadget play design that fooled our defense. We probably should have been prepare for it, given that the Bears ran the exact same play on the Saints just the week before. But nobody plays or coaches mistake free .

Dude
Reply to  Naplesfan
6 months ago

I hear ya bro!

Horse
Reply to  Spitfire
6 months ago

Spitfire; loved it!

4girls
6 months ago

Amazing win by the Bucs! Great job by our D. Four turnovers without a sack! Truly awesome. Let’s hope they will chain another win (or two;) together.
Man, another broken bone for Cichy? That dude seems to be cursed. Brutal.

76Buc
6 months ago

Hopefully the drunk dud passed out.

Naplesfan
6 months ago

Among other things, the way this game was planned by the coaches and executed by the players was extremely reminiscent of the best Patriots teams of TB-12. They became famously successful by being a “chameleon” team – changing its look and its approach every week depending upon the competition, and not stubbornly sticking to only one single way of playing. Big play, down the field passing one week, dink and dunk the following week, smashmouth the week after that, then gadget plays the week after that. The Saints and Payton were fooled into thinking the Bucs in the Divisional Round… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Naplesfan
Spruce
6 months ago

To those including some writers associated with this site that seemed to think Brady is the magic potion to success you should have learned something here. It’s a team game and the Bucs won that game not Brady. In fact that was very Patriots like in their prime with all three components playing in top form to contribute to the win. The running game, blocking, play action and not turning it over. Brady managed the game. The defense won it.. Succop as well going three for three on field goals. The questions are answered. This is a complete team not… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  Spruce
6 months ago

Spruce; spot on!

Naplesfan
6 months ago

Courtesy of Jenna Laine, ESPN, from last night:

“We had to look ourselves in the mirror and challenge ourselves on who we wanted to be,” said Bucs inside linebacker Devin White, who finished Sunday with 11 tackles (10 solo), a tackle for a loss, a QB hit, a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and an interception. “Everybody always asked, ‘What was our identity?’ We didn’t have an answer. But Coach BA [Bruce Arians] had an answer. He said, ‘We’re some motherf—ers who are gonna find a way to win the game.'”

Naplesfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
6 months ago

If Devin White does not win NFC Defensive Player of the Week, or whatever the equivalent might be for the Divisional Round of the playoffs, I’ll be shocked. He was a madman out there on the field.

Last edited 6 months ago by Naplesfan
fredster
6 months ago

That was the biggest win in Bucs history to me. They can beat the Packers for sure. Give us good chance. White and Winfield were stellar. Have give props to SMB too. Defense overall was stellar. The Winston trick play was sickening. So glad we beat that smug arrogant prick Peyton.
Man Cichy has some really bad luck or glass bones or something.

Dude
Reply to  fredster
6 months ago

You mean since the Superbowl, right? Or are you saying winning last night’s divisional playoff game win was better than winning the Superbowl back in the 2002-2003 season?

I don’t know, but I think anytime you win it all, like the Superbowl, that has to be the biggest win in Bucs history.

Last edited 6 months ago by Dude