Tampa Bay mounted a late comeback attempt against the Chiefs on Sunday, outscoring Kansas City 14-0 in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell by a score of 27-24. The Bucs are now 7-5 and sitting as the sixth seed in the NFC on the heels of back-to-back losses as they head into their bye week.

Head coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media following Tampa Bay’s loss on Sunday. Read the full transcript below.

On Carlton Davis’ struggles against Tyreek Hill, the plan to limit Hill
“[Davis] had [Hill] man-to-man and we tried to get a safety to him if we could but you’ve got [Travis] Kelce on the other side too, so that’s a lot of weapons but when we did play man-to-man Patrick [Mahomes] found him and then made some really good plays.”

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill and QB Patrick Mahomes
Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill and QB Patrick Mahomes – Photo by: USA Today

On the defense not being able to stop Mahomes late
“We stopped the run, we stopped the pass but we couldn’t stop the quarterback from scrambling. That was two big first downs and when you have an athletic guy who can make plays… I knew they were going to throw, we knew they were going to throw, we just had to keep him contained. We kept him in the pocket and he slid it up under us. That was a big part of it.”

On the slow starts from the offense
“We just missed third downs. We had very, very manageable third downs. They did a really good job in their blitz package and we didn’t handle it as an offense.”

On his message to the team heading into the bye week
“First and foremost get healthy and beat the virus. Every team that’s come back from the bye has had a virus problem and we can’t finish our season with eight, nine, 10 guys staying home. Every game is a big game, 11-5 will do it. One at a time but the first thing is get healthy and beat the virus.”

On what adjustments the coaching staff can make during the bye week
“We always evaluate each week so there’s not anything to really go back and look at because we’ve already got the self-scout, I call it, some people call it analytics. We’ve already got that repped all the way through the season. I think we’re getting better each and every week. There are times when we look really, really good and very in sync and when we’re converting third downs, that’s huge.”

On the team’s struggles scoring early
“Same answer, same answer. It’s third down conversions. Most of them have been seven or less, where we’ve been good all season, but early in the game, for whatever reason, we’re not making the plays. We’re not getting open, not protecting, just not making enough plays.”

On the defensive struggles early in games
“That’s the speed of the game. We talked about it all week to play faster, we made some plays, we didn’t make enough. We did a good job holding them to three and then we gave up the two chunk plays to Tyreek Hill.”

On Mahomes making plays even when you defend him perfectly
“It’s very frustrating. There are very, very few guys that I’ve ever seen in this league, or any league, that can backpedal eight, nine, 10, 11 yards in the pocket and then throw a dime 25 yards down the field. He has an unbelievable skill set and we had a lot of good rushers on him and he just keeps backpedaling away from it and slings it sidearm or whatever. And he can read the defense as he does it which makes him even more explosive.”

On if he’s surprised to be 7-5 right now
“Yes and no. I think defensively we’ve had our chances to be better. Offensively it was going to be a work in progress all season. I think that our kicking game has been outstanding for us, which was a problem in the first game only. I’ve seen us get better throughout the season and we’ve just got to win the next on and stay in this playoff hunt. Everybody tried to hand us the Lombardi Trophy in August. You don’t just throw guys out there with names. You’ve got to practice and learn to get in sync with each other and that takes time.”

On the deep ball looking better today
“We hit a bunch of them and one short one for a long run. I didn’t think that we got quite enough explosives. We got a bunch but when you’re playing this team we needed about two or three more explosives to shorten that field and get more points. That second half drive, I think a touchdown makes all the difference in the world over a field goal and every possession was important. But yeah, I thought that we did a much better job of getting our explosive plays.”

Bucs LT Donovan Smith
Bucs LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

On how important it was to have Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet out there
“I can’t say enough about Donovan. He was in a boot when he came to the stadium and tried it out and told me, ‘I can probably play a half. I don’t know if I’ll finish the game but I can give you a half,” and he played the whole game. He gutted it out. I know a lot of people want to tear into the guy but he’s a heck of a football player for me. Ali, we didn’t know until we got there yesterday. At least he got to practice some. I was really proud of both of those guys.”

On Tom Brady’s late interceptions
“We just didn’t make the play. One got tipped. I can’t really recall the other one, what happened on it. We just didn’t make the play.”

On the defense making key red zone stops
“I thought they did a great job, especially on that first one on the triple reverse and Carlton knocks the ball down. But yeah, we know what it was going to take. We had to hold them to field goals and not give up touchdowns and we gave up the two long touchdowns but yeah, I thought that we played good red zone defense. Todd [Bowles] had a real nice plan.”

On not using his timeouts to save time in the first half
“They had the ball on first down and I wasn’t giving Mahomes any more time. The last thing I wanted to do is let him have more time and we had the ball to start the second half so no, there was never a thought of taking timeouts with him having the ball in a two-minute drill.”

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