Tampa Bay locked in their first playoff appearance since 2007 on Saturday with a 47-7 win over the Detroit Lions.

Quarterback Tom Brady only played in the first half but totaled 348 passing yards and four passing touchdowns while receiver Mike Evans had a huge day with 181 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions.

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

On what this team has accomplished with a playoff berth
“It’s just the beginning. Our goal when we started out, especially this year, was to just get in the dance. Now it’s to win 11 games and see where we stand and where we’re going and who we’re playing. Really, really proud of our guys and our guys did a great job of preparing this week. You could feel that this was a playoff practice week, even with the holidays they handled their business well.”

On what’s clicked over the last two halves of football from the starters
“I think we’ve attacked more and kept a really nice mix of protections, running the ball, taking our shots down the field, completing third downs, making first downs on first and second down. We’re an explosive football team and when we can keep Tom standing, he’s going to deliver it for us.”

On the lack of turnovers from the offense of late
“There’s no doubt. We had the one dumb penalty where we had an audible and we didn’t audible, we had an illegal man downfield and that wiped out a big gain but we’ve had good discipline. I didn’t like the fiasco there after the interception but overall we’ve had good discipline and we’re giving ourselves a chance to win.”

On what a win like this can do for momentum before the playoffs
“It was a good win and it was exactly what we talked about. We wanted to go out and get a good start. We’ve deferred the kickoff most of this year, we decided to put our offense out there and we delivered. It was exactly what we needed. Special teams were a little shaky today. Ryan [Succop] just hates this turf and it showed today. I really wanted that goose egg and we gave up that punt return. Not everything can be perfect but I’m always looking for perfect.”

On how special it was for Brady to perform like that in his 300th game
“It was great. Any time you have a 158 quarterback rating and throw for over 300 yards in a half back-to-back it’s pretty special and he’s a pretty special player.”

On what this playoff appearance means to him personally
“It means the world and this is why you coach, you want to get in to a chance to win a championship and what a great group of guys we have to coach. Very resilient, a fun group of guys and they know their business and they do a great job. Ever since I’ve gotten to Tampa we’ve never had to ask our guys to work hard. We’ve gotten smarter and we’ve gotten more disciplined and it’s starting to show.”

On Derrick Brooks saying that the Bucs need to put a dominant game together
“It always matters. When you play a half like we did last week and a half like we did this week… you start stacking those together and we’re going to be a pretty tough out. I like the way we’re playing football right now in all three phases, although Ryan did struggle today.”

On getting off to that dominant start early
“We like to come out in the second half so we always defer the coin toss, try to score before the half and get the double score. This week we felt like we could attack so we took the football if we won the coin toss and our guys came out and went right down the field. It was something that we needed desperately, obviously, just so people could quit talking about it. We’ve been winning nice but not nice enough but today hopefully it was nice enough.”

On the Bucs’ success on the road
“I think that we finally got used to playing in empty stadiums, it took a while. Today we had a lot of energy and it’s like, OK, we’re learning how to play in these empty stadiums where there’s absolutely no crowd and it’s different than having a partial crowd. We’ve always been a good road team, even in Arizona we were a good road team. This year without the crowd noise it’s so different, every game’s really a home game and it’s just, hey let’s go play ball in the parking lot and let’s go. Any time you go 6-2 on the road you should be in the playoffs, that’s for sure.”

On Mike Evans nearing in on 1,000 yards with a big game
“We knew, especially this team. Tom went against this defense for 20 years in New England, all the calls and everything and was very, very confident that we could get Mike the ball in this ball game and then it was forcing it to him in the second half. Every time Blaine had a chance we were going to try and get Mike that record. I was hoping he’d get it today and we wouldn’t have to play him next week and next week will take care of itself, but I desperately want that to happen. Whatever he needs, 50 or whatever he has left, I’m sure Atlanta’s not going to want to give it to him, so we’ll have to find some creative ways to get it for him.”

On Blaine Gabbert and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, other backups
“Blaine hadn’t played in a year and a half and people don’t know how good Blaine Gabbert is, he can really spin a football. It’s a shame that one got knocked out of his hand because we’d have had another drive going. And Ke’Shawn, we’ve known what Ke’Shawn is, it’s just getting an opportunity. He’s so quick and sudden, a different style runner. Leonard [Fournette’s] a big powerful guy. It just gives us another good change of pace. Herb Miller, a bunch of young guys got out there today. Tyler [Johnson] did a great job. Tanner Hudson. A bunch of good guys got to play this week.”

On the efficiency of the Bucs’ offense
“I think that’s what we’re capable of. If you can get first downs and chunk plays on first and second down you can score faster and score more often. We went with no huddle without fast break, we’ve been working on it for a few weeks just to get it in the game and it was a really nice drive that we handled extremely well so I was really happy to see that because we might use it in the playoffs.”

On how this team has come together over the past two years
“It was putting the secondary together first and letting them get back guys last year and hopefully we’ll get Carlton back out there this week and bring them along. Get a defense. We needed a defense. I knew we’d score points, we’ve always scored points, it’s just a matter of getting a defense, getting those guys re-signed. Hopefully we’ll keep them all here this year and continue to build on defense and just add those pieces offensively. Obviously Tom was huge, Rob [Gronkowsk] was huge and they were more, ‘we know how to win.’ That’s what they brought, we know how to win. And Tom’s done it a couple of times this year where we’ve gotten down and he’s brought us back. I like where we’re at now in the second year and I think we’ll continue to build. Anything can happen. I’ve been a six seed and gone all the way to the Super Bowl and won it, right here in this stadium, so anything’s possible and now that we’re in the dance we have to se what next week brings and where we’re going.”

On Detroit allowing the first drive to continue and taking advantage of it
“There’s no doubt. Their discipline, or lack of, helped us tremendously. It was exactly what we needed and had he not jumped offsides I think we would have had a better play, but they are what they are. We’ve had them go the other way, but I love what our guys did with that opportunity, went straight down and scored.

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TBChucky
TBChucky (@tbchucky)
11 months ago

This is exactly how we should’ve beaten this team.. We all know that our Bucs tend to play down to the competition. Proud of our guys! Loved the aggressiveness in the first half, and Tom killed it! Our top 3 WRs all looked good, as well as Gronk! I’m super stoked!! LETS GO BUCS!!

Spitfire
Spitfire (@spitfire)
11 months ago

I hated people saying the Lions kept that first drive goin. On 3rd down they jumped offsides which allowed them to get a sack. If they didn’t jump offsides they almost
Guaranteed would not have gotten that sack and we may have kept the drive goin just fine. Get over it.

drdneast
drdneast (@drdneast)
Reply to  Spitfire
11 months ago

It’s a true a statement as my saying if I had bought Netflix at their first offering I’d be a millionaire and it makes just as much sense.

drdneast
drdneast (@drdneast)
11 months ago

Great win and great fun. That was the third time this year I was able to relax through a game and really enjoy it. Green Bay and Oakland were the others.
I’m lucky if I get one game a season to do that and thanks to TB12 I; have gotten three this season.
Good to see KeShaun Vaughn run the ball. He definitely is an improvement over Fournette and can give our running game some extra pop along with RoJo.

scubog
scubog (@scubog)
Reply to  drdneast
11 months ago

I never think we have enough of a lead after that Colts debacle in 2003.

Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
11 months ago

Yeah, you beat up on the hapless lions.
Another practice game and then the string of losing teams ends and you get a real team like Seattle……….in Seattle.
Just the beginning aye. In case you haven’t noticed this is 50% of the Brady experiment that has a shelf life of two years.

Dave
Dave (@bucball02)
Reply to  Spruce
11 months ago

Oh ok. A real team like Seattle? Lol. And what has Seattle done? They have as many quality wins as we do. Their 2 quality wins, were against the Dolphins and Cardinals. As far as being a “real team”, what makes them a real team before the Bucs? They have one of the worst pass defenses in nfl history. Their running game has been league average at best. Their pass rush has been league average at best. They’ve had one of, if not the biggest, home field advantages in the nfl over the past decade. And now there’s no fans… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
BigSombrero
BigSombrero (@bucwild02)
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

On this, I agree with you. The NFC is a really inconsistent conference, especially Seattle. The two teams who will be tough to beat at home are the Saints and Packers. Every other opponent is beatable.

Dave
Dave (@bucball02)
Reply to  BigSombrero
11 months ago

Completely disagree on the Packers. Saying every other opponent is beatable, basically insinuates that the Packers aren’t beatable. And we completely blew them out when we played them. What about playing them on the road would make them any tougher than at home? We’re 6-2 on the road. There’s no fans(or very very limited fans), and Brady(not Rodgers), is the best bad weather QB to ever play the game. Rodgers is 4-2 in his career at home in the playoffs. Not some unbeatable player or team in Lambeau. And based on what I saw back in October, the Bucs would… Read more »

Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
Reply to  BigSombrero
11 months ago

Then you may have a problem on that Saints thing.

Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Aside from handling a good Rams team today that’s a fair point. Now how do you feel about having to play the Saints.

Dave
Dave (@bucball02)
Reply to  Spruce
11 months ago

How do I feel about having to play the Saints? I’ll tell you what. My prediction is, we won’t get to face the Saints. I think the Saints are getting knocked out in the first round by the Cards. But if we end up having to play them, I’m not worried. They are every bit as flawed as we are. I think they’re trying to hide Brees, and win with their defense and running game. Which doesn’t usually hold up in the playoffs. Outside us, they’ve played nobody, and beat nobody. Week 1 was an automatic win for the Saints.… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Dave
Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

I don’t know what to say other then you are a good Bucs fan. At this stage the Cards aren’t even in the playoffs. Another way to look at the second Bucs/Saints game is that the Saints showed they are a clearly better coached, well rounded team. That however at this stage is all moot. Good news. Looks like the greatest odds are the Bucs will play some hapless NFC East team. Assuming they keep their record in tact of beating up on lesser teams I’m seeing scenario where they travel to the frozen tundra in the second game. That’s… Read more »

Dave
Dave (@bucball02)
Reply to  Spruce
10 months ago

You can look at it that way. The Saints have looked mostly mediocre in every non Bucs game. And the 2nd Bucs game was their only blowout win, and our only blowout loss. Even in week 1, when we should have been expected to be blown out, we only lost by 11. If we play the Saints again, I can guarantee you it will be a close game. The Saints aren’t 35 points better than us. How anyone can say they are, is insane

Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

You are pretty stuck on the Saints aren’t you? 35 points? What the heck was that? Only lost by 11. What the heck was that. Priorities first and the Saints are not one because they aren’t even on the horizon.

BigSombrero
BigSombrero (@bucwild02)
Reply to  Spruce
11 months ago

Totally agree that this was a game against an awful team without coaches. If the Bucs can’t destroy the Lions in that situation, then do they even deserve to be considered a contender? That said, the Bucs are playoff bound. I’m really happy for Lavonte David and wish the Bucs would’ve kept Dot as a backup.

Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
Reply to  BigSombrero
11 months ago

Amen to playoff bound. How can you not be happy about that.
Are the Bucs a team that can be more then a one and done team? My prediction is no. I do not think they are well coached on all the little things that win playoff games against really good teams and they have issues in any number of critical areas not exposed with the losing teams they’ve been playing. But good luck!

PissedOffBuc1988
PissedOffBuc1988 (@buclover1988)
11 months ago

A long time coming. This team has gone through highs and lows all year and if we’re being honest; the great teams go through adversity through some part or part of the year. Tom brady had me fooled. He clearly still has it. After the bye week, we have come out looking healthier and more on the same page. Were doing everything: taking our shots but still throwing the ball to the short and intermediate routes. Allowing Brady to distribute the ball around to everyone. Were seeing motion, multiple sets. On defense were blitzing again and playing to our players… Read more »

Spruce
Spruce (@mdb06074gmail-com)
11 months ago

We’ve been here before. A few wins with the Bucs fan base imagining a Super Bowl at home after being so depressed after loses to better teams. Here’s the deal. Good for you. The goal that everyone predicted was the Bucs would make the playoffs as a Wild Card and it happened. Here’s the problem Arian’s and his staff are not that good. The team is flawed in any number of areas that have not been apparent against lesser teams. To beat teams like the Saints or whomever the coaching will need to scheme up a great game. What will… Read more »

Dave
Dave (@bucball02)
Reply to  Spruce
10 months ago

Yeah because there’s a team in the nfl that’s not flawed. Every team is flawed In some form or fashion. And according to your logic, the Saints are overrated because they haven’t beaten anybody either. The one elite team they’ve played(Packers) they lost. The same Packers we beat by 28. We lost to the Chiefs by 3, the Saints lost to the Chiefs by 3