After back-t0-back narrow losses to the Rams and Chiefs before the Bucs went into their bye week, Tampa Bay bounced back with a crucial 26-14 win over the Vikings on Sunday.

After going down 6-0 early in the second quarter, the Bucs battled back with 23 unanswered points to take a commanding lead that they would ultimately hold on to as the clock ran out on Minnesota’s comeback attempts.

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

On Scotty Miller’s touchdown starting the offense
“No doubt. We, again, missed a couple of third downs early but that was a huge touchdown and I think that getting the stop and then that play changed all the momentum on our sideline.”

On making Leonard Fournette inactive, LeSean McCoy’s role
“The decision was… I loved Leonard. I think he’s a heck of a kid, a great player but we wanted to get [McCoy] back involved. He’s fresh and he showed it today. He made it all pay off for me. I took the risk and he made it pay off, he made the best of his opportunity.”

On getting the ball back before the half and putting up three points
“When they ran the ball I didn’t think there was enough time. I thought there was enough time to punt block or try to get return, and we just missed the return. Tom [Brady] did a great job of executing, getting us up there for the Hail Mary and that’s all we were trying to get. Either get to the 36 for the field goal or get a shot at the Hail Mary. We got the call and got the three points and we came right back with a touchdown so anytime you get that double score it’s huge.”

On Dan Bailey’s struggles, Ryan Succop’s success
“I can’t talk about Dan but I can sure talk about Ryan. He had a heck of a day and he was shocked on the extra point that he missed because that’s never… but he drilled that [48-yard field goal], had no doubt that he’d make that field goal which made it a two-score game and he’s been great for us all year.”

On the success from the Bucs’ pass rush at opportune times
“It was huge. I knew coming out of the opening date that tackling would be an issue. It is in December anyway because it’s so long, since the last game, since you tackle because you just don’t tackle in practice, you can’t. I was upset about the tackling in the first quarter but I really was happy with the pass rush and pushing those kicks back, that was huge the whole game.”

On how big it was having no turnovers
“The only thing we had was that drive starting with a penalty. That really ticked me off because we only had about 30 seconds off the clock because of that penalty but yeah, I think our team, especially offensively is really, they’re in sync. They know what we’re trying to get done and Tom did a great job of protecting the ball and making big plays.”

On the priority of getting Miller involved today
“None really. He’s the deep guy on that pattern, Tom read it out and hit him but it wasn’t designed to go to Scotty, it was designed to go to someone else.”

On how big this win was for the team
“It was huge. We had to do this, it was a big game for us. Guys did their job, they rested, guys took care of the virus and we came back clean, healthy and it showed up today. We were a very fresh team, I thought, in the fourth quarter.”

On the Bucs running more than they threw it today, if that was the game plan
“I think yes and no. I think games dictate how much you run it. What’s the score at the end of the third quarter, and we were leading so it led to more runs and [Ronald Jones II] ran it really, really well, especially that last drive. We wanted to set up some play action, didn’t hit as many as we hoped but when asked earlier this week about our identity, we just showed our identity. We can do any damn thing we want to do.”

On the offensive line’s performance
“Outstanding. They’ve been good and they’ve been good, knock on wood, when they’re healthy we’re good and those guys have been great. Just the dependability of all five of those guys being here every week has been fantastic.”

On the way Antoine Winfield Jr. has played this year
“He and Tristan [Wirfs] should be hitting the proverbial rookie wall about now and we joked about it all week but both of those kids are just mature beyond their years, especially in football acumen. Tristan has been playing lights out, I don’t know if there’s a better right tackle in the league, and right now Antoine is just so heady. He studies, he’s got his dad to lean on and he’s got all the coaches to lean on and he puts his time in.”

On the defense putting the game away today
“I thought two things. We stopped them, the offense came down and got the field goal that made it back a two-score game so we knew that it was hunting time for the defensive line and I just thought we got after them. Our secondary played good, we got after Kirk [Cousins] and he didn’t stand in the pocket very often very long. That’s what we can do. If we get rid of the running game, get them in a two-score game, that time in the ball game, we should be getting after them.”

On Winfield’s performance against a team he grew up rooting for and his dad played for, what it meant to him
“I’m sure he’s elated, the family’s probably elated, sure. When you see the team you grew up watching, your dad in the locker room, it’s huge. And I can remember when Peyton [Manning] played the Saints, it was the same thing. When he got the blitz sack I would have just loved to have seen us pick up that fumble and score but that was a great, great job from him.”

On any thought about going for a touchdown at the end of the half
“None. To get a chance at points, we were not going to take any chance of not come out with any points. It was a risk to do what we did and it paid off for three because we had the ball coming out for the second half, got the touchdown and it’s a 10-point swing.”

On how much this win helps in the wildcard race
“We got the tiebreaker on these guys and this is a good football team, they’re going to win some games down the stretch. We’re one day at a time and that’s what I just told the guys, it was a great win because it started on Tuesday. We had great practices Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then again this week’s different. We can’t meet Mondays and Tuesdays so we have another different way that we have to handle getting ready to play a ball game whether it’s virtual, however we have to get it done we’ll get it done, and just make sure that we take care of tomorrow’s business tomorrow.”

On the offense getting so few plays in the first quarter
“It’s frustrating because again, we had a manageable third, they dropped the coverage and we came back and hit Scotty and it was a good play by their defense. We went to the right guy and they just made a good play but yeah, it’s frustrating when they’re running the ball like that against our defense. We’re not used to that and it wasn’t anything scheme-wise, we were just missing tackles against a really good back and I think we cleaned that up and got better and better as we went along.

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6 months ago

It’s 6 games in a row where the defense has been crap in the 1st quarter. it would be nice if they could make some stops early on.

6 months ago

Vikings were the hot team coming into this game and the Bucs had been staggered by a couple of narrow three point losses against better teams.
Defense gave ground grudgingly and came up with the big plays on defense when they needed them.
This team is still a work in progress but it was good to see Brady upright for most of the game and not trying to go yard every time on third down.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the Bucs only pass the ball twice on first down.

Reply to  drdneast
6 months ago

drdneast, I agree with you appreciating that the defense didn’t give up any big plays. And I thought the Bucs ran better today – especially on first downs – no TFLs. But I am so tired of hearing, “This team is still a work in progress”. It just sounds like an excuse. EVERY team is a work in progress. But 13 weeks into the season Brady shouldn’t be overthrowing/underthrowing so many receivers and the defense should be able to set the tone earlier in the game. Again teams like Miami (with a new QB) and the Browns (with a new… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by JSW
6 months ago

Well, glad we won – or at least that Minnesota lost. I don’t think either team played particularly well. (After watching this game and the Gators vs. LSU game, I’m Jonesin’ to watch a defense that tackles well.) I thought we played our best ball when the game was essentially over, and the Vikings were in desperation mode. Aside from a few of the sacks, and the TDs to Scotty and Gronk I hardly cheered. Just a rather boring game – but a win is a win – and I’ll take it. This team looks like it plays with an… Read more »

6 months ago

After the Green Bay win, we looked like the best team in football. Truth be told we’ve gotten worse and worse instead of better and better. Getting Tom Brady was like Christmas coming early for me. However, everything TB is great at, we don’t do???? He’s great at play action, he’s great throwing screen passes, he’s great using motion, he gets rid of the ball in 2.3 seconds, he’s great throwing crossing patterns. We do NONE of that. Our beautifully talented offense is boring, vanilla, predictable and easily defensed. Our defense without Vita Vea can’t get off the field &… Read more »

Reply to  pokerpat12
6 months ago

You make some valid points pokerpat but one thing our defense was good at today was shutting the Vikings down on third down. The Minnesotans only converted 5 of 15 third downs.
Hey Davin Cook is a great back and his OL knows how to run block. Pass block, not so much.
I agree with you about out offense being predictable.. !st down, run 3 yards. 2nd down, pass. 3rd down. pass. We ran one time today on a third and one, I almost fell out of my chair.

6 months ago

I think you showed that u got lucky…
I’ll take the win but they outplayed us

6 months ago

Bucs showed their identity or was it the Vikes showed us a comedy or errors? Our 25 million dollar man showed me he cannot accurately hit targets at 43 yr young. I counted 8 sure targets he flat out missed. So don’t get beside yourself Mr. Arians. Just have the team ready to..RUN THE TABLE. Our secondary is still very suspect And Our O line has got to get even better to protect Mr. Immobility. We will take the Win.

Reply to  twspin
6 months ago

You act like 25 million for a QB is a lot of money in the NFL? You obviously have a distaste for Brady ever since he got here and he definitely missed some throws but 8? Please inform me where the 8 is coming from? The guy has 30 tds already, has them in a playoff position for the first time in over a decade, and has an inept play caller in Leftwich calling hail marrys on 3rd and short half the time that he has pushing him into terrible throws. Has Brady been perfect? Absolutely not, but to constantly… Read more »

6 months ago

“we just showed our identity”—Bruce Arians
I sure hope not Bruce. You got off to another slow start and the QB play was inconsistent at best.
“I think our team, especially offensively is really, they’re in sync”—Bruce Arians
I sure hope not Bruce. That was anything but in sync, you barely put up 23 points against a very porous defense.
Coaches can say the darndest things after a win.