Head coach Bruce Arians was visibly upset multiple times throughout the Bucs’ 31-24 loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, specifically involving a handful of plays that he believed were miscalled by the officiating crew.
One such play occurred in the first quarter as the Saints’ return man, Deonte Harris, fumbled a punt that appeared to be recovered by the Bucs’ tight end Antony Auclair. The play was initially ruled a recovery for New Orleans and after a challenge from Arians was upheld. In second half, Michael Thomas seemed to get away with offensive pass interference with Vernon Hargreaves in coverage, a play that was once again upheld despite the challenge from Arians.
Arians spoke to the media about the outcome, as well as his thoughts on the officiating, following the game.
“Obviously disappointed with the outcome. I think the game came down to third downs, our inability to get off the field and our inability to stay on the field. A little better pass protection for us, offensively, getting into more manageable third downs. Defensively we’ve just got to make plays and we didn’t make them.”
(On if Thomas was beating man or zone coverage specifically)
“It was both, man and zone. We just did a poor, poor job of covering him. He’s a big, physical guy and we know he’s going to push off so you’ve just got to be more physical than him.”
(On if Thomas’ play against Vernon Hargreaves was offensive pass interference) “If that’s not, I don’t know what the hell is. A two hand shove, it knocked the guy backwards. They said they were hand fighting. They were hand fighting but that doesn’t knock the guy backwards.”
(On the referee’s explanation for not overturning the call and possession on the fumbled punt) “Just what they said, it was a non-clear recovery. Baffling.”
(On Mike Evans’ lack of production) “It was a poor job on our part. We moved him around, not enough. We were rolled to him doing things we’ve seen. We should have gotten a ball to him at the end and didn’t and he was open twice and we got sacked. We’ve just got to do a better job of moving him around.”
(On the Saints scoring to end the half and then scoring on the first drive of the second half) “Anytime you get a two-score like that it’s going to be huge. We talked about that at halftime, this is the third time we’ve come out after halftime and failed to get them off the field. It’s a trend. Maybe I’ll start deferring, we’ll see. We’ve been doing a pretty good job with the ball to start games, I like that, but defensively we’re just not answering the bell coming out of halftime.”
(On Devin White) “He just wasn’t ready and he’s too great of a young player to put out there if he’s not ready. He’s got too good of a future.”
(On if the secondary was just not quite good enough this game)
“We weren’t today. We have been at times but we still are too soft. We’re too soft. I don’t know any other way to put it. When we’re in press man… Now, we’ve got some guys that are getting after it but we’ve got some guys that are just soft.”
(On if the offensive line was why the Bucs couldn’t get any sacks on the day)
“I think that was a huge part of it. We were close a couple of times and let him get out.”
(On if the calls from the officials were just calling a tight game)
“No, they blew the call. It’s simple. It was a clear recovery on a fumble. Luckily we get a ball bounce, get an interception and score on it but he came out of the pile with the ball and they knew it before they went to replay. It’s all coming from New York.”
(On Scotty Miller) “We knew Scotty was going to get one-on-one so it’s just trusting him him to win. I think it was a feeling out process, do I really trust this guy yet? He hasn’t caught a pass yet. That’s what it looked like when we were throwing him the ball. Then all of a sudden it’s like, OK, we trust him now and it’s a little bit too late. The big thing was third down. Those guys get balls if we’re converting third downs and moving the chains.”
(On the long stretch of road games) “This was just a longer home game. We’ve got to go back, watch the film like we always do, go to work Wednesday and jump on a plane and go to London. Carolina is playing really well right now with Kyle Allen playing quarterback so it’ll be a challenge.”
(On Teddy Bridgewater) “I’ve always loved Teddy. He’s a good, solid player and should be a starter in the league.”