Quotes courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations department

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on Tampa Bay’s 23-21 win over Philadelphia:
“I would just like to say it is a very exciting, thrilling victory and I am very proud of our football team.  Obviously, Matt Bryant gets his own room when we go on the road now and anything else he wants, he gets.  That’s one of the most dramatic finishes to a football game any of us will ever see.  To beat a team like Philadelphia is a great accomplishment. I don’t care what the statistics say; to be 0-4 and buried by a lot of people, to beat Cincinnati and Philadelphia, two of arguably the best teams in football, is a great accomplishment.  It wasn’t always pretty, but I tip my hat off to our players and our coaches.”

Gruden on his decision to have Matt Bryant try the 62-yard field goal:
“Well, you see him kick off prior to the Eagles last scoring drive. There was a little breeze down there, not much today, and he bombed it out of the end zone. I saw him kick two 54-yarders on our practice field this week. I just had a feeling that if he got the ball up, if we could protect where he could really get the ball up, he could make it. What can I say?  It was a great, great, great outcome today.”

Gruden on whether he was stunned when Matt Bryant made the field goal:
“Yes, I was stunned.  I don’t make a living doing this, kicking 61 or 62 yard field goals to determine outcomes of games.  I am big believer in working hard and probability and studying football and trying to manufacture plays and all that.  But to count on a 62-yarder on a day like this is hard to do.”

Gruden on going for the field goal instead of passing the ball:
“We thought about it and we had a pretty good play prior to the field goal. Bruce [Gradkowski] tripped, got tripped coming out of the center.  We had Alex Smith, I think, on our sideline for about a six-yard gain to make it a legitimate opportunity to kick it, but we got stepped on, had to throw the ball away. I just went back to what he [Matt Bryant] did on the practice field.  I know he has long range capability and I’m glad we went with that decision.”  

Gruden on whether he has ever seen a bigger swing of emotion than today’s between the Eagle touchdown and the Buccaneer winning field goal:
“No, not really, I mean, what can you say about [Brian] Westbrook?  He is a magnificent player.  [Donovan] McNabb for crying out loud, in this weather, in this heat, for him to do what he did today, after throwing three interceptions, tells you he’s a heck of a player. For them to come from behind and get the lead with seconds remaining is a credit to them.  I also credit our offensive football team and Michael Pittman for getting a good return, collecting some yardage to put ourselves in a position for a chance.”

Gruden on the percentage chance he thought Matt Bryant had in making that final field goal:
“Well, how many have been made in the history of football?  You know what I mean. Not very good.  Again, I have seen a lot of attempts in my day and I have seen a lot of guys with strong legs come close and that is all you’re hoping for in that situation.”

Bucs CB Ronde Barber on K Matt Bryant’s kick at the end of the game:
“I think everybody on the sideline after the, you can call it a collapse because it was a collapse in the fourth quarter, there were a lot of negative vibes going.  I think everybody banded together, put some positive thoughts on Matt [Bryant], he drilled it.  I think from the moment it came off his foot everybody knew it was going through the goal post.  It’s an incredible win for us.  [It’s a] testament in being a team.  It doesn’t take just one player or one or two plays, you never know.  I’m at a loss for words right now.”

Barber on going from the Eagles touchdown to the game winning kick:
“[There was] terrible tackling on that play.  I think we missed three tackles on that one play.  [Brian] Westbrook is a heck of a back, but we just have to get him on the ground.  You know what set this all up though was Michael Pittman’s kickoff return.  It was huge for us.  Two or three good plays, the catch by [Michael] Clayton and the run by Bruce [Gradkowski], set us up to make history.  It’s a good feeling right now.”

Barber on his two interception/two touchdown performance in today’s game:
“You get opportunities.  We’ve had a bunch of them in the course of the season.  In the secondary, especially, and we haven’t taken advantage of them.  I told these guys it’s not alright anymore to leave these opportunities out there.  I talked the talk, I guess I walked the walk.”

Bucs LB Derrick Brooks on what DE Simeon Rice said to him after RB Brian Westbrook’s touchdown:
“Sometimes you want those moments to remain private.  It’s just kind of funny because normally, I was down because I was the first guy to miss a tackle, and normally, role reversal, I’m the guy that usually is the one that comes with the positive words, pep in your step.  In this particular instance Simeon [Rice] lifted me up.  He said he had a good feeling, just stay positive, and just reminded me of the situation.  The offense returning the ball out, two timeouts and I just looked up and obviously saw the things he was talking about and the play was made.”

Brooks on the missed tackle on RB Brian Westbrook’s touchdown:
“It’s funny because the things that you do the most in critical times seem to fail you.  Again, I’ve made that tackle probably 500 [times] of my whatever tackles I made.  I missed it.  I guess the discouraging thing is the pursuit after that.  We all missed him.  That’s partly because the guys are used to me bringing the guy down and they’re not having to make that tackle.  This is just, personally, an opportunity that I’ve just taken to stay humble and just go up for God with this effort.  This was big for us.  Who knows where it’s going to take us.  But for right now, this is probably one of the biggest wins of my career.”

Brooks on his missed tackle being an opportunity for K Matt Bryant:
“It’s because you ask for opportunities in this game to make plays and the humbleness you have from God to do it, you don’t want to make it personal.  You just ask for an opportunity to honor Him.  My missed tackle on the defense was a chance for Matt [Bryant] to come out and make that play.  It’s just one of these things, you look back and say some things may just have to go down to happen.  And maybe this was the time for it.  You never went from one emotional low to an emotional high, there are a lot of people saying that.  It just teaches us again that the game is not over until it’s over.”

Brooks on the game-winning field goal by K Matt Bryant:
“Remember, it was the other way last week against Cincinnati.  They lined up to attempt, I think, a 60-something yard field goal.  We were well aware and we saw that ball land about two yards short watching tapes last week.  It’s like we’ve been on both ends; the guy missing last week and us winning, and obviously, the field goal team and Matt [Bryant] coming through today.  Yeah, Matt [Bryant] made the kick but it’s from the protection, to the snap, to the hold.  It’s the kickoff return unit.  How many times have we been in that situation and we got a penalty?  Everybody blocked their guy, [Michael] Pittman brought it out 40-some yards.  This was a team win.  The offense didn’t turn the ball over.  Any time we don’t turn the ball over at home, our record is pretty good.  This was a real team win today.”

Bucs kicker Matt Bryant on his game-winning 62-yard field goal:
 “Right before the kick, I was telling some guys earlier, you go through your steps, three steps back, two steps over and then you give Josh (Bidwell) a head nod and then you go with it.  Again with the head nod, he looks up at me and has a grin on his face and says ‘just have fun’.  It was almost like you are about ready to get on a rollercoaster and then we’ll see you in a little bit type of thing, but yeah we’ll be having fun.”

Bryant on the rollercoaster type game and how he felt after the kick:
“Survival.  I got in the bottom of the pile and didn’t think I was going to get up, literally.  This game was pretty emotional to go through what we did, played a good game as far as getting the points on the board, we had them starting deep in their end and for them to get that touchdown with only thirty-something seconds left is pretty rough, but we managed.”

Bryant on his thoughts once he kicked the ball:
“I hate to say this because it’s going to sound like I’m lying.  As soon as I hit it I said, ‘well maybe’, but I didn’t hit as good as I thought I could have hit it.  I saw it probably going three-quarters of the way and then I lost sight of it and then somebody jumped on me and I heard a cannon go off and I said, ‘well I guess I made it.’

Bryant on what Coach Gruden said to him after the kick:
“He gave me the hip-hip-hooray and then a lot of people came and hit me on the head.”

Bryant on his road to and through the NFL:
“To tell you the truth, it’s been a weird season for me so far.  There are a couple of things that happened in the Atlanta game that I had no control over, just the timing has been off a little here and there.  Just frustration, that you know you are a much better kicker than what the stats are showing.  After the second kick, I believe the 44-yarder, I went to the sideline and I told Coach Bisaccia, ‘we’re back in business,’ because it seems that things were going how they’ve always gone in the past.  I had a rough road just to get to the league and I got here, I’ve done the best I can and so far I’ve done pretty well.  They say you’re as good as your last kick, so if the season were to end today it would be a great night.”

More from Bryant on his road to the NFL:
“When I came out of college I gave myself four years to try to make in the league.  I graduated from Baylor University and I worked in a pawn shop for four years.  At lunch breaks I would go practice in case I ever got that call.  Going on that fourth year I was going to mentally prepare myself that the dream wasn’t going to come true, but I wanted to do everything that I could, so I could never tell myself, ‘well, what if you’ve done this and what if you would have done that.’  I got a call from the Giants and here I am.  That was pretty much the process.”

Bucs QB Bruce Gradkowski on these last second come from behind games:
“That was unbelievable out there today, that guy (Matt Bryant) right there that is unbelievable.  I looked at Tim Rattay before he kicked and I was like, ‘Is this possible? Is this realistic?  Should I expect him to miss it?’  That was crazy.”

Gradkowski on what Tim Rattay said to him:
“Rattay just looked at me and was like, ‘I don’t know.’  That is unbelievable it just shows that we keep playing to the very end.  It wasn’t pretty out there, offensively.  I know on my part there are a lot of things I need to get better at and work on.  I’m disappointed by my performance today.  We should have scored a lot more, especially with the way the defense was playing with all those turnovers.  You’re going to have a game like that and, hey, the defense was flying around.  They won us a football game, but also offensively we protected the ball well, which was key.  Cadillac, the offensive line did a great job and Mike Alstott and Michael Pittman.  A lot of good plays out there, a lot we can learn from and build on and it’s great to get a win, though.”

Gradkowski on how big it is to establish the run for him as a quarterback:
“An effective running game just takes the pressure off the quarterback a lot of the times.  If we can run the football, we can play action, drop back pass, it takes some of the pressure off of me.  But Cadillac, he hits the hole so hard and with the energy he brings to the table and how enthusiastic he is.  It was great game today on his part. He played hard.  We fought until the very end.  That’s one thing about us, we are going to fight until the very end. Don’t ever count us out.”

Gradkowski on how it would have felt to lose the game after being up 17-0:
“We knew offensively a lot of things were left out there on the field.  The defense played a great game and I was just afraid if we didn’t win this game there are a lot of things on film that are going to look bad.  It is still going to look bad but we have to learn from it.  That’s the good thing about it, we got away with a win, have to learn from this stuff.  Some of us are looking forward to getting there tomorrow and watching this film; getting this over with and then going to New York next week.”

Gradkowski on how the sideline reacted when Philadelphia scored the go-ahead touchdown:
“It was crazy; it was an unbelievable play.  It was just a little check down and I looked at someone and said, ‘Did he just score?’ I couldn’t see all the way down there, I thought maybe he got knocked out of bounds or something but thought, ‘oh well.’ We’ve been in this situation before and that is the exciting part about it.  I knew all we had to do was get into field goal range. I wish we could have made it a little bit easier on Matt and got a little closer.  Things are going to happen, he made a great kick and it was an unbelievable protection on the kick, great snap, great hold and just overall great execution on that play.”

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