QB JEFF GARCIA(On today's loss)"Tough loss. [It's] disappointing. We had opportunities throughout the game [and] unfortunate mistakes. We can't afford to turn the football over in critical times and that just was a frustrating game in that sense because we did move the ball, for the most part. We just couldn't find a way to finish drives when we needed to. We had a great opportunity at the start of the second half after a defensive stop, getting the ball in good field position and then not being able to put a drive together. Then the second drive – obviously finishing with a fumble at the one-yard line – those things just can't happen. In order to be a good football team and to win on the road, you need to protect the football – which we've been good at doing throughout this year – but that came back to haunt us today."
(On the botched-exchange that occurred first-and-goal at the two-yard line that kept the team from scoring)"It's just an unfortunate situation – something that I need to be better at [in] taking care of the football. It was just one of those things where [center] John [Wade] had a big-time block where he had to reach to get in front of big [defensive tackle] Shaun Rogers, and it just didn't happen clean. That's something that I need to take control of and be better in that situation."
(On the Bucs coming back to score a touchdown and a field goal after Detroit scored)"Well we didn't give up. It was just not enough soon enough. The guys played hard throughout the entire game. Unfortunately injuries hurt us again today, but it is a resilient team. It is a team that keeps battling [and] keeps playing as hard as possible right up until the end. I just wish I could have done more for this team today. I wish that I could have done whatever it took to get the ball in the end zone one more time. That's something we're going to have to deal with over these next 24 hours and then we have to move on. We have another big test coming up this week against Jacksonville. Fortunately for us, we are going back home, but we need to find a way to be better as an offense – to be more consistent, to be more precise when it comes down to it, and just to find a way to help our defense out by putting points on the board."
BUCCANEERS HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN(On the difficulties his team faced today)"To lose a game like that – we had a punt blocked, a field goal miss in the first half, we lost our kickoff returner (Mark Jones) to probably a season-ending injury, our special teams didn't help us much in the first half, we obviously had the turnovers on in the first half, and their field position, one on first-and-goal – when you do things like that and give up a 95-yard drive late in the game you're not going to win."
(On QB Jeff Garcia's play overall in this football game)"I don't know how you look at it. I mean, our whole team basically is not playing with [tight end] Alex Smith, [running back] Cadillac [Williams] [full back Mike] Alstott, [running back Michael] Pittman; we lose [wide receiver Michael] Clayton; we lose [special teams returner] Mark Jones, [left tackle] Luke Pettigout isn't playing. For [ quarterback Jeff Garcia] to come out here today and hit, I don't know how many balls he completed – jiminy Christmas. It's a tragedy to lose this one."
(On what the offense was attempting to do at first-and-goal on the 2-yard line when the botched snap occurred)"It was just a basic ‘turn and give' – the most fundamental play in our offense, our number-one goal line play, the most practiced play in our attack down there. I don't know, we had a misfire on the quarterback exchange. Sometimes you've just gotta say ‘that's football' and as a coach, you take credit for that, but that was unbelievable."
[On the Lions being able to turn it around and score on a handoff to WR Calvin Johnson)"That was certainly the turning point in this game. You don't get second chances. We're not playing any other game than live NFL football. When you do the things that we did today – some of the penalties that we had, the four red zone opportunities, the turnovers – uncharacteristic of our team by they happen. Detroit hurt us in the process."
(On RB Earnest Graham carrying the running game with 92 yards on 19 carries and 13 receptions on 99 yards)"It's a credit to him. I can only compliment our players. I'm sick for them. I'm sick for our fans to lose a game like that. For Earnest to come in and step up like he did, [tight ends] Keith Heinrich [and] Jerramy Stevens picking up slack, [and left tackle] Donald Penn, we're missing [cornerback] Brian Kelly, [defensive end] Patrick Chukwurah didn't go in – a lot of guys got to play and we had the chance to win the football game. There are fundamental things that you have to do in this league to win and we didn't get them done today."
(On the injuries to WR Michael Clayton and return specialist Mark Jones)"We're very concerned about [return specialist] Mark Jones. We need to get a good look at it but it appears it could be a season-ending injury. [Wide receiver Michael] Clayton has a high ankle sprain. He made a nice catch early in the first drive of the football game. And so much for your three, four, and five receiver sets. It's a very tough time for us at this point but we'll do what we have to do."
(On regrouping for next week's home game against Jacksonville)"We're going to keep our fist rolled up. We're 4-3. We lost a game that was winnable today [but] there was a lot of silver lining in the amount of young guys that got to play extensively. We're going to rally around the healthy bodies that we do have and hope [Head Athletic Trainer] Todd Toriscelli and his staff will clean up our training room and get some guys back."
WR IKE HILLIARD(On mistakes killing the team on the road)"When you look at the percentages and the numbers, when you turn the football over in the National Football League, you don't give yourselves the chance to win. I think we played about as poorly as we could have played in a lot of areas. We had some bright spots and some things that we did well, but at the end of the day it's just a shame that this is a missed opportunity and we won't get this one back."
(On his touchdown reception late in the first half)"It was something that we put in during the week. We were actually trying to get [wide receiver] Joey [Galloway] in the back power line. Just because he commands so much attention, the corner and the safety actually got south, and [quarterback] Jeff [Garcia] had the opportunity to pump him and look me up in the front corner."
(On the team answering with a touchdown of their own in the fourth quarter after Detroit scored off the Bucs' 2-yard line fumble) "The drive was great in terms of finding a way to put something together and set something together consistently. It was something we didn't do all game and it's a shame that we didn't get that done. Now we're paying for it with a loss. We'll correct it and get ready for next week."
Bucs post-game quotes courtesy of the Buccaneer Radio Network.
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