(On his first touchdown pass to TE Alex Smith)“[It was] just, I thought, a really solid combination of plays by the offense of finally getting something going. [I was] basically taking what they were giving me, as far as the pass game was concerned. Alex did a great job on that play of selling the fake, selling the run fake, getting outside. He executed the play just like it was drawn up – Alex is wide open in the corner of the end zone and I was able to throw a ball he could catch.”
(On his second touchdown to TE Alex Smith and the attempted on-side kick)“It’s unfortunate it didn’t go our way because special teams did a great job of obviously recovering that kick and executing that play. We still were within the two-touchdown game. If we did get the ball, we’d have a chance to maybe put another drive together, get another touchdown on the board, and obviously we’d have to go for two. But I like the fight in this team. We didn’t give up, we kept battling, but it wasn’t our better performance today and we know that. It’s just something that we’re going to bring it together tomorrow on Monday. We’re going to rally again and get back to doing what we need to do. We started the first quarter of the season off with a tough loss in Seattle. This is the start of the second quarter of the season with a tough loss but I like what we have going with this team. I’m ready to come home and play in front of our home crowd against a pretty good Tennessee football team, but I think it’s going to be an exciting week next week and it’s just something that – we have good things to look forward to. This is a good football team. We’re excited about what we have. We’re going to put this one behind us, we’re going to learn from it, and we’re going to move on. It’s a long season. We can’t dwell on it. We have to learn from it and just get better.”
TE ALEX SMITH(On adjustments they had to make early on to score)“I think we were just putting ourselves in bad positions. We were first and second down and not gaining any yards, so once you do that you’re playing right into their games. We were able to get some positive yards after a while, and that really helped us. Once we stopped killing ourselves a little bit we were able to move the ball.”
(On the his first touchdown)“[Safety] Tanard [Jackson] set us up with good field position. We just kept marching down the field. We didn’t have any negative plays, we just kept moving down the field. [Quarterback] Jeff [Garcia] found me in the back of the end zone to cap off a great drive.”
(On fighting back in the second half after being down by three scores)“We know that’s an offense that we’ve got to keep off the field. On our offense, we didn’t get that job done. We had a couple three-and-outs, and we left our defense out there way too long. We knew we had to keep [Colts quarterback] Peyton Manning on the sideline. I want to tip my hat off to him. He did a great job marching his team and eating up the clock.”
(On his second touchdown of the game and the onside kick)“Unfortunately we put ourselves in that situation where we needed to get to those desperate measures. All around – offense, defense, and special teams – I think we could have played better. We’re just going to watch the tape, go from there, and get ready for Tennessee.”
HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN(His thoughts overall on this football game)“We didn’t start very good. We went three-and-out on offense. We punted the ball and [wide receiver Craphonso] Thorpe took it back in our territory. We just couldn’t get off the field today. [Colts quarterback] Peyton Manning deserves a tremendous amount of credit. I understand we have to do more with our possessions but you’ve got to be able to get off the field. We didn’t play our best football today and I deserve the credit for that.”
(On what the Colts defense did early on to cause so many problems for the Bucs offense)“The first two drives we wanted to run the football and they knocked our drives out. We fell way behind and were down in distance and we were forced to punt. We had a negative-five on one run and a negative-one on another run. When you get down to third-down-and-ten and third-down-and-eleven against these guys, good luck. That’s basically what happened, although we did manufacture a great drive to make it a 13-7 game. We had the ball and an opportunity to do something before the half ended but we dropped the ball on two of our passes and Manning turned it until a field goal. And you know what happened in the third quarter – he totally took over.”
(On safety Tanard Jackson’s interception)“I thought Tanard made some great plays. He’s going to make a lot of plays in his career here for the Bucs. That was a certainly a turning point. It shifted the momentum and we capitalized and scored a touchdown – made it a six-point game. But when you have opportunities against a team like this, you’ve got to make good on all of them and I’ve got to do a better job than I did today, that’s for sure.”
(On what both teams needed to do coming out of the locker room after half time – what the Colts were able to do and the Bucs couldn’t)“I’ll tell you this – Peyton Manning is able to recognize every front, every coverage, every rotation, and get them at a premier situation. He made some phenomenal throws. He got out of trouble one time, ran dead to his left and got a big play to Reggie Wayne who’s another dynamite player. Manning was stellar today and he had a lot to do with our demise today. But we’ve got to get on the plane and we’ve got to go home and get ready for our next ball game.”
(On Alex Smith’s second touchdown that made the game 30-14)“We came out in a funky formation, used a quick count – they weren’t ready, just like they got us. So we were even at least on the ‘not ready plays.’ We did an onside kick on and we recovered it. We were off sides. They called somebody on the far side of the formation.”
(On the injury to RB Michael Pittman)“Not good. I’ve been a guy here that likes rocket backs – two half back playing together. We lose Cadillac, we lose Pittman, [so] we have to come up with another name for backfield sets. We’re in trouble right now at the half back position. [Running back] Earnest Graham will have to be the go-to guy. We’ll have to get [running back] Kenneth Darby going and see if Doug Williams and Bruce Allen can find us another back somewhere to help us out.”
(On the seriousness of the injury to Pittman)“Well Mike’s tough as hell. If it wasn’t serious he would have come out and played. He’s been a world champion player here – if he could have gone, he would have gone. I’m concerned about it, but I don’t want to say too much until I get all of the facts.”
(On what he said to his football team in the locker room after the game)“I didn’t have a lot to say. They’re a good football team. [Head] Coach Tony Dungy deserves a lot of credit. We didn’t play our best stuff today and they made us pay for it, but we are 3-2. We are in the second quarter now. We’ve got home games coming up and we’re excited about the effort. Donald Penn did some good things today. Our veteran quarterback [Jeff Garcia] was playing like a young guy, was outstanding – he had 18-out-of 23, three of them were dropped. I don’t know what else we can do. But we’re going to keep pounding the rock and play much better next week.”
DT CHRIS HOVAN(Overall thoughts on playing the Colts)“They had a great tempo. Their offense is probably the best in the NFL. They just had a quick tempo. [Quarterback] Peyton Manning really controls the offense in getting the ball off, so they were really on all cylinders today.”
(On safety Tanard Jackson’s momentum-shifting interception)“Our defense got it back on the field and it carried the momentum so our offense could get the ball and score again, so this game would have been all about momentum but it just didn’t go our way today.”
(On how difficult it was on the defense with the Colts running a no-huddle offense)“It’s difficult because when they change personnel, we want to match up with them. But since they run no-huddle or if you want to call it the ‘sugar-huddle,’ we weren’t able to so we just had to go out there and play our defense cold and just out there and make the best of it”
(On a three-game win streak snapped)“16 games, it’s not one game, it’s not eight games, it’s not ten games – it’s 16 games. We’re going to have to get ready for our next opponent which will be at home and watch the tape and see what we did wrong and correct it.”
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