Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles (11.27.22)


On the defense giving up scores late in games, including today:

“The guy (Browns TE David Njoku) made a heck of a play. The coverage was fine. We knew what we were running. He jumped up and made a one-handed catch. It was a reach. (LB) Devin (White) couldn’t get there. He made a heck of a play.”


On the injury to T Tristan Wirfs:

“[I don’t know anything] yet. I just know it’s a leg injury and they carted him off. I haven’t had a chance to go inside.”


On the penalties being a factor in overtime:

“All penalties are big. We had some during the game. I think we might have had about eight or nine of them, close to it. That’s a concern. We shot ourselves in the foot with offensive penalties. We gave them field position with defensive penalties. We shot ourselves in the foot on the punt return. We got backed up with the kickoff return right there. We got backed up and we had to drive farther. We couldn’t get the first down.”


On going from three straight wins to a loss and losing a key player in Wirfs:

“This was tough. We had so much in all three phases that lost this ball game. Whether it was the return game and their returns on us, whether it was punt or kickoff. Defensively, key stops in certain times. Penalties to move the ball. Letting them run out at certain times. The tackling wasn’t great. Offensively, not being able to get third downs was crucial for us. They were getting to the quarterback too much in the second half.”


On whether any of those factors mentioned were surprising because they were thought to be corrected earlier in the season:

“Nothing is corrected. You have to play every week. We don’t try to correct things and have it done for the year. You have to play every week. They played hard. We didn’t play smart. We didn’t play good football. We didn’t play sound football. We let things go.”


On whether he thought about calling a time out at the end of regulation to get more time to answer with a field goal:

“No. That clock was going to run down. We didn’t have enough to stop it right there. There was overtime right there, right off the top. Once we couldn’t get there, it was going to overtime.”


On what he says to the team after losing a player like Wirfs:

“It’s tough. We know it’s tough. When you lose a player like that, you say it’s part of the game, but a lot of these guys are so close that it hurts a lot. The next man has to step up and hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked, he gets a speedy recovery and we go from there. That’s all you can do in this game. It’s a tragedy to lose guys like that on a team, but at the same time, we have to push on.”


On what Wirfs brings to the team from an attitude and teamwork standpoint:

“He brings leadership. He brings toughness. Obviously he’s one of the best in the game, so when you lose a guy of that caliber, it’s going to be tough to replace, but (T Josh) Wells and all those guys are going to have to step in and we’re going to have to keep going.”


On not having RB Leonard Fournette and how RB Rachaad White stepped up:

“I have to look at the tape. Overall, I know he played tough. I know he had some good pickups on blocking right there. The holes kind of closed up on him later in the ball game. We have to find a way to stay consistent on first down.”


On NT Vita Vea and whether his injury affected him today:

“I don’t know if it did. I have to look at it and see if there is more on film, but I don’t think it impacted him.”


On scoring only 17 points and why the offense isn’t producing more:

“We are not finishing third downs. Third downs have been crucial for us and stopping us from driving the ball. I think we were four of 16 or something like that. We might have been five of 17, which was about 24 percent. If you can’t score or get the ball moving on third downs, it’s going to be tough to stay on the field.”


On whether S Antoine Winfield Jr. was cleared from protocol:

“Yes. He was cleared. He was fine. As far as I know, he was fine.”


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