Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.
49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
"Injuries from the game, [S Talanoa] Huf [Hufanga] had a knee we'll find out tomorrow on that. and [CB Shemar] Jean-Charles had a shoulder. Go ahead."
How concerned are you with Hufanga?
"Real concerned and we don't know for sure, most likely it's ACL but can't confirm it so we'll find out later."
QB Brock Purdy came out throwing pretty aggressively in this game. Was the game plan and the idea that you were going to kind of establish the throwing early in this game?
"It was the first few plays. We always do 24 openers. There were still 12 runs, 12 passes, but it went like five and five. Just trying to do that early and then get back to running the game once we settled down a little bit."
How was the impression of Brock's performance today?
"I thought he played real well. There was very few that he missed, protected the ball extremely well, when there wasn't anything there. We didn't have any intentional groundings and did a good job moving the chains also, especially at the end there on that keeper. But no, I thought he had a hell of a game."
What does it say about him, especially after a little bit of a rough stretch, just the way he's kind of bounced back in the last couple weeks?
"I think Brock's been great because he has been consistent through it all. I mean we never felt anything different with Brock during those three losses. I think he's pretty realistic, so he doesn't get into stuff that's not that accurate."
We all know what's coming with the short week in Seattle and then Philly. Were you at all concerned about players looking ahead to that and do you think that was completely put aside by them today?
"I wasn't concerned with the guys looking ahead. I didn't feel that at all. We had won one game here in the last month and that was a big one versus Jacksonville and I knew our guys were extremely focused on this. Once we were able to finish the game, we talked a lot about it in the locker room because just how quick it comes. Everything's so important as soon as this ends, what we got to do to get ready for this quick turnaround, which is always a challenge and tough. I'm really glad we're going to get three days off after for this stretch."
What did you think of S Ji'Ayir Brown's performance once he came in?
"I thought he did a hell of a job. I mean to lose a player like Huf in the game and for him to come in and step it up big, make two huge plays. I mean the pick was huge and then the fourth down, where you got an all-out blitz, and they just throw it up. Sometimes it's your biggest fear when they throw it up. It's like what happened to Buffalo, on that Monday night. When it's underthrown, it's so hard not to get a PI and for him to not PI the guy and to get back in from what I saw, it looked like he knocked it down. That was a hell of a play."
Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks said earlier this week that Ji'Ayir was showing improvement in practice. Have you noticed that as well?
"Oh yeah, big time. I noticed him all the time because he goes against the offensive scout team all the time. He's one of the guys who's consistently gets better each week on all the card looks and we always split the reps with the one's and the two's anyways when the defense goes. He's really taken off here in this last month and was ready for his opportunity. You never know when it's going to come and he's been preparing the right way."
How dominant was WR Brandon Aiyuk in this game and do you see that he's still improving?
"Oh yeah, definitely still improving. He had a really good game. Statistically wise it was his best one, I think of his career, from what they told me. But yeah, I was real happy with B.A.
With RB Christian McCaffrey's early touchdown, he was literally shuffling left in motion and then he has to run through the line. Is there an exact spot where he has to run through on that one?
"The spot where no one is."
Just find it?
Was that the first time you called that play?
"We've called that play a few times. We've never done it with a bump motion. That's a play that a lot of people run. I think we ran it to [Former RB] Tevin Coleman in the Super Bowl. It's just a man play that is good for man and everyone runs it, but we've never done it with that motion. It was cool it worked out."
Do you see any trends on how defenses are playing Brock? Have they tried to take away the underneath stuff and left the deep stuff available or have teams played him straight up?
"No, I mean teams usually do what they do. You don't just make up schemes every week. So every team has what they run and then you try to game plan stuff by having disguises calling things at different times, giving a look or a blitz that people aren't ready for. But teams do everything. Brock doesn't ever come in saying we're throwing deep or throwing short or any throwing to certain people. We run plays and he goes through progressions and attacks coverages. I want to know what to say on how to defend him. He just goes through the holes in the defense."
Two years ago there was so much made out of your relationship with B.A. How has he evolved as a player since then?
"B.A.'s been great. A lot was made out of it because everyone talked doghouse in training camp, which I was a little confused with just coaching. He was never in anyone's doghouse. We were just coaching him. B.A., going back to those years, he was, I thought one of our best players halfway through that year, one of the main reasons we went to the NFC Championship. He got better last year and he has been better this offseason. Always when you're getting better doesn't always show for a receiver because stats and all those results are dependent of a lot of other people, but B.A.'s been playing some good football for a while. It's really cool when he gets rewarded with those numbers."
You guys have played really well over the years in November and December. Can you put your finger on why that has happened and do you think this team is prepared for that kind of run again?
"I think we got a lot of players who really enjoy football. I think we work at it in terms of we like to coach, we like to point things out. I think our guys, if you stay healthy, I think you practice more, you play more and when that happens you get better as the year goes. I always expect us to look better as it goes than we do at the beginning. I think one of the bigger challenges for everyone in the NFL is that there are no OTAs, whatever they call them and how little training camp is. So especially running the ball and tackling and everything, you kind of evolve as the year goes and our guys work really hard and try to find a way to stay healthy while you do it."
Are you at your best right now, do you think?
"No, I don't think so."
How do you feel about your team's performance in the fourth quarter?
"I thought our defense was awesome. I mean they kept giving us back. I wish we would've finished it once. You get the turnover on the first one, I want go down in there and score. I think we went three and out and the next time we should have run the clock out. We had two first downs, we got out of bounds twice so wasn't happy with that, but so pumped with the defense."
In the last few weeks the red zone offense hasn't been finishing drives as well. Can you put your finger on anything? What's your kind of concern level with that right now?
"No concern. I thought last week, if I can remember correctly, I don't think we really got inside the ten. I thought we score scored from all further out until the end when we were just trying to hook Christian up. This week when I think about it, I know we got sacked. I believe one time down there in second down and you get sacked on second and 10 or whatever it was and at least the third and long and most likely that drive is over. But hopefully it goes full circle. We haven't done it the last couple weeks. We've done it better earlier in the year, but nothing that's different, just goes like that sometimes."
Did Christian say anything to you when he didn't run out of bounds?
Is that a decision you wouldn't expect him to make?
"I didn't see it over there. I mean it was the same thing that happened to [TE George] Kittle. I mean those guys are very aware that they shouldn't go out of bounds in those situations, but when you get plays on the edge, like Kittle tried to stop and go back in, that was right on our sidelines, but then people hit you and you go out. So, it looks similar to me with Christian, but that was on the far sideline. So, I'm not sure."
When Brock was turning the ball over a couple games ago, did you have fear that he might start to play a little bit more timid because he expressed that he knows he just can't play with any fear?
"You never know until people go through that, but I mean the film was so good. The guy was playing unbelievable in those three losses, so there was nothing to really worry about. You just got to make sure he doesn't make up stuff that other people are making up. So you just try to get him to stick with practice, stick with the film and doing what you're doing. He had a couple back pick in those games but there was none that he felt he had to change with what he was doing because he was playing such a high level in those losses too."
With the deep ball to Aiyuk, did you know that was going to be a touchdown when Brock let it go?
"No, I didn't. I didn't know the guy would fall and I had no idea where the middle third safety was. But I knew his man coverage and he was going to go to whichever one of his go routes he had. He had [WR] Deebo [Samuel] on one side and B.A. on the other. I'm assuming the safety cheated a little bit to the right since he threw to the left and it was right there. It was great when you saw the corner on the ground and B.A. finished it. It was a hell of a play by those guys."
He's got 66 and 77 the last couple weeks and I think in the Playoff game last year was 74, in terms of his longest passes, that was kind of the thing on him, can he make those throws. Is there anything you've seen yet that he can't do?
"Brock's a really good quarterback. I don't know if he can run a 4.3 when doing a lot of Wildcat stuff. Everything we've asked him to do, I think he's done at a real high level."
With those intentional groundings, have you had discussion about some of those falling to the ground flip?
"Yeah, I mean when you get three, three weeks in a row, I mean I love his competitiveness and he does everything to try not to get it, and you're in positions that you're going to get it, it really doesn't matter. So we kind of challenged him on that and they turned into sacks which that happens, but we always want to try to get rid of it. But he had some really bad looks on those. I think we had one where we were hot and that's when he tries hard to get rid of it and sometimes bad things can happen and sometimes you just got to know you had a bad play and that's where I thought he improved on it."
49ers QB Brock Purdy
I think you're the first 49ers quarterback in franchise history to have a perfect passer rating. What does that mean to you today to have a game like that?
"Yeah, I mean, what an honor. At the same time, I feel like there's still some plays and stuff that I wish I had back, so I'm not completely content with just that. But thought it was a great game with the guys around me, the coaching and the play calling. All of it. So that's a testament to the team really."
You've got kind of a split personality on the field, off the field. You were doing the bowling balls celebration today and yet you come up on the podium and you're very understated. Are there two sides of your personality?
"I mean, I don't know if I have two sides, but yeah, when I get on the field and we're making plays and stuff, I try to do whatever it takes, get the guys around me going, celebrating with them on some big plays and stuff. So, I guess more of the personality comes out in those moments. But outside of that, I like to think I'm just a laidback normal guy."
Take us through the long pass to WR Brandon Aiyuk?
"Yeah, just man coverage. He had a go-route and really just gave him some time to beat his guy and then just put the ball up for him and tried to lead him. And he did a great job winning in man-to-man coverage. And right when we saw his guy fall down and B.A. caught it, I was like, man, that's sweet. You don't get that many plays like that in a game. So, it felt good for all of us and B.A. he deserves it, man. We've been wanting to get a deep one for him for a while, so felt good."
Did you see the whole thing, the full reception?
"Yeah. Yeah, I saw all of it. Yeah, it was pretty sweet. And then celebrated with OL Colton McKivitz."
S Ji'Ayir Brown made several good plays to end the game, but he said that this week he actually was on scout team and he had a pretty big assignment emulating Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield Jr. How good of a job did he do preparing you for this Tampa Bay defense playing that role?
"Yeah, Ji'Ayir, I mean, all the weeks so far he has given us a great look with playing safety, and then obviously with Winfield being one of their best defenders on defense, Ji'Ayir did a great job with just all the looks. They did a bunch of stuff with Winfield and Ji'Ayir, even at practice was a ballhawk. He has great instincts and was just all over, just like Winfield. He gave us a great look. And then for him to go in the game and be ready to play for our defense and what we ask of our safeties, he did a great job. So, we're all pumped for him and really happy for him and going to see more of him. So, we're excited."
I don't know how much you crossed paths with Ji'Ayir, but a couple of guys referred to him as a little bit of a leader. Basically only playing special teams as a rookie, does he have a certain presence to him?
"Oh, a hundred percent. I remember the first day, in summer we're working out and stuff and he came up to me and was talking to me and just from talking to him, I could tell how mature he was. Sometimes with rookies and stuff, they're excited to be there and can be a little bit all over the place and whatnot, but he was very mature. I could tell this guy handles his business and he's going to have a great career. So, to see him doing his thing now was great. Obviously, there's still the whole season to go and stuff and a lot to prove and whatnot, but the way he carries himself and his presence is definitely a thing. So, very proud of him."
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was saying you did not have an intentional grounding. Clearly he had made a point to you about that. Is that a conscious thought you have to have now and do you think you're past that?
"Yeah, I mean, it's situational football, you know, where are we at? Is it a two-minute drive? Are we trying to get back in the game or whatever. That's when it's shown up. And so, for myself, it's being smart if I do bounce out of the pocket, in the back of my mind, is there someone there to throw it to in the vicinity and can I get it out of bounds kind of thing. So, something that we watch on film and I had to learn from it the hard way. It's definitely on my mind, being smart with the ball and not getting a minus 15 penalty by doing the same thing that's shown up really the last three games or so."
You mentioned the other day that you're kind of constantly trying to prove something to yourself. After that little stretch there, the three-game losing streak, was there a part of you that wanted to prove to yourself, 'Hey, I can bounce back from this, show my resilience and come out,' because it seems like you been really locked in on this in a couple games?
"Yeah, most definitely. I was more upset with, not even that we were complacent or anything, but almost like, we're just going to walk into the game and it's going to be given to us in a sense. I had to get back to, man, we've got to go take it. We've got to go earn it every single game. It doesn't matter who we're playing, it's the NFL. Anything can happen on any Sunday. And so that's the chip that I was talking about. And so getting back to that and then proving myself every drive, every play that I can be the guy for this team and I have to earn it every single week at practice, in meetings, whatever it may be. So, that's the mindset of what I was talking about and yeah, definitely more in tune to being detailed and stuff the last couple weeks and finding that chip again."
You talk about Ji'Ayir's maturity as a rookie. Is that what you were like as a rookie, here to do business and less all over the place?
"Yeah, instead of being a rah-rah kind of guy but coming and being available for whatever the team is asking of you as a rookie, especially coming in and finding a role to help the team win. Whether that's at practice or on the scout team giving a look, special teams running down on kickoff, or whatever it may be. I could tell Ji'Ayir had the mentality of I'm going to do whatever it takes to help this team win and whatever the coach is asking of me I'm going to give my 100-percent to the best of my ability. He's done that so now we're seeing it."
How do you feel about passer rating, the stat? In your world, do you guys even talk about those numbers?
"I still don't really know what it means, honestly."
Coming up on Thursday, playing the Seattle Seahawks would be a battle for the lead in the NFC West. What are your thoughts on playing on Thanksgiving and what does that mean to you?
"Yeah, we're at the point of the season where obviously every single game is crucial. It's huge. And going into a hostile environment in Seattle with the great team that they have, it's going to be a great challenge for us and we're excited about it. Obviously, the history goes back with these two organizations and being able to play on Thanksgiving against them with the division where it's at, doesn't get any better than that. I'm excited for it."
This is the second year in a row you're heading up there on a short week after facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. How much do you draw on that experience from last year to prepare for this week's matchup?
"Yeah that was my first time preparing, obviously for my first start against the Bucs and then you have a couple of days to get ready for a game on Thursday night, man what a challenge that was. Leaning back into that week and remembering how I studied and how I went about my routine it's a little different. It was good that I experienced that and then obviously earlier this year when we played the [New York] Giants and going through that kind of routine. I'm excited for it. It's on Thanksgiving so it's going to be good."
49ers DL Arik Armstead
What's the key to making sure that you guys took care of business before this big three-game stretch coming out?
"The key was that every game's important, and the most important game of the season is the one that you're playing. Giving it your all each week and then regrouping, getting fresh, and trying to go and do it again."
Was the three-game losing streak a harsh reminder of what this league is about?
"Not a harsh reminder. It started off good and it's tough to win in the NFL, so we got reminded of that. But we can't achieve our goals or win the Super Bowl in October. We want be playing our best football in November, December, and in January."
What can you say about what S Ji'Ayir Brown did for you guys?
"Yeah, that was great. Him stepping in when Huf [S Talanoa Hufanga] went down and getting that huge pick to seal the game, I know that felt good for him. It was a timely play to end the game and get us off the field."
49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk
It feels like the chemistry between you guys is only growing. Is that a fair assessment?
"Yeah. Everybody was coming out here, working every week, trying to get better and put good things on tape on Sunday."
Does it feel like things are a little back to normal after some early struggles a few weeks ago?
"You could say that. Two wins in a row now so we're happy about that."
I know injuries are going to affect the depth of your roster and who's out there making plays but you guys seem to have a really healthy roster now right?
"That's football. We lost one, I'm not sure what happened to Huff [S Talanoa Hufanga] but we were playing for him. But my locker mate [S] Ji'Ayir Brown came in and stepped up, that's the game. We're hoping we get good news back for Huff but also excited for Ji'Ayir Brown."
How much are you looking forward to this short week with going up to Seattle?
"I'm excited, I think we got out clean for the most part, so excited to just get right back out there again on Thursday."
49ers S Ji'Ayir Brown
So, there's obviously three big plays to talk about. The one I'll ask about is the fourth down. You had just seen an injury to CB Charvarious Ward, so you had to cover WR Mike Evans because he blitzed CB Isaiah Oliver. That's a lot of responsibility on that play. What was going through your mind and what was your assignment on that play?
"We sent a blitz. I had to pick up Mike. I knew it was a fourth down and a big play. Mike ran a flat and then turned it up into a wheel. I was just executing my job, staying inside out on him, playing with my eyes, and seeing that [QB] Baker [Mayfield] threw it up. I had to locate the ball, see how high it was, and just wanted to play through the hands of Mike. He's one of the best receivers in the league when it comes to the jump ball. I had to see how high it was and just play through the hands of Mike and execute my job."
To get your first interception, to contribute on this team, the first time you're truly asked to because of an injury. What's that feel like, as a rookie, to be able to do that?
"Someone just said over there and it's the same way I feel, the biggest thing you can ask for is for a young guy to be ready. Every week, I've been preparing for that day. I never knew when that day was going to come, but I was just preparing consistently every day. We were working hard, meeting for extra time with the coach. And, when my number was called today, I was fortunate enough to go out there and execute the job."
How much did both S Tashaun Gipson Jr. and S Talanoa Hufanga help you get ready for this moment?
"Every step of the way. I've been here since day one with those guys, just watching them, watching how they prepare, watching how they watch film. The DB Coach [Daniel Bullocks], he's a hell of a guy. All of them, the whole secondary, they've just been great role models, great leaders for me, helping me through this transition to the NFL. I'm glad I could go out there and help them today."
How much fun are you guys having out there? I know it's a crazy game, but you guys are causing chaos out there. Are you able to enjoy the moment?
"Always. Especially me, I'm always enjoying it. Out there with [DL] Nick Bosa, [LB] Fred Warner, [DL] Chase Young, all these great guys. How can you not enjoy it? You're living the dream. I'm literally walking in my dream. So I'm enjoying every moment, every little detail. It's just been amazing for me."
49ers TE George Kittle
Can you talk about the great day QB Brock Purdy had. He had a perfect passer rating.
"System quarterback, right? It's crazy. Just another guy who's just taking advantage of his opportunity. Brock's fantastic in the way he shows up every single day. Someone asked him about his mindset, like how he can be so aggressive and protect the football. He talked about being a surgeon. He talked about having zero fear and just that quote from him shows his maturity level, how he understands the game and what it means to play quarterback at a high level while being aggressive at taking care of the football. That really made me happy to hear that. He doesn't surprise me. He does that every single week and every single day."
You're entering a stretch of games here. I know you're focused on just the next game, but the next three are all big ones. How important are these next few weeks?
"Very excited about Thursday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks. All that means is Seattle's going to be a little angry and it's going to be a great game up there. It's one of my favorite atmospheres and places to play. They absolutely hate us and what a great fan base to absolutely hate us. It's really fun. It's going to be an exciting game and we have to go up there and get a win."
You're the Salute to Service nominee for your team. How important is it to you that you give back to the community and the military?
"The military means a lot to me. I have family members who've served. I've seen the toll it takes on families when they're overseas and they're gone from their families. I've seen that in real life. I've got a chance to work with wonderful organizations. Every time I get a chance to work with a military family or an organization, all I can be is just thankful because these are people who sacrifice everything for the person who's serving to their entire family. A lot of them give the ultimate sacrifice for this country and because of them, we're allowed to do all of this. I get to play a football game, you guys get to report on a football game and we don't have to worry about that stuff."
Through the ups and downs we've seen this season for you guys, where do you think this team is? Are you back where you have to be?
"We're taking steps in the right direction. We're definitely not there yet. We did a great job at the end of the second half, but the first half into the second half, we weren't great. Our defense had to make some plays, so we're taking steps in the right direction but there's parts of our game that we need to execute a lot better. If you turn the ball over, have penalties on first and second down, it's hard to be a good football team. It's hard to stay on the field and our defense is playing at a very high level. That's allowing us to cover up those mistakes. But that's definitely something we need to continue to work at and get better at."
49ers SS RB Christian McCaffrey
Christian, you started a new touchdown streak. How'd it feel to get back in the end zone?
"It felt good. Anytime you score it feels good."
What was the key on that play to get you wide open? It seemed like everything kind of opened up, right?
"Yeah, it was a great call, honestly. It was a perfect play call for the defense that they were in, [San Francisco QB Brock Purdy] did a good job, protection held up and I got it in."
This is your second November with this team and you've had a lot of success late in the season historically. Do you feel this team revving up for the late season? Can you sense it?
"I think we're focused week to week and that's what we have to keep doing. Just keep treating each game the same and play one-week seasons from here on out."
The criticism for San Francisco QB Brock Purdy right now is that his teammates are doing all the work. Sometimes they'll say, "Oh, it's just because Christian McCaffrey is on the team." What's your opinion of that?
"Yeah, that's a horrendous statement. That's never been the case. You could make that argument with any quarterback. I can show you the tape. If we really sit down and watch all the amazing throws, amazing plays, off schedule plays, and the checks that he's getting to. It starts with him."
49ers LB Fred Warner
When 49ers S Talanoa Hufanga went down and S Ji'Ayir Brown came in as the captain of the defense, do you have any communication with Ji'Ayir? Is there a message that you give him for his first play?
"No. There wasn't much said, and honestly it's always a next man up mentality. My heart goes out to Huff [S Talanoa Hufanga]. I am not exactly sure what what's going on there, but obviously they are fearing the worst for him right now. Obviously my heart and prayers go out to Huff. That is sickening news. To talk about the way [49ers S] Ji'Ayir [Brown] played today and being ready for his moment, can't say enough about it, that's huge. Even though we were up in the game, to be down there in the red zone and make the plays that he made to help us get out there speaks to the way that he's worked, and been ready for his opportunity. So there wasn't much that needed to be said. I knew he'd be ready."
Specifically, there was the fourth down play where they sent 49ers NB Isaiah Oliver on the Blitz, which left Ji'Ayir against [Buccaneers WR] Mike Evans. Is that something you'd normally see out of a rookie or is that something he's earned behind the scenes, that kind of assignment?
"Yes, I didn't even know. I turned around, I see him on [Buccaneers WR] Mike [Evans], and making the PBU [pass break up] in a big time moment. I'm sure we usually wouldn't put a young rookie in a position like that, but the dude is just ready. He has the right mindset and prepares the right way. So he was ready and I'm happy for him."
Did you see Ji'Ayir Brown coming on in practice over the last month or so?
"Yes. He's been working his tail off. He's been obviously on the scout team against the offense and making plays. I see him, flashing, doing his thing, taking it serious, I have side conversations with him letting him know he needs to make sure that he's using these reps to his advantage to, to get better as a player. You're never going through some sort of like red shirt year. You never know when your opportunity is going to come. He was obviously fully ready when his time came."
49ers DL Chase Young
What was it like playing in front of the home crowd for the first time?
"It felt good. Great energy. It just feels good out here. The air. Just everything."
What have you enjoyed so far about being with the San Francisco 49ers? I think you guys played a pretty complete game today.
"Yes, really just the brotherhood, the comradery. I think that is one thing that I enjoy. We are out there rushing as a unit."
What's it been like going to a team that's in first place, winning games?
"It feels great. I have been blessed with the opportunity and I am trying to take full advantage."
How much does the fact that you're having more fun playing football affect what you're doing on the field?
"I think that's just the culture. The culture help that. There's guys around me who are dogs just like me and they get me going. I feel like we all get each other going and we just go out there and play as hard as we can."
Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles
You guys did a great job of sticking around in this game. Did it just feel like you were a play away from getting back into it at the end and making one play that you just couldn't make?
"We fought and had our chances in the red zone. We got down there two or three times, but we couldn't punch it in. We fought like heck to get back in the game. We gave up some plays in the third quarter, got back into it in the fourth and had two or three times towards the end or late in the fourth quarter where we thought we had to get down there. We had some chances, but just couldn't punch it in."
Can you update us on any of the injuries? It looked like both corners went down. Can you say anything about T Tristan Wirfs?
"Nothing at this point. They're getting evaluated right now, so we'll find out more later on."
Early in the game, OLB Yaya Diaby got a sack and when San Francisco had the ball under two minutes, he knew they were going to try to score. Yaya was on the field until the fourth quarter and he got another sack. Do you have confidence in him? Did you think you were better off?
"We rotate all of our guys, so we're confident in whoever is in there in the second half. In the first half, we slotted a number of plays for guys to get and he didn't have to be in the game. We were confident in the other guys. We just have to make plays."
What were the problems? Obviously they have a lot of weapons. 49ers QB Brock Purdy had a perfect rating today. First since 1989. You couldn't stop 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk. What in particular was the problem with that combination?
"We gave up the deep ball. They scored, they went 98 yards and three plays. They got a bootleg that we blew and man coverage obviously. They didn't get hands on him at the line. They beat him. It's a credit to him. He's a great receiver, we know that, but we feel like we play man coverage very well and sometimes they beat us."
How tough is that offense you were facing today?
"We knew they were tough coming in, but we have to make plays and concentrate on the things we do. If we can cut that part out of it, we feel pretty good about our defense."
Can you speak a little bit to the fight your offense showed late in the game?
"We fought as a team again. We don't have any moral victories. We lost and we're pissed about it, but we're going to fight and scrap and cut out some mistakes and be a better team because of it. We just didn't do it today, but we're always going to fight so that should be standard for us."
Earlier in the game, WR Mike Evans had just one target. WR Chris Godwin had none in the first half. What were they doing? Did you have to find a way to get them involved earlier in the game?
"We couldn't stay on the field, number one, and then they stayed on the field a little bit longer in the second quarter than they normally did. We had to give them opportunities but at the same time, we weren't gelling and getting everything together to get them opportunities. We did a better job in the second half of that."
Some said this would be a measuring stick, facing an elite NFC team. You've played Philadelphia and Detroit. Where do you think your team stacks up with some of the better teams in this league right now?
"We lost all of them. We know we can fight again. It's the details and the assignments we have to cut out and it's the mistakes and the small things we have to do to play good football to beat these ball clubs. Obviously, playing mistake-free football is part it. We feel like we're in every game and we have a chance to win every game when we come out on the field. So that's not an issue. Like I told them today in the locker room, it's not a moral victory that we fought. Our victories come when we cut out the mistakes and we can win ball games. We understand that going forward."
You mentioned YaYa earlier and he did have two sacks. Was he showing as a pass rusher? Did he start the game today instead of OLB Joe Tyron-Shoyinka?
"I think Joe started the ball game, but YaYa comes in early. We play him a lot. We play all of those guys a lot and they rotate depending on what we see. Obviously, he's a very good football player and he's coming on like gangbusters and it's hard to keep him off the field and he's getting more and more time. I think last week he had more time or just as much time as everybody. I don't know the numbers this week, but we really like where the players are at."
WRs Devin Thompkins, Trey Palmer and Rakim Jarrett all seemed to make plays today. Was that good to see?
"It was good to see the young guys. We played a lot of young guys today. I think all of the rookies who dressed probably played a significant amount of time. I'll check the film, but they were making plays, they were competing. They can hold on to a few more balls, but we like where they are."
Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield
Did you feel some rhythm against a really good defense today?
"Yeah. To be honest with you, in the first half we only had [the ball] three times, but definitely [felt it] on the drive when we went down and scored. Then on the drive that I fumbled, that's a costly mistake by me. We just have to get out of our own way. We had some good opportunities today that we didn't exactly take advantage of. When you're playing a team like that, you have to."
What do you say about those wide receivers stepping up and then how you were able to get WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin involved?
"We had a lot of young guys who were stepping up in a big way today. It just happens when you have two studs like we do, that they're going to try and take them away. It's vital for those guys to be ready for their opportunities, for them to know their assignments and to know the adjustments on coverages of what we're going to get. That happened early in the game. Then when it comes down to getting them a few more targets later in the game, that is when you're in tempo. They're not exactly able to get into some of those specified coverages to take those guys away. That's when you want to take advantage of it, get the ball in their hands and let them do what they do best."
What do you take from this game in terms of where your team is at right now?
"It's a loss first and foremost. The thing I'd look at is, and what I've consistently said in some of these games, is that later in the game we've continued to fight and that's never changed. We have a team that is still willing to fight and, from this point forward, it's about playing our best game and putting it all together. Especially when you're playing competition like that, if you don't do it, if you give them more opportunities, they're going to take advantage of that. That's just the way this league works. For us right now, it's obviously a long flight home, but then we're on the road again next week. We need to find a way to win and have a one game at a time mentality from here on out. Heads down, block out everything else and just see where we can take this thing. With a group that fights this hard, it's too hard not to think that we can't control our destiny. We have to be able to do that. I still believe in this group. This is a tough one. We obviously didn't play our best. We still had some opportunities there, but we've got to get back home, get some things fixed and roll from there."
How difficult is it to come from behind?
"I think our [offensive] line played great. I think obviously they have an unbelievable roster up front with guys they can start and obviously rotate in as well. It allows those linebackers to be able to pressure and have one-on-ones as well and run free in the run game. I think our o-line did great for the most part. I know there's some things that they're going to be critical about, but that's a really impressive defense that they just went up against, and for the most part played mistake free."
Buccaneers LB Yaya Diaby
Is that the only way you can really stop an offense like that though? Just put a lot of pressure on Purdy and get him off his rhythm?
"Yeah exactly. That was our game plan. Just get him off his rhythm and hit him early. We were able to do that, but he was able to do a couple of things, so we just have to do better."
Defense had to get a couple stops at the end there so that the offense would have a chance to come back. Were you pleased with the fight you guys showed at the end, especially with some guys out?
"I was excited to see that, but I just wish we'd done that at the start of the third quarter rather than letting the game get to where it did."
It was 10-7 at the end of the half. You had a couple minutes and they go down and score. Is that disappointing to give up something with under two minutes to go in the first half?
"That one hit, I wanted to hit hard, but all we can do is learn from it. Go in, watch film, and just learn from it and get ready for Indianapolis [Colts]."
Buccaneers TE Cade Otton
You had a nice chunk of yards over the middle. Is part of the reason because they are worried about Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin and WR Mike Evans?
"Yes. I definitely think so. Players of Mike and Chris's caliber are going to demand more coverage and other guys like me are going to have to be able to take advantage when we have single coverage or an open zone and things like that."
You guys had chances in the red zone. Do you feel like if you finished a couple of those drives that you'd have a chance?
"Yes, absolutely. Personally I think about the one that I dropped in the end zone. Those type of plays are what is keeping us back as a team. For me, I take that personally on myself. I have to make those plays and everyone on the team feels the same way. We have to make them. We will get better."
Do you feel offensively that the team is coming down with a rhythm?
"Yes. I feel like as an offense we moved the ball a lot today. We are going to look at the tape build on what we saw, but ultimately 14 points isn't enough to win in the NFL. There are some good things to look at and there will be a lot to learn from."
Buccaneers RB Rachaad White
You're a weapon in the receiving game are you growing in confidence as the season confidence as the season goes on since you had a lot of targets today?
"It just depends. The check down there and the way the defense is playing, that's what it all depends on. We do a lot more like coach has me out in the open. We missed a couple, I didn't catch the ball Baker [QB Baker Mayfield] threw to me. But other than that, I'm just trying to make plays and do what I can do"
Is part of the reason why you're starting to blow up in the receiving game because teams are worried about WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Evans?
"Yeah, you can see a lot, teams just bail out. They just drop out. I think certain times today though, the corners fell off. They did a good job of understanding that I was in the flat. It just all depends. But yes, they played them very tough. Who wouldn't?"
Did it feel like in that fourth quarter that you guys were just one play away from getting back in it and just couldn't make that one play?
"Yeah, we just felt like we let some little details and little things slip that coach has been on us about. If we just do our little thing well and do the little details, we'll be straight. We were right there. We had two possessions in the red zone back to back so it is what it is. It was a 14, 27 game. If they scored the first time, it's 21, 27, and then we score the next time and it's a tie game."
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