What They Said: Postgame Quotes from Panthers-Buccaneers

HEAD COACH MATT RHULE

RE: Opening Statement

Obviously, unbelievably disappointed in the way we played in the second half. Completely unacceptable from every member of that locker room – player, coach. Completely unacceptable. A lot of credit goes to them. Obviously, Tom Brady is the best, and in the second half couldn't make any plays to get them off the field really other than a couple in the red zone. Their run game hurt us with that a 99-yard run. We tried to be aggressive to stay in the game but just didn't work out. Credit to them. I don't know anything about Teddy [Bridgewater] yet. They are working on him, so I don't have much on that. But obviously disappointed and completely unacceptable.

RE: What he saw on the 98-yard run by Ronald Jones

Yeah, I saw the blitz on the replay. We slanted off the right, so we blitzed off the right side. One of our defensive players was supposed to slant with it and didn't run the slant. Ball hit in that gap. Couldn't get the ball down. Couldn't run him down. We are in a stage right now where we have to do our job and everyone has to be right to be successful and if someone doesn't do their assignment, then you need someone to make a play on it for you and we weren't able to get him down. Obviously, that's was tremendously disappointing and very similar to the first game – same run play, their duo run that they popped at the end of the game for a 68-yard touchdown. That was obviously a 99-yard touchdown.

RE: Level of concern on Teddy Bridgewater

I don't know because he got up and walked off so. But when it comes to knees and stuff like that, I never know. I don't have a feel one way or the other because unfortunately when the game is over, I come in, he's not in there.

So, I haven't had a chance to see him yet or anything. I have no idea.

RE: Overturned deep catch by DJ Moore at the end of the first half

We didn't know. I thought it was a clean catch, so I had no part of me knew that, right. When you are on the field, things go really fast. You can't see that that was potentially that. Then they called the penalty on them for knocking the ball away so that moved the ball up 5-yards so we were trying to take another shot at the endzone. That's why that happened. They called timeout then obviously they overturned it. Had I known it was not a clean catch then obviously, we would have tried to get up and spike it. It looked, from the field level, it looked like a clean catch. Nothing that I could see there.

RE: Third down defense and third quarter offense

We have to get better at them. No one feels sorry for us and as much as I hate losing by that many points, it's the same as losing by one. You come back next week and we have to continue to improve them. We made some key stops late in the game. We blitzed them. We hit them. We have to be better. We just have to be better. When I say that, it always starts with me and works down. We have to be better third down defense and third quarter offense. But I mean at the end of the day we had a 187 yards of offense. Credit to Coach (Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator), they won the day defensively.

RE: What wasn't working for the third quarter offense?

I hate to say it like this but not much of anything. They pressured us. Really at the end of the day, we were 1 of 9 on third down today. In the first half, we were able to get away with it with some big plays. But, I think at the half we were 1 of 5 on third down. We were 0-4, I guess looking at the numbers here, in the second half. So, we've played them twice now and they sacked and pressured and hit us. That's been the issue. That's really been the issue for us this year offensively. When we have time, there are some guys open, but you have to have time. We just didn't have enough time upfront. When I say not have enough time, not all the time but on some of those key third downs. Just didn't make enough plays to extend drives and hopefully put some points on the board.

RE: The one thing he wanted team to know after today's game

I'll say moving forward all of us have to understand that what just happened cannot happen. We can't play like that for a half. We can't play like that at home. I thought there was a great crowd today. I really appreciate the people that came and the people stayed to the end. It's a credit to Panthers fans. We can't play like that in front of them. We can't coach like that in front of them. Again, it was a slow methodical bleed on our defense and their offense. We've got to find a way to make more plays and really, most importantly, do things right. When you are on man-to-man defense, sometimes you just have to lock the guy up and get home on the pressure, all those different types of things. It wasn't just any one area or any one position. But that was unacceptable today.

RE: If there is anything he can do to coach differently in the third quarter to get offense working

I better. We better. We better find a way to do something better in the third quarter. It's been consistent and one of the few things we haven't improved. Whoever asked the question before – third down defense and really, today, third down offense and third quarter, those are the two things. To be 17-17 with that team, I was proud of our effort in the first half. We need to figure something out in the third quarter.

RE: The play of Tom Brady

Elite. Fantastic

S Tre Boston

RE: What was frustrating about Tampa Bay's 98-yard touchdown

We knew what was coming. We didn't do our job upfront and we allowed him to just bust through. I've got to help make that tackle and get him down and line us up one more time, at least. But busting out for 98, that's us just hurting ourselves. If we know it's going to happen and we still don't do our job, that's on us.

RE: How that 98-yard touchdown affected the defense

It does damage. If you want to be truthful or not. Around the league, we've seen Derrick Henry do it numerous times and we see how those games go. We try to do a good job of not allowing it to affect us but as bad things happen over and over and over again, it just was not our day.

RE: Third quarter issues

It just was not our day. We're used to being in fights, being in the game throughout the game and in the third quarter we didn't do a good job. We had the opportunities there but we didn't execute. For us, we've got to do better, that's offense, defense, special teams – all of us, individuals. We've just got to do better as a team.

RE: Whether he feels those issues are unacceptable

I'm right with [Coach Rhule]. I'll say even on myself, on my performance today, it was unacceptable. For us to go out there – we're a team who is in the game regardless, no matter who we play – and for us to go out there and get beat like that by these guys, we know we're better than that. We know what we're capable of and we've got to go out there and we've got to play good ball, and we've got to do it each and every week. Some guys don't want that challenge, but we want that challenge. We want the challenge of going out there each and every week and having to play your best ball. That's what we've got to do.

RE: Whether he saw that Rasul Douglas' energy level was different today

I did not. One thing about Rasul is he's going to be hard on himself. That's something that we take pride in in our secondary – we don't mind being the 'it's my fault' guy. We hold ourselves to such a high standard that for us to come out there and not play our best, it doesn't sit right with us and it allows us as men to say that it's on us. For me, I don't like anytime one of my guys says that. For me, I feel like it all falls on my shoulders. I've got to be better for us. I didn't see that in Rasul. He said his energy went down when he stopped making plays or when plays were made and I didn't see it. I saw a guy that was focusing in, trying to get to focus on his one-eleventh. As a unit, we've got to do better. We've got to pick each other up. It's not just one guy. That's what I would say on that.

RE: What Shaq Thompson said after the game

He just wanted to let us know that everyone has to buy in. Right now, we're at a part of the season where – this organization has been through seasons where we've lost six, seven, eight games in a row. Where do we want to go with this? Where do we want to go as a team? As a team that's coached up by Matt Rhule, we refuse to accept it. We refuse to accept it and that was some of what Shaq was saying. We've got to buy into everything. It's the little details. We've got to go in each and every day knowing that we've got to do our job. If we get the details settled in and we play good ball, we can be a great team. It's obviously tougher than just being said but we have the capability.

RE: Addressing the mental mistakes

You've got to settle down. With a lot of guys, it's going to take experience, it's going to take reps, it's going to take getting beat a few times for them to see it. Then it's the next play where they make the interception, it's the next play where they make the big play because they've been through that experience. For others, we've got to get them to learn by learning through others' experiences. We've just got to do a good job of seeing what's wrong, being tough on ourselves while watching film and knowing that these are the plays we can make. When it's mental, it's going back to the chalkboard and dialing in and learning how to focus in even more because when we do, we're a dangerous team.

CB Rasul Douglas

RE: The last time you played Tampa you had a team meeting, is there anything you can do this time around to help considering what happened today?

I think Shaq (Thompson) did a good job of talking after the game, saying what he got off his chest. I think that should help. But if we are being honest, this loss right here is on me. I didn't play well enough and usually I'm the voice of the defense, not the voice but the energy of the defense and when I was having a terrible night, I didn't bring the energy and I think it kind of was a ripple effect to everybody else and that's just how we played as a defense.

RE: What do you feel like was different for you in this game?

There were a couple of plays that I could have made that I didn't make, and I was just thinking about the plays. Usually as a cornerback you have a next-play mentality because things are going to happen. That's the hard part about playing the toughest position, but usually you just have to bounce back, and I let those plays dwell on me and I wasn't the energy for the defense.

RE: Ronald Jones' 98-yard touchdown run

We knew what play they were running. Shaq only screamed it to us 30 times while we were in the huddle. I think everyone, all the coaches, everybody on our team knew what play they were running, we just have to stay in our gap and get him down and live to see another down.

RE: The long run being similar to the long run in the Week 2 game against Tampa Bay

I believe they did pop one on us in Tampa and they got one here. Like I said, we all knew what play they were running. A couple of guys, we just missed. We didn't tackle him.  

RE: Carolina's struggles on third downs

Yes, I definitely think it is correctable but like you said, we suck in that department. We haven't been able to do it, while we as a defense have to find a [expletive] way to do it, I think the coaches are putting us in positions to get off the field and we're not doing it, myself included. I put that on me as well. I blame myself again for that because I had a few chances to get us off the field on third down, and even a chance on fourth down, to do it and I didn't do it.

RE: If they could've switched up some calls and had a better outcome

I don't know. I think (Phil) Snow does a could job of calling what he calls, but I think at the end of the day we just have to execute. It can't be about what the call was. It's a guy in front of you, you line up against him and you have to make sure he doesn't make the play. You have to pick yourself over him, so I think that's just what we have to do.

RE: Was the 98-yard touchdown the back-breaker in the game?

Yeah, I think that play is up there. I watched the momentum kind of like shift for us. Then we get a great punt and then touchdown, and it's just like, [expletive]. Kind of looking at everybody, it was like damn, like we knew what play was coming, so I think that kind of like sucked the energy out of us again. We can't let that happen, not on the first play.

RE: What LB Shaq Thompson said to the team postgame

I'm not going to curse every other word on the media, but he said some things. He basically told everybody to look in the mirror. Like the coaches have been preaching all week – details, leverage, assignment and winning your one-on-ones and none of us did any of that. The whole team, we all did bad. He basically cursed everybody out and said we didn't fight hard enough, we didn't want it more. It's a lot of stuff he said but he basically just told everybody about themselves.

RE: Why this is such a tough loss

Divisional game and it was the next game. Every loss hurts, no one wants to lose, everyone wants to win, that's the mindset that we have. We know we are a good enough team to win and I think that's what kills us the most, when we know we can win, and we just don't put it on film.

RE: Is there anything in particular that you can point to that didn't work this week?

Yeah, me. I point to myself. It's all me, I know it's me. I have to play better. Even if I give up a play, I have to be able to clear it out of my memory bank. I still have to be able to be the energy for the guys and you know, hype them up, because usually I am hyping everybody else. But when plays are going bad for me and I'm having a bad day, it's like, I can't hype myself up because I know I'm better than that. So then I'm not hyping myself up and I'm not hyping them up as well. I just think it was my fault.

RE: What goes through his head on third downs after the team's struggles

I mean we put emphasis on it every week that that's the down. I think we do play well enough on first and second down to get off the field on third down. And then, we just don't. We don't find a way. I don't know what goes through everybody's head, but we try to just say this is the down. We have to do a better of that.

C Matt Paradis

RE: Whether they wanted to spike the ball to avoid a review of the play at the end of the first half

I think there was some confusion there. I think we thought the clock was going to run so we were going to get that spike and go from there, but they stopped the clock and hindsight's 20-20, obviously. But nothing we can do about it now.

RE: What he saw when QB Teddy Bridgewater was injured

I have no idea. I was facing the opposite direction. I honestly have no idea what the injury is or anything about it. Obviously, don't want to see that. We need to keep him clean, we need to do a better job of that. But I'm not sure about any of the other details or anything like that.

RE: Frustration with the third quarter offensive production

I share the frustration. We've got to do better. We can't not perform in the third quarter or the second half. We've got to be able to move the ball and score points. We've got to be better. That was not alright.

RE: Third down issues

I'll have to go watch the tape to see what was going on. It's hard to think of the whole game – I can't remember the nine third downs, specifically – but it's the same thing, that's not good enough. Whether it's getting ourselves in shorter third downs or whatever the answer is there, we've got to be better on third downs. We can't be 1-for-9, that's not good enough.

RE: How he views this loss and if it's a significant step back

I'm not going to evaluate it like that. The only thing we can do is watch this tape and learn from it and improve. We've got Detroit a week from today and we're going to get better and be better this next week.

RB Trenton Cannon

RE: If he thought he would score on his long kickoff return

Yes, I definitely thought I was clear. I definitely thought I was going to score. I had a clear way to the endzone. I will get it next time though.

RE: His kickoff return

I saw it as soon as I got the ball. We practiced on that return all week, so I already know where it is going to hit at. I know the blocks are going to be there, so I just trusted my blockers and it opened up.

RE: When he knew he'd have a big game today

This week, I knew I was going to be back there for this game. It felt so great to come out and help the team in any way I can, especially on special teams. That play was big for me, and the team at the time. We didn't come out with the win, but we are going to continue to get better throughout the rest of the season.

RE: Carolina's struggles on third down and in the third quarter

I don't see anything different. As far as myself, I need to get better as far as running back and on offense. As far as anything different in the game, I don't see anything different.

See game action photos from Carolina's Week 10 game against Tampa Bay, presented by USAA, the official Salute to Service Partner of the Carolina Panthers.

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