Bucs’ Pierre-Paul on loss to Bears: ‘I feel like everybody in the locker room knew we should’ve won that game’

Last Thursday night, the Tampa Buccaneers started fast against the Chicago Bears and got out to a 13-0 lead in the second quarter, but Nick Foles and the Bears were able to come back and ultimately defeat Tampa Bay 20-19 at Soldier Field. 

It was a tough loss for the Buccaneers, especially when you consider they had an early lead and a lead late in the game. On Tuesday, Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul discussed the loss to the Bears, and according to the 11-year veteran, Tampa Bay should have beaten Chicago on Thursday.

“It was a disappointing loss. I feel like everybody in the locker room knew we should’ve won that game, and we didn’t play to our full expectation,” he said. “That’s just what it is. I’m speaking for myself right now – I don’t dwell on the games that have been played that we lost, or on the games that have been played that we win. I try to play each game individually and game by game. That’s just basically what I do. I don’t look at the loss and criticize myself. I do within that Monday, but then it’s all over and done, and I move on to the next.”

The Buccaneers, who many expected to one of the NFC’s favorites, are 3-2 and are in a three-way tie with the Saints and Panthers for first place in the NFC South. On Tuesday, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians evaluated the team after five games.

“We did a bunch of self-scouting. There’s a lot of good things. The biggest negative thing is there are games where we have too many self-inflicted penalties and put ourselves behind the chains,” Arians said. “Does it happen every week? No. But when they happen, they happen in bunches, and we have to correct that. I think offensively, things [have gone] really, really well up until last week with the red zone. We’re still running the ball well – third-down conversion could be better, but they’re going to be better if we don’t get in third-and-long all the time. Defensively, again, just technique [and] getting our head around on back-shoulder fades, those type of things. [We are] playing very aggressive [and] doing a great job against the run. We’ve got to do a better job of getting off third down, also.”

The Buccaneers were sloppy last Thursday night against Chicago and ended the night with 11 penalties, but Pierre-Paul is right. Tampa Bay should have defeated the Bears, but they didn’t, and now it’s time to get right at home against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers(4-0), which won’t be easy. 

Bucs’ Pierre-Paul: ‘We can be one of the best defenses in the NFL’

When you have an opportunity to play with maybe the greatest NFL player of all time, you can’t help but be excited, which was the case when Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul found out Tom Brady was coming to Tampa Bay.

“I was pretty excited,” Pierre-Paul said via a video call on Monday. “I was pretty excited that we got him because I always [asked] myself, ‘If I had a quarterback like Brady, what would I do?’ Now is the perfect opportunity. It’s not, ‘What would I do?’ Now I can go out and do something. It’s totally different from all the years I’ve been playing football, and every guy on this team should have that feeling. Like I said, he’s the G.O.A.T. of football. There’s a reason he has six N.F.L. championship rings. You can see it. There’s really nothing too much to talk about – it’s Brady you’re talking about.”

While some were initially in awe of Brady, according to Pierre-Paul,  who returned to Tampa after signing a two-year, $27 million deal in March, many have adapted to having Brady around. 

“I think everybody has adapted that he’s here,” Pierre-Paul said. “Like I said, he’s making us better as a team, and that’s what he should be doing as a quarterback – bringing the team together – and that’s what he’s doing.”

One thing that will help Brady and the Buccaneers succeed is Tampa’s defense, which Pierre-Paul believes could be one of the best in football.

“It’s going to be the best defense with the work that we put into it,” Pierre-Paul said. “I don’t get caught up too much in the hype. We have a quarterback; we have a running back, we have all this. What you put in is what you get out of [it]. I’m a true believer of that because the works that you put in is the work that you’re going to put out. Hot days in Florida under the weather right now, sweating – those sweats and blood, you getting ripped up and scraped up, that’s what’s going to count.

“Like I said, every guy that we have, what we put in is what we’re going to get out. I’m pretty sure we’re putting in the work, and you see it every day. It takes time, but we’re putting in the work. With that said, we can be one of the best defenses in the NFL, but we’ve got to put in the work.”

Obviously, with Brady in the mix, it’s going to help Tampa’s defense. Last season, Jameis Winston, who threw 30 interceptions, put the Buccaneers’ defense in a lot of bad positions. In 2019, the Buccaneers were number one against the run and were 11th in sacks(47), so without Winston, the defense will probably be even better this season. 

With all the talent on defense and Tom Brady, the sky’s the limit for the Buccaneers in 2020, so, yes, Pierre-Paul should be excited.