Jon Gruden: 'We wanted that game desperately'
Effort was not the problem in the Bucs' 38-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers, coach Jon Gruden said during his news conference Tuesday at One Buc Place.
"We were aggressive,'' Gruden said. "I'm not gonna fault that. The effort was good.''
A Bucs defense ranked fourth overall entering the game was dominated physically in allowing 464 yards, including 299 on the ground.
After allowing just one 100-yard rushing game all season, Tampa Bay permitted two Monday in Charlotte. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and rookie Jonathan Stewart added 115 yards and two scores.
The Bucs allowed the Panthers to convert 8 of 10 third down opportunities and missed more tackles than in any game this season, Gruden said.
"We missed a couple on fits, no doubt about that,'' he said. "We missed a few tackles. A lot of that has to be with those two backs. They were outstanding.''
The Bucs have a short week before facing another physical running team Sunday in Atlanta, with Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood.
"We have a lot of resolve,'' Gruden said. ''We have a lot of character. Obviously we wanted that game desperately last night, but we use it as motivation.''