'The hustle was phenomenal' Grimes' stop set up end-zone INT
Perhaps the biggest defensive play of the Bucs' 17-14 win at Carolina on Monday night was CB Brent Grimes making a leaping interception in the end zone when the Panthers had first and goal at the 1-yard line in a tie game with 8:45 remaining.
But what stood out to Bucs coach Dirk Koetter was what Grimes did on the previous play to make the interception possible, making a diving tackle on Panthers running back Fozzy Whitaker on a 16-yard run to stop him at the 1-yard line as he dived for the pylon.
"Even more so than the interception was the tackle he made the play before that," Koetter said. "We give Brent a hard time about him not being the greatest tackler in the world, but if he doesn't tackle that guy on the 1-yard line, that next play never happens. We're already down. He shoved that guy, got him down and they called him out at the 1, and next play, Brent gets the interception."
The Bucs' coaching staff voted Tuesday to give the defensive game ball for the week to Grimes -- RB Jacquizz Rodgers got it on offense and WR Russell Shepard on special teams -- but S Bradley McDougald said in watching game tape Tuesday, the effort Grimes put in getting Whitaker at the 1 was obvious.
"The hustle was phenomenal," McDougald said. "That's just Brent for you. ... (The INT) was huge. There's no other words you can say. Prime-time play. The only reason he got that was that he stopped the ballcarrier the (play) before."
Grimes, who got the Bucs' first interception this season by a defensive back, saw QB Derek Anderson trying to hit TE Greg Olsen, who had a huge game with 181 yards on nine catches, but he got to the ball first, stepping up for the second play in a row with the game on the line.
"I just made a play and tackled him before he got in the end zone. That's the goal," he said of his initial stop. "I had an opportunity to make a play on the ball in the end zone and I did that."