Receiver Antonio Bryant, a sixth-year player in his first season with the Bucs, has had a penchant for making big plays in some of Tampa Bay's biggest wins. The 23-20 victory over the Saints on Sunday was no exception. Bryant set up the Bucs' first touchdown, in the third quarter, when he came back for a diving, 12-yard grab at the Saints 19 on a pass that deflected off fullback B.J. Askew, the intended receiver. Later in the third, Bryant burst past two defenders in the middle of the field on a double move to make a 39-yard touchdown catch, helping put the Bucs ahead 20-10. And Bryant, who had three catches for 63 yards, made a first down on a 13-yard end-around in the second quarter.
What happened on your 39-yard touchdown catch?
We viewed it from last week's film, playing against Detroit. (Lions strong safety) Dwight Smith zoomed in on one of the routes that I occasionally run that we've been successful at. It's a high-percentage route. So he kind of zoomed in and they came back during the week and said, "Hey, we're gonna run this play right here because we see people keying in on the play." They bit the bait, and we took it.
Can you take us through the catch you made when B.J. Askew tipped it?
When the ball was in the air, I kind of felt like it was going to be a deflected ball. So I kind of gathered myself to wait on the deflection, because the one thing we didn't want to do is give them the ball on turnovers. So I was either going to have to bat it down … but I had an opportunity to go after it, so I just made a tough catch.
How rewarding is it for you that coaches rely on you for some of the key plays this season?
I love it. There is nothing showboat about it. It's just playing football, and that's what I enjoy. I love being in these high-amped games.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer