The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line surrendered just one sack to the Buffalo Bills Sunday, putting together one of the unit’s most impressive performances of the season, especially when you consider the previous two weeks, they had given up a nine sacks. Starting left tackle Donald Penn talks about Sunday’s impressive 27-6 win, his teammates, his basketball moves, and more.
JL: What did it mean for the offensive line to go out there and have the performance that you did against the Bills? This was a team that had 43 sacks coming in and you guys gave up one.
DP: We’ve just been working hard all year. We’ve been working hard all year. It’s been a tough season. A lot of things haven’t fallen our way. We’ve just been sticking to the plan. We just keep trying to get better. We went out there, we knew what we were going against, we knew the animal they had as pass rushers, and we just tried to sustain [drives]…we did a lot of things that really felt well for us. I’m just happy to get this win.
JL: Not just in pass protection but in running the ball — that 80-yard touchdown run from Bobby Rainey to open the game seemed to really ignite things.
DP: That was a great way to start a game out like that. I was telling [my teammates], you couldn’t have scripted that any better. [It was] a great momentum shift, it kind of punched them in the belly, and we kept it going. We’ve got to learn how to finish better though. We’ve got to finish better, we have to run out the clock at the end. That’s one thing we have to focus on. This win was just great, a little bit of momentum going in. We’ve got a great San Francisco team coming in…we’ve got to really get our stuff together, get some guys healthy so we can be ready.
JL: Coming into this game, the o-line had given up nine sacks over the course of two weeks, a little uncharacteristic of you guys, but this game, seems like things couldn’t have gone any better for you guys.
DP: It was good. It was good. Now we’ve got to build from it. We can’t be satisfied. We’ve got three more games this season. You look at this week and the week after that, we’ve got two good, premier front-sevens that we’re going against, so we’ve got to keep it going and just build from it.
JL: It doesn’t end, does it?
DP: It doesn’t.
JL: So yeah, are we not going to be seeing your number called anymore this year? I kinda liked the dunk. That was impressive.
DP: Nah, everybody is expecting that. We’re gonna have to chill on that. Maybe next year, maybe the year after that. Let some people forget about it for a while and then we’ll dial it back up again.
JL: What does it mean for you guys to have not one starting-caliber running back go down but two, and then a guy by the name of Bobby Rainey comes in and rushes for 127 yards?
DP: As good as he’s been playing, I’m surprised we were able to get him. S—, he’s a good running back. He’s a real good running back. That’s the nature of this beast. That’s how I got where I’m at. Somebody goes down and you’ve got to step up and do your best. He’s doing a good job of it. Glad to have that guy. Glad he was able to get picked up and come help our team.
JL: This team has a lot of those guys — castaways from other teams, undrafted players, like Demar Dotson on the other side…
DP: Demar played his butt off. He really played well. He’s really come into his own this year and he’s having a great season. He’s really not getting any credit for it but Demar’s playing great. He had a great game…my hat’s off to him. He’s a hard worker. He gets in here every day…does extra…I’m proud of the guy.
One-On-One With Bucs Left Tackle Donald Penn by Jenna Laine