Pierre-Paul says to blame the players for Bucs’ defensive shortcomings
Eduardo Encina, Tampa Bay Times, published 5 November 2018

A frustrated Jason Pierre-Paul, perhaps sensing that the blame for the Bucs' porous defense Sunday would fall on the coaching staff, said after the game that it's the players who are at fault for the team's inconsistent play. The Bucs fell behind again, trailing by three touchdowns in the first half before making it a game in the second half.

"It's frustrating, man," Pierre-Paul said. "We've got to play ball. We've just got to play ball. It's frustrating, but that's on the players, man. It ain't on the coaches. It's on the players. It's on me. I'm tired of coaches saying, they've got to take it. Nah, it's up the players to play ball. That's just what it is, and it's going to come down to that."

The Panthers tallied 263 yards of total offense in the first half on their way to a 35-14 lead. That included 136 yards rushing as Carolina ran a series of misdirection plays that had the Bucs defenders out of position.

"It wasn't good at all," Pierre-Paul said. "We came out flat again. Once again, came out flat. I don't know the reason. We'll figure it out. We fought and fought, but we can't come out flat in the first quarter like that at all, and that's what's been beating us lately."

Pierre-Paul's franchise record of sacks in six straight games was snapped on Sunday. Pierre-Paul recorded one tackle on the day. The Bucs recorded two sacks as a team, with end Carl Nassib tallying his third sack of the season and Gerald McCoy, playing his first game in three weeks, and Lavonte David getting a half-sack each.