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Lions at Bengals Postgame Quotes

Posted Dec 24, 2017

Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals postgame quotes

MARVIN LEWIS

Head coach

(in news conference)

Initial Comments ...

        “That was, for the guys, a great job today (with) great fighting throughout the game. We had to battle the war of attrition once again out there, and guys had to step up and play. I think we went into the game with the most linebackers we’ve had for a while, and we quickly went without them, and (it was a) nice job (by the backups).

        “We shot ourselves in the foot with the penalty there on fourth down with the running into the kicker (penalty in the third quarter), and then they make the first (down). But the offense fought right back and went down and got a score, so it was a good day all around for our guys.”

 

This was probably the best team win for you guys in a while, right?

        “Well I think all three phases (of our team) made plays that made a difference, obviously, (especially our) ability to control the returner (Ameer Abdullah) that they have, who’s such a good player. When we had to punt the football, Kevin (Huber) did a nice job today of putting the ball where we could get down and cover it and force balls on the boundary, as we talked about all week. That was great.

        “Obviously, offensively with the long drives, we didn’t get touchdowns early in the game, but we had long drives. And then defensively, the third downs were key in not allowing the big chunk plays, which were big.”

 

Can you talk a little about Giovani Bernard’s play today?

        “It was a yeoman’s effort. Again, we went into the game feeling pretty good where we are (at running back) with Joe (Mixon) back, and it didn’t last long.”

 

You have to feel good about what Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond were able to do on the offensive line today, seeing how they were thrust into the playing roles ...

        “Christian missed the one trap play where Gio got clocked, but all in all, those young guys went in there and battled their butts off. And Clint (Boling) battled his butt off out there at tackle. They’ve got to feel good. It was a good week of practice and the energy. It was great.”

 

Can you talk about the way your guys responded today after the recent losses?

        “Again, the last couple of weeks, we got on the bad end of some plays, particularly early in the football games, that set ourselves back. And today, we were able to keep fighting and hang in there. They did a nice job and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got one more opportunity to do that, and they’ll answer the bell.”

 

Did you have any flashbacks to last Christmas Eve when Randy Bullock went out to try the 51-yard field goal?

        “No, I didn’t but I appreciate you not bringing it up before he ran out there (laughs). That was another one where (thought) we had won one and then we lost it, but we were able to prevail (today).”

 

You’ve given 15 years of your life to the Bengals ... what advice would you have for a reporter covering this team for the first time asking you questions?

        “You might be bad luck (laughs). ... I don’t know what you expect me to say to that. ... I know it hasn’t been a year that any of us expected — but our guys came out today, hung in here and kept it alive. That’s what it is in the NFL — it’s a year-to-year, day-to-day (situation). We’re not done yet, but we did not (give up). Our goal as an organization is to be world champions. We’re not going to get there this year. That’s my job, to get the team to win the Super Bowl, and we’re short of that this year.

        “That’s all I can say. There’s nothing in between as a coach — you either do or you don’t. And this year we didn’t.”

 

You said you weren’t going to be emotional as the season ...

        “Emotional? Why? Do you know something I don’t know (laughs)?”

 

(in locker room)

It was only fitting, if indeed this is your final game at Paul Brown stadium, it’s only fitting that this football team responded and played for you this way. There’s really nothing to play for this week other than knocking Detroit out of the playoffs, and they did. There’s really nothing to play for next week other than knocking Baltimore out of the playoffs. Maybe they will. It’s a testament to what you’ve done here, not just this year, but for your career ...

        “I guess everybody’s writing me off (laughs). For them, it’s a lot of hard work. This season was not the season we expected. We do this to be world champions — to have an opportunity to be world champions. Anything short of that is a failure, and this year we failed to get there. Today they fought their tails off again. They needed to win. It’s fun to win. They work hard at it with their preparation, and the coaches certainly spend the time with them. I’m happy and proud for them.”

 

You look at the Green Bay game. You look at the Pittsburgh first half. When this team is healthy, they can beat anybody. That’s why it’s so frustrating, isn’t it?

        “Well, it is. We had a year where we didn’t close some games out when we had the lead. We had a year where sometimes, offensively, we weren’t as good as we needed to be. Unfortunately, we spread it around. Again, you’ve got to feel good with the way the guys came out and played today.”

 

ANDY DALTON

Quarterback

You were left with quite a different mix of lineman in front of you. Talk about the job they did ...

        “Yeah, they played great. For guys playing different spots — spots they haven’t normally played — It was big for us. The way we were able to run the ball, and the way they were moving guys, it was great. I thought they played great today.”

 

Did you come into this game wondering how things would go? There were three players in particular who were in places they had never been before. Did you wonder how things would go?

        “Obviously we are trusting these guys to get the job done, but you never know how it will go until you get into the game. But I thought these guys did a great job.”

 

You also finally had Joe Mixon back in there. Then he went out again with an injury, and Giovani Bernard stepped up and had a big day ...

        “Yeah, we trust Gio. He’s really good. I’m happy for him and the production he had. He played great, and like I said, I’m happy for him to be in there and get that done.”

 

Someone said Bernard was supposed to go down at the one-yard line on that last touchdown. Were you glad to see him actually take it in?

        “Get the points. Obviously the game could’ve been over at that point, but it was open. I’m happy for him. I guess we could’ve ended the game earlier.”

 

Was there any part of you that flashed back to last Christmas Eve when Randy Bullock went out there for that last 51-yard field goal?

        “No, I wasn’t even thinking about that. He hit it — good job by him. We trusted he was going to make it and he did.”

 

On the touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah, Trey Hopkins was in motion. Is there any chance that you could’ve audibled and thrown the ball to him?

        “We tried (laughs). We tried to get him split out wide. We tried to do different things with him to get him the ball, but C.J. (Uzomah) made a great catch.”

 

It seemed like that was the read the whole time on that play. Was Uzomah the best read on that play, or was there something else you saw that made you throw the ball to him?

        “It was my first option, and he did a good job of getting across the field and getting open.”

 

The locker room after the game sounded like a team that just clinched the playoffs. Can you describe the atmosphere in there?

        “Yeah. After the last couple of weeks, and not playing the way we wanted to, for us to get a win at home on the last home game of the season, it feels good —(especially) right before Christmas. There were a lot of happy people in the locker room, as they should be.”

 

You mentioned that it’s Christmas Eve. It was a nasty day too, and you guys are out of the playoffs. There were a lot of empty seats in the crowd today. Do you notice stuff like that, or do you more notice the people that did come? What do you make of that when you see a lot of empty seats?

        “We want as many people here as we can, and we are thankful for all of the fans who showed up and supported us. Obviously it is Christmas Eve, and there’s a lot going on. But the fans who were here are the loyal ones, and we are thankful for them.”

 

The atmosphere today might be a reason for some teams to not give effort, but that didn’t seem to be the case today. Was there a lot of pride factored in for you guys today?

        “Absolutely. Like I said earlier in the week, we’ve got two games left, and we’re going to try to win two. Guys came to play. Obviously there were ups and downs in the game, but we stayed the course and finished this one out the way we wanted to. We’ve got one (game) more to do it.”

 

It’s Christmas Eve, you got a win, and you even had your family with you down on the field before the game. Do you look at a day like today as a blessing?

        “It’s a major blessing to be able to play this game, and to have that moment down on the field with my family on Christmas Eve. There’s a lot to be thankful for. I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in. It’s fun to have moments like that, where you can share it with your family. Regardless of the outcome of the game, win or lose, you always have them. Everyone has their family in this locker room. It’s great to have their support.”

 

GIOVANI BERNARD

Halfback

Thirty touches for 168 yards — 23 rushes for 116, nine catches for 52, and the 12-yard touchdown run that sealed the game. Hell of a day ...

        “Yeah, it was a good one. It was a team effort. This entire thing was a team effort. I know it’s been tough in this locker room the last couple of weeks, but we rebounded together, we stuck together. One of the things that really stuck with me during this entire day, this entire week, is what Coach Marvin said in a meeting: ‘Why do we do what we do?’ Everybody had a different answer, but we all came out here united and played this game. It was fun.”

 

A lot of people have been speculating that this could have been Marvin Lewis’s last game at Paul Brown Stadium as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. Was that on anybody’s mind?

        “No, no it wasn’t. We just wanted to go out and win. That’s what we do. That’s what we get paid to do and (why we) do what we do — go out here and win. We enjoy playing with each other. We enjoy being out here with our teammates and our blood, sweat and tears every single day together, so it was fun to get this win together.”

 

After everything you went through with the ACL reconstruction, how proud are you with the way you played today?

        “I mean, it’s always great. It’s really a team effort — (trainer) Nick Cosgray, Coach Chip (Morton), our strength coach — it was really a combination of everybody getting together and really getting after it. I knew, when I went down last year, it was only a matter of time before I came back, ready to go. I was happy to get back out there with my teammates at camp.”

 

You hurt the Lions between the tackles, and then you started bouncing on them and getting to the outside. Was that the game plan or did it just work out that way?

        “It just worked out like that. A lot of the times, things bounce out like that because the receivers are out there blocking. A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell — those guys did a great job on the exterior getting those corners blocked up, which made me run those courses. It was a great team effort to get 100 yards, so it was nice.”

 

The offensive line was reshuffled and revamped due to injuries. Hell of a job by those guys ...

        “Every single day, those guys come here to work. It’s really just a team effort. They do a great job, and my hats are always off to those guys to be able to do what they do. It’s amazing.”

 

You knocked Detroit out of the playoffs. You could have a chance to knock the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoffs. Is that part of your focus?

        “Maybe not that, but for us to win, that’s what we do. We enjoy winning. It brings everybody together, so I’m glad we were able to get this win. We’ve got an AFC North game next week, so hopefully we can get this division record up.”

 

CHRISTIAN WESTERMAN

Guard

It was a hell of a day. You guys hammered it between the tackles. Giovani Bernard had 116 yards rushing, another 52 receiving. It all started with you guys. Pretty good day, you guys were moving people around ...

        “Oh yeah, it was a lot of fun. Me and Red (Alex Redmond) were having fun out there getting opportunities — just being able to get out there and hit people again. It’s a lot of fun.”

 

ALEX REDMOND

Guard

You guys were doubling people and knocking them back to the linebackers ...

        “Honestly, I was just happy to have Clint Boling next to me on my left (laughs). Honestly, I think he did 89% of the work. I’ll take the other 11 ... I’m just glad I got to play. I was excited to see my boy Westerman play too. It was a good day.”

 

ERIC WINSTON

Offensive tackle

You’ve played a lot of football and you were into it out there. What was your experience out there today?

        “At the end of the day, we play this game to win. Any time I get a chance to get out on the field, I want to win. That’s why we keep score. That’s why we compete. That’s why we lift all the weights, and run, and do all the things we do. You get 16 cracks at it. If you really think about it, it’s nothing in the grand scheme of the year. An opportunity like this, there’s not many of them left. I wanted to leave it all out there. I wanted to see these two young guys play (Redmond and Westerman), because I remember my chance of getting to play after an injury. That’s what jump started my career. It was awesome. It was awesome to be a part of it. These guys went out and spilled their guts for each other, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

 

CLINT BOLING

Guard

Going to the left tackle position, you played some in college, but Ziggy Ansah is a tough matchup. To do what you did out there and lead those young guys, how proud are you right now?

        “It was a fun experience to go out there for the first time. It was really enjoyable. New challenges at the end of the season, especially in this situation ... it was definitely fun. And when you get the win to top everything off, it was awesome.”

 

Did you guys realize that you were handling things the way you were and Gio had 116 yards rushing?

        “Yeah, you always kind of get those feelings throughout the game. It was awesome. The whole team effort. The defense (also0 played well. It was a good win.”

 

You knocked them out of the playoffs. You could knock Baltimore out of the playoffs. Not bad ...

        “Yeah, absolutely. It would be a good way to finish the season.”

 

A.J. GREEN

Wide receiver

You guys have a lot of pride, don’t you?

        “Yeah, one thing about us, is this team is never going to give up. We’re all prideful men here. At the end of the day, it’s football. We all love to compete.”

 

Obviously you don’t know what’s going to happen with Marvin Lewis over the next couple of weeks, but how good was it as a player, if it is his last, to send him off with a home win?

        “We’re just playing hard, man. We can’t control what’s going to happen. Coach Lewis has been here for a long time, and he’s always handled things the right way. We’re just playing for each other. This game goes by real fast, so we just try to enjoy every moment no matter how the season is going. Tomorrow is not promised.”

 

How satisfying was it for this team to finally get one?

        “It feels good. We put in all this work week in and week out. ... It feels good to get back in that winning column.”

 

It’s been almost three years since Gio had a 100-yard game. As a teammate, how much does that mean to you?

        “It was unbelievable. Gio is one of the hardest workers. He doesn’t say much. He just puts his head down and works his butt off. He’s my locker mate so I’m always talking to him. One thing I admire about him is the way he works and goes about his business.”

 

Does this say something about this team to not have anything to play for as far as the playoffs but still come out and play inspired football?

        “Yeah. Like I said, we’re all prideful men here. We’re a prideful group. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up. Alex (Redmond) and (Christian) Westerman, Clint (Boling) going out to tackle, Big E (Eric Winston) stepping up — those guys played their butts off. Hats off to them.”

 

Is this the best Christmas present you could have asked for?

        “Yeah, a win.”

 

VINCENT REY

Linebacker

Did it cross your mind that this could be Marvin Lewis’ last game as head coach in this stadium?

        “No, but what went through my mind was that it could be my last home game. I never know. Every week, I always see it as a chance to show what I can do and try to gain the respect of my teammates and the league. That’s how I came into the league. In my rookie year, I played with a guy by the name of Dhani Jones, and he said, ‘Every year is a one-week contract.’ That’s how you have to look at it. Every week, you have to show why you belong, and that’s what I do every week. This week was no different. All of us have to come in here and show why we belong here. The No. 1 way to show why you belong is to win, and we did that.”

 

Describe the interception you had in the third quarter ...

        “That was big. It was a great job by Vontaze (Burfict). He came in on a blitz and won his rush on the back and was hitting the quarterback. He made (the quarterback) make an errant throw, and thankfully I was able to pull it in. The offense was able to turn it into three (points), so it was big. Obviously it was a six-point swing right there.”

 

You are one of the leaders on defense, and Giovani Bernard is one of the leaders on offense. You guys both had big games today ...

        “Yeah, he played great. Joe Mixon was back, but he got hurt early — and he was rolling, so it was hard to see him go out. But we know Gio can do it all. He’s a tough guy, he’s quick, and he can make plays in the pass game and run game. I was glad to see him making plays. The offense just made plays, and we continued to get first-downs late in the game. When we were down one point, they just took over.”

 

Matthew Stafford is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. What does it mean to the defense to bounce back from two subpar showings and play well today against an offense led by him?

        “It meant a lot, because this offense — I would say — is a better offense than the last two we played against in Chicago and Minnesota. So we knew we had our work cut out for us. We got a couple guys back, like Dre Kirkpatrick and Vontaze Burfict, and they gave us a boost. Dre made some big plays out there on third-downs. We’re happy to get those guys back. It was still a tough game, but we were able to pull it out in the end.”

 

The locker room sounded like a madhouse after the game. Describe what the emotion was like after a nice win like this ...

        “We lost three in a row, so it was just such a relief to win. No matter who you’re playing against, it’s always hard to win in this league, so it was such a relief to win that game — especially with the way we did it, with Vontaze going down, who’s one of our leaders on defense. I’m out there with Hardy Nickerson and Brandon Bell holding down the fort, and the defensive line played star-studded all day. Dre made big plays for us on the back-end. It was a great team win.”

 

C.J. UZOMAH

Tight end

Tell us about the play that ended with your touchdown catch...

        “Watch the SEC Championship game. That’s where we got it from. War Eagle. Sorry, we had to steal a play. It hasn’t really been working too well in practice, so we’ve been trying to (conceal) certain things. He called it, and I was ready, so there was no way I was going to drop it.”

 

As a former Auburn Tiger, did you suggest that play after the SEC Championship game?

        “That wasn’t my doing. I came in the next day, and we were going through the plays and coach Hayes (Bengals TEs coach Jonathan Hayes) pulls up the SEC Championship game. I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’ (laughs). It was nice. It was a good play ,and I’m glad we executed.”

 

GEORGE ILOKA

Safety

You guys showed today that you’re a pretty prideful group ...

        “I was just happy to be a part of that today, honestly. We had a tough three-game stretch from the Steelers to the Bears to last week. Obviously our season is over, in terms of (making the) playoffs. Wins make you believe again. It gives you confidence and lets you know what you really are. I told you that earlier in the week — we have a lot of things to build for, like getting better and improving, and for the young guys to build on top of that.”

 

Does that say a lot about the group, that you are able to muster up that kind of effort without anything to play for?

        “Definitely. There’s a lot of guys that were hurt that played throughout the game, and a lot of guys that maybe (if they had) low character would have sat out. But everybody fought their injuries or stepped up and played all four quarters. That says a lot about us, just to come out there with not much to play for in terms of playoff contention, but for pride and love of the game. We had fun out there. Regardless of the outcome, in the fourth quarter I thought to myself that this feels good to be competitive and play football.”

 

How much pride do you take in how the secondary did a good job of shutting down two pretty good receivers?

        “Marvin (Jones) has obviously been killing (playing well). He had a good catch, but he did what we knew what he was going to do. He’s got 50 catches for close to 1,000 yards, so he’s a big-catch kind of guy. He got one of those, so it is what it is. We still came out with the win. As a secondary, we’re happy that we were able to contain him and make sure those two guys and Matthew (Stafford) didn’t go for too many yards.”

 

It seemed like all three phases contributed in a positive way today.

        “It was a good team win. Whether we won or not, I was just happy that we played and competed throughout the whole game against a team that most people thought we were going to lose to. There were a lot of situations in this game where, earlier in the year we would have folded, in terms of things that would have went downhill, from that penalty on special teams to them scoring. The defense got a couple of stops, offense scored, and we didn’t flinch. That’s what I was most proud of —more so than the win or loss.”

 

You don’t know Marvin Lewis’ future. This could have been his last game. He got a nice cheer when he ran off the field. Was it nice for the team to send him out with a win?

        “We don’t know. Nobody knows their future in this league. With players and coaches, it’s really just year-to-year with the way everything is set up with contracts and all of that. At the end of the year, it’s always just a weird feeling because you look around and you know it will never be the exact same, in terms of guys in the locker room. Same thing with coaches, when guys get promotions or go other places. You can never take it for granted, and you appreciate the people while they’re here. I can’t really speak to that situation, but he’s been a good person to me and a good coach.”

 

MICHAEL JOHNSON

Defensive end

Is it different taking the field when you know the team is out of the playoff picture and you’re playing a team fighting for a spot?

        “That’s what makes it even more fun. Every time you get a chance to go out there and play a game you’ve been playing your whole life and you’re getting paid to do, you give it everything you’ve got. We were blessed to even wake up this morning. Everybody didn’t wake up. We woke up. Let’s take advantage of our time. It was fun. Everybody felt the energy, and we had fun competing. That’s what it’s about — putting your best stuff out there every time you get the opportunity. Opportunities aren’t promised.”

 

It seemed like the defensive line came in and played well against a banged-up Lions offensive line ...

        “They’re professionals, and they get paid too. Whoever they put out there has to block. We were able to get them in some passing situations at the end, and we have great rushers — Carl (Lawson), Carlos (Dunlap), Geno (Atkins), Chris (Smith) — and they did a great job squeezing the pocket and getting him on the ground, making him feel the pressure pretty good today. We’re happy about that. But No. 1 is that we stopped the run first, so we were able to do that.”

 

Was it nice knowing that you guys were able to send Marvin Lewis off with a victory in potentially his last home game?

        “He didn’t tell me it was his last game. I haven’t heard that. All I’ve been hearing is speculation, and I don’t listen to speculation. If it’s true, then it’s true. If not, we’re going to rock out again next year. He’s been great for me. I love him as a coach and as a person.”

 

CLINT BOLING

Guard

You guys had two new starters on the offensive line (OT Eric Winston and G Christian Westerman). Was it a bit awkward?

        “No, we felt like we had a plan going into it throughout the week and knew what it was going to be. So I don’t feel like rotating changed a lot of things. Like I said, they’re both good players and I thought they did a good job.”

 

It seemed like you guys ran a lot of power plays. Is that their strength?

        “Like I said, they’re both big and can move, so I think they’re able to get that push inside and they did a good job overall.”

 

Was it awkward to start at tackle? Did it get comfortable after a while?

        “You’re definitely feeling your way around for the first time, but like I said it was a big challenge. It’s a little bit of a different game out there, going from guard to tackle, and overall I was happy with the way it went. There are some things that I can do better, but for the most part it was a good game”

 

 

 

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LIONS POSTGAME QUOTES

DEC. 24, 2017

DETROIT AT CINCINNATI

 

JIM CALDWELL

Head coach

They were struggling the past couple weeks. How do you explain the loss?

        “We struggled today. That’s the fact of the matter. They did a better job controlling the line of scrimmage on us, they ran the ball well. You know, we had a couple sparks in there here and there, but we just were just not sharp one way shape or form. We had a few plays here and there, but they played better.”

 

You had so much on the line. Why do you think you weren’t sharper?

        “Every game is on the line. The last two weeks they’ve been on the line. Obviously in terms of how we played, we played decently I think a couple weeks in a row and just didn’t play well today.”

 

You had multiple fourth-and-short situations in relatively favorable field conditions. Why didn’t you trust your offense in a game where you needed it so much?

        “Earlier on in the game you’re talking about, I think we were up in one situation and there was another it was fourth-and-two and something close. When it got down to it and we obviously had to go after it, we went after it and our guys came through. Could have took it down the field and scored, but you know, you make your decision on that. You don’t get in that situation and, obviously, it turns into a different game where it doesn’t have to be at that particular point in time. You have to weigh and measure those things out.”

 

Some of the sloppiness was penalties with five in the last eight minutes or so that seemed to cost you ...

        “Too many, on both sides of the ball we had them. Guys offsides, guys jumping offsides offensively — just not sharp. We didn’t play well, and I’m responsible for that. It’s just not our better day.”

 

Why do you think that happened?

        “Sometimes it does. That’s just the way it is. It’s not a perfect game. It’s not parlayed perfectly all the time, but at least you’ve got to be able to make some plays and you can hurt yourself, which we did multiple times. And they played well. You’ve got to give them some credit now. They ran the ball extremely well against us and made plays.”

 

You’re now out of the playoff picture. What does it say about your future here?

        “You know what, anytime that you lose in this game everything’s up for consideration. What we have to be concerned about, obviously, is getting our team focused again, ready to go. We can end up 3-1 over in the quarter. It’s not where we want to be, but obviously it ends up at a pretty decent clip just in terms if you can get to 3-1.”

 

Is your team still trending in the right direction?

        “I think it’s one of those things you can look at it and make the assessment yourself. We’ll look at it ourselves once it’s all said and done next week and we’ll make a determination. If you look at record wise where we are, we’ve still got one game to go.”

 

Do you feel you’ve done enough to return for another season?

        “That’s not up to me. You’ve never heard me try to defend myself one time and I won’t do it today.”

 

What has anyone said to you about your future?

        “I’ve not had any discussions.”

 

Did you get any insight on Prater missing the 50-yard field goal attempt?

        “No. He’s made a lot more than he’s missed for us.”

 

MATTHEW STAFFORD

Quarterback

Do you feel like it was a struggle offensively from start to finish?

        “Yeah. We didn’t play well. We weren’t moving the chains enough, weren’t making enough big plays. If you don’t do those things on the road, it’s tough to win.”

 

Why do you think the offense struggled with so much on the line?

        “It’s an NFL football game, and sometimes it’s not going to be easy. You have to go out there and battle. For some reason or another, we didn’t score enough points, and that will cost you.”

 

How much of a challenge was it to play behind an offensive line that was missing three starters?

        “Those guys battled and played well. We have to make plays on the outside; that is how you score points in this league.”

 

With a lot of favorable field position early in the game, how much do you push to be more aggressive?

        “I leave those up to coach. He makes good decisions.”

 

What is your disappointment level in missing the playoffs and not getting over the hump?

        “We have been to the playoffs before, so I don’t know about not getting over the hump. It’s not fun when you get eliminated. It’s not fun. We put a lot of work into it. My teammates and coaches and everybody put a lot of work into it, so when it doesn’t happen — it’s disappointing.”

 

Were you aware of the Atlanta Falcons score (Saints 23, Falcons 13)?

        “No.”

 

Do you have any thoughts on the job Jim Caldwell and his staff have done this year?

        “I think he did a great job. We have to go out there, make plays, score points and win games. That’s the way it goes.”

 

Do you think the amount of criticism he endures is fair?

        “That’s not for me to judge. We understand that’s the nature of this business. We also understand what he does behind closed doors. I have a lot of respect for him.”

 

On the third-down throw to Kenny Golladay in the red zone, what was supposed to happen?

        “About what happened. I just have to throw the ball in a better spot, and we have to come down with it. We have to find a way to score points, and that’s what it comes down to. He was about third or fourth in the progression, and the guy made a good play.”

 

Did you feel good after scoring the go-ahead touchdown?

        “It’s NFL football. You never know what is going to happen. A lot of scenarios go through your head at that point, and you have to be ready for all them. It boils down to not making enough plays.”

 

GLOVER QUIN

Safety

Gio Bernard had a big day which seemed to make the difference in this game ...

        “He had a couple of breakout runs and screens. We just didn’t do a good enough job executing. We didn’t tackle well and we didn’t make enough plays.”

 

What do you think happened with the defense today?

        “It’s very frustrating. We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. We didn’t stop the run and they controlled the line of scrimmage. When you aren’t able to do those things, you lose ball games.”

 

DARIUS SLAY

Cornerback

Your chances for the postseason have been eliminated ...

        “That’s what it’s all about. Off-season, training camp — all training for the postseason. Us not going is not our cup of tea. We’ll finish strong at home for the fans and prepare for next year.”

 

How aware were you of what was going on between the Falcons and the Panthers today?

        “Not too aware because I had to focus on a tough assignment today.”

 

Did you hear that the Falcons lost?

        “Ahh (shoot). No, I didn’t.”

 

It seems like today was a microcosm of the entire season...

        “True. But it’s our job to get it fixed and we aren’t fixing it. We have to look at ourselves first.”

 

What was the difference between today and last week, when the defense played well?

        “We played well on defense again this week. They made more plays than we did and that was it.”

 

How do you keep your focus going into a game that means nothing?

        “Because it’s the cheeseheads. They don’t like us and we don’t like them.”

 

MARVIN JONES

Wide receiver

How do you explain what happened today?

        “We didn’t execute. There were a few times where we had some success but when it matters most you have to cash in and we didn’t do that and they did.”

 

What’s the feeling walking off the field today?

        “It’s hard, but we did it to ourselves. We have to forget about it and go play Green Bay.”

Why do you think today ...

        “Execution.”

 

What would that mean if you had won today?

        “It would mean a lot. Had we won we’re still in. We lost, so we’re out and that’s tough. We need to come with it for the next game and play lights out. We laid an egg out there today and we have to come back.”

 

What does it mean achieve the 1000 yard mark today?

        “It really doesn’t mean anything right now. After the season I’ll look back at my accomplishments. I needed 30 yards — I would’ve hit it anyway.”

 

How do you keep focus going into a game that means nothing?

        “We’re all professionals and we’re passionate for the game. We’ll all go out there and play like we need to play. We have a game left and this is what we do. We have to go out on a good note. We all have to go and practice with energy and have to be full of energy come Sunday.”

 

TAHIR WHITEHEAD

Linebacker

What do you think went wrong today?

        “We didn’t capitalize. We didn’t play the greatest ball today.”

 

It seems like you weren’t able to get stops late in the game ...

        “We got a few penalties late in the game and those made a huge difference. They just kind of bled us out. They were running well in the end. That’s credit to them, but I believe we could’ve played better ball.”

 

What’s the mood in the locker room after the loss?

        “We know we could’ve played better but we didn’t do enough to get it done.”

 

Does it mean more knowing you were eliminated from playoff contentions?

        “There’s a lot of mental pride in this locker room. The season isn’t over. We still have one more game and we have to go out there and make it happen.”

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