Bengals Postgame Quotes: Week 5 vs. Miami

Marvin Lewis

MARVIN LEWIS

Head coach

Initial Comments ...

"Well, that was exactly the way we drew it up (laughs)."

Are you losing your voice after today's game?

"It's a good to win a football game when you don't play your best. We had some opportunities (and then had) points taken off the board with that blocked field goal. And there was the punt return for a touchdown. So there's a lot of things we get to go back to work and grind at and coach. We'll coach our tails off this week to be better. There's a lot of things to coach to be better.

"But the one thing they do is just keep playing, and you can't take that away from them. They just keep playing. They trust each other — 'Just settle it down, do your thing, get your eyes where they belong, and run with your feet and your brain.' But obviously, they made plays down the stretch when it counted."

When did you finally feel good about this game?

"I think after Sam (Hubbard's) touchdown — that pretty much meant we win. But it's a grind. If it wasn't two-score (lead), we

probably would be a little more aggressive there on that last series on offense to give us a chance to pick up the first down, but with the two scores, we played it safe."

One side of you has to be ecstatic this team keeps finding ways to win games, while the coaching side of you has to be driven crazy by some of the mistakes ...

"That's unfortunately part of where we are. There's enough playmakers, there's enough fine players in that room, and we've got some young guys, old guys, whatever that are making plays, and that's what counts. We've just got to keep pressing forward with that. This season is 16 games, it's not three. And now we're down to (11 games) left. We've got an 11-game regular season left, and that's what matters — just playing it one team (at a time). So we've got a chance they'll be the best team (they can be) the next 11 weeks. When we play games, that's what's important."

Was that Michael Johnson's first career TD?

"I think so — as far as I know, or as far as I can remember, I should say. I've been at every game he's been at here. Both (picksixes) were huge plays in the football game, but we've got to shore up our offensive group. We didn't protect our quarterback today as well as we have been. Defensively, we had a good rush throughout (the game) and are doing a good job. But we've got to keep grinding and being right. We've got a lot of correction to make off this tape. That's what it's all about."

Did you get nervous on Andy Dalton's TD pass to Joe Mixon? That play looked like it could have gone a lot of different ways ..

"Yeah, it did. But again, Joe came back to the ball and made a nice play — an athletic play — on the football, which is great."

Is that something you like on offense, trying to make the play or ...

"If we didn't win the game, you'd be asking me why didn't we win the game there (laughs). I'm glad we won so I don't have to answer that question. We had one too few runs (today)."

Is there a noticeable difference with this team versus the one you had last year, given how young they are and how they act?

"No. I think there's a youthfulness, yes, that they only know one way. From the Mark Waltons to the Sam Hubbards to Jessie (Bateses) — look at the plays these guys made down the stretch today, and they're rookies. We've got to feel really good about that. But at the same time, we've got some (mistakes) and some other things by rookies, too. We've got to eliminate those. We've got to shore this up, because you don't get the chances we got today (every game); we gave them a lot of plays in the first half. We came back in the second half and were able to eliminate most of them. But we have a penalty in the kicking game that sets us back. We allowed the return for the touchdown. Those things are huge plays. We can't do those things — we get the field goal tipped, the punt protection (had flaws). We get pushed back into the punter there, and they get a hit on Kevin (Huber). There are a lot of things to correct."

They lost their starting left tackle in Laremy Tunsil in the fourth quarter. How much of an impact did that have?

"I think it makes a difference when you lose a tackle at this level of football like that, and they didn't seem to want to help the guy when they left the guy out there. Our guys did a nice job, whether it was pressure or holding or whatever. We had blood in the water, and we went after it."

ANDY DALTON

Quarterback

Down by three scores, win by two — that's rare in the NFL. It's only happened eight or nine times in franchise history. How big is that?

"It's huge. To be sitting here 4-1, and not 3-2, is big. I kept saying out there, 'It's a crazy game, you never know how it's going to unfold. You never know what's going to happen.' We felt like we were in it the whole time, we just needed a spark, we needed to make a play. And then (we had) the touchdown to Joe (Mixon). The two defensive scores were huge. Whatever it takes to win — that's definitely what happened today."

The defense had a big stop on third-and-one in the third quarter, where it forced Ryan Tannehill into an errant deep throw. You guys came out and scored on the ensuing possession. It seemed from that play forward, you guys really turned it around. Was there any conversation about that at the time?

"I felt like the momentum shifted in the fourth quarter. For us to score 24 points in that fourth quarter, it's huge. If you look at thefinal score, you're not going to know the tale of the game. That's the biggest thing: If you can win the fourth quarter, you give yourself a chance."

When the ball left your hand on the touchdown to Joe Mixon, as you're watching that, what were your thoughts at that point?

"I thought I had enough to get it there, and I felt like if I could just get it out there, he could come down with it. As soon as I let go, I got hit, and I wanted to make sure it got there. Fortunately, it did."

What are your thoughts on a running back being able to make that kind of adjustment on a ball?

"That's what Joe (Mixon) can do. Our backs are great because they're not just runners, they can catch the ball. Joe's really talented with that, and the thing that's nice about Joe is he's a bigger guy. When you get a guy like that with hands, it's definitely a threat out there."

You had Tyler Kroft open in the back corner of the end zone, but you were pressured. It seemed like you were going for it and trying to get it there, but the pressure made it tough for you to get it there ...

"Yeah, that one was more of a throw-away. If I would have had just a second longer, I would have been able to get it there, bu they were on me. Yeah, it was close. If I had just had a little bit more time, we would have had that one."

So you wanted to make sure you didn't put it in jeopardy and make sure if he wasn't going to catch it then nobody could catch it?

"Yeah. We had (likely) points down there (in FG range), so you don't want to take a chance that's going to hurt you. Obviously I did that in the first drive of the game and had the turnover. But yeah, at that point in the game the field goal was huge."

They seemed to be getting really handsy with A.J. Green on that first drive. It seemed like they were grabbing him more than five yards down the field and it wasn't being called. Is there some accuracy there?

"There's a couple out there we thought could have been called, but they weren't."

Speaking about A.J., he just broke the all-time record here 100-yard receiving games, with 32. What's it mean to have that kind of security blanket out wide?

"Yeah, A.J. (Green), it's what he does. He's had so many big games here and so, it's one of the records he's going to have. I feel like he's going to have a ton of records here. I've just got to allow him to break these records. He's so good, and I'm very thankful that I've had him my whole career."

How important is it to have 23 come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter? You just set the record here. How important is that?

"Like I said — finding ways to win the game. This one is hard to put on me, the way the defense played at the end. I mean, it's doing whatever it takes to win, and if you can do it in the fourth quarter it's huge."

What was it like in the huddle when you were down three scores? Was it like, 'Hey we've been here, maybe not to this extent, but we've been here, done that?' Once you've been there, does it get contagious to do it again?

"For sure. For us, at that point, we just needed something that was going to give us the momentum. We put drives together, and we just weren't finishing them. I think the touchdown to Joe gave us that spark, and I feel like the momentum shifted after that point."

MICHAEL JOHNSON

Defensive end

and

JOE MIXON

Halfback

and

SAM HUBBARD

Defensive end

Talk about your touchdown?

Johnson: "I had missed a sack, so I was like 'aw man', but I just kept playing hard. I don't really know what happened, I just saw the ball and it stuck. Thank God I was able to hold on to it, and waddle into the end zone."

Take us through your touchdown?

Hubbard: "It's really a credit to Carlos Dunlap. He was chasing the quarterback down and hit the ball right into my lap. All I had to do was run straight."

The defensive line really improved its pass rush in the second half. How?

Hubbard: "It really started with Geno (Atkins) setting the tone, getting after them early and Coach (Jacob) Burney telling us to relax and have some fun and do what we do, and that is what we did in the second half."

Describe your touchdown catch?

Mixon: "Coach dialed up a play, we had the momentum and basically it was dialed up and we tried to pop it off, and that is exactly what happened."

If you have a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver, does it make it tough to handle the offense?

Mixon: "Our offense talks about converting on third down and doing the little things with nice, methodical drives and bringing energy. That is what we did today. We were down, but not out. We bent, but did not break. We came back, made it happened and got the W."

What is it about this team that keeps persevering?

Johnson: "We just keep believing and keep trusting what the coaches are telling us, and believe in our technique and play for each other. As long as we keep doing that, good things will happen."

Is the "never say die" attitude contagious?

Hubbard: "I think it's contagious. We have a lot of veteran guys, a lot of guys that have played a lot of football here, and all they want to do is win. They are leading the way, and the young guys are feeding off of them. Everybody is staying up, and playing for each other."

How is the knee?

Mixon: "Dr. Marc Galloway did a great job repairing the knee. The trainers did a great job putting me through rehab. Everything was great. I can't do anything but thank God that I am even on the field; to be able to come out here with my teammates, make things happen and come out of here with a win."

JOE MIXON

Halfback

What changed in the running game late?

"Sometimes teams are going to put eight people in the box, but at the same time, you have to work on it. The receivers will open the run game and we will open up the pass for them. They made a lot of big catches and the linemen were doing a heck of a job pushing on those guys. Third and fourth quarter is when everything shifted and we got the job done."

The way you guys have won games the last two weeks, how exciting is it?

"It's great. We are just looking forward to putting (a game) all the way together, all four quarters. We are either scoring every drive or stopping them every drive, whatever we have to do to be successful. The vibe over here is crazy, and I can't do anything but be proud of my teammates and coaches. They do a great job of preparing us all week. The players have to come out here and execute. We got off to a slow start today, but we finished."

A.J. GREEN

Wide receiver

Did today show that this team believes in itself?

"Of course. We handle things by blocking out all of the noise, and continuing to grind. Nobody gave us a chance when the season started. Why do they believe in us now? We're going to continue to keep playing, and keep playing for each other."

It's only October, but the way you guys are winning games, does it feel like something special is starting to build here?

"It feels great. Last year, we didn't win all of these close games. This team is different. We always preach about finishing games in the fourth quarter, and that's what we're doing."

Today, you passed Chad Johnson for most career 100-yard games in team history. He tweeted a goat symbol to you. What does that mean to you to pass Chad?

"It's unbelievable, it's another humbling achievement. Chad was one of the best, and I'm just trying to live up to it."

Your reception on the final field goal drive to set up first-and-goal, can you remember what happened there?

"It was just another option route. It's hard to double me when I'm in the slot. Andy threw me a great ball."

It seems like Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke told them to play it physical. Were they more physical today than other teams?

"When I line up outside, they usually had a safety over the top. They tried to put a guy on me when I was in the slot, and I loved that. I can get off of that."

Was that where you were most of the day?

"It's where I made a lot of plays. They couldn't really double me there."

So they tried to knock you around a little bit?

"They tried to, but they didn't knock me around."

Was there a moment where you felt the momentum in the game swing?

"In the second half, when we drove down the field for the field goal for our first points. That was big. We just have to capitalize more in the red zone."

CARLOS DUNLAP

Defensive end

Going back to last season, this was the fifth time in seven games where you were down in the fourth quarter and won. Is there a belief right now that no matter how far you are behind, you are going to come back?

"We don't want to be behind. Our focus, no matter if we're behind or ahead, is on the next play, the next down, and the next series, in that order. We don't worry about what the scoreboard says, because it can change fast. We've been on the better side of it these past few games, but we just have to keep that single focus, and continue to win."

On the play where DE Sam Hubbard intercepted Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill's pass, did you try to make a play on the ball, or did you just swipe at anything you could get to?

"I was going for the ball. I don't want him to be able to throw it. He was trying to make a big play for his team. I made it that far and I wanted to finish the play off."

It felt like the defensive line maybe carried this team today ...

"We have a lot of depth here, which helped in a tough game like this. The cornerbacks gave us an opportunity to get after the quarterback. As you saw, Tannehill didn't have a target open, and I was able to come around the edge and get the strip. Then Sam was able to intercept the ball. (On the first interception), M.J. (Michael Johnson) never gave up on the play, and he was able to finish it off in the end zone. It was amazing."

It's only October, but the way you guys are winning games, is this starting to feel special?

"It doesn't matter. We have to focus on the next play and the next game. We're not worried about what's coming down the road. Whoever our next opponent is, we're going to focus on them and what we need to do to beat them. We'll keep track of things at the end (of the season)."

ALEX ERICKSON

Wide receiver

Marvin has these sayings which you see on some of these t-shirts. One is strain to finish, does that seem to resonate with the team right now?

"That's just the way this league is. It comes down to so many final scores and one possession games. These last couple of weeks have been a testament to that, in the way we've been able to wear teams out and finish games. Scoring in the fourth quarter is big, and we were able to do that again today. It obviously paid off."

It seemed to fire the guys up when Dolphins LB Martrell Spaight was called for unnecessary roughness on your punt return in the third quarter. The score was 17-3 at that point. Did you sense that after that play?

"Yeah, I think it was one of those plays that gave us energy and also gave us 15 yards. Especially the way we were struggling to get anything going. The additional yards (from the penalty) gave us the opportunity to call our normal plays. Anytime you get 15 extra yards, you'll take it."

JESSIE BATES

Safety

What is this team feeling to have a comeback like this, two weeks in a row? What's the word to describe what you guys are feeling right now?

"There's more than one word to describe the feeling we have. If we continue to control the things we can, we'll be just fine."

It's only October, five weeks into the season. With the way you guys are winning games, is this something that is starting to feel special?

"Once you keep winning, it's a snowball effect with the energy in the locker room. Whether we are at home or on the road, if we continue to stay poised, we'll be fine."

The word I kept hearing last week in Atlanta was belief. This team believes that they can come back and win games like this. Is this game more proof of that?

"Yeah, we were down 14-0 after giving up the punt return touchdown right before halftime. We could've decided to shut it down after that, but we came out, battled and were able to come out with a win."

Are you in on punt coverage at all? Do you remember the penalty on Martrell Spaight in the third quarter? That seemed like when things really changed ...

"I was sitting on the sideline, as we were making defensive adjustments, so I didn't really see the play."

DRE KIRKPATRICK

Cornerback

There was a play early in the third quarter where Miami was backed up near the goal line. It looked like LB Vontaze Burfict was telling you and CB William Jackson that they were going deep, and they did go deep. You were called for illegal contact on the play ...

"Yeah."

Does that personify what Burfict brings to this defense?

"He brings knowledge, he knows this game. I can't just pick one person. We all spend so much time together in the film room and outside of the coaches (offices). We feel like we have a great team. Vontaze brings attitude and this year, he's bringing discipline. He just goes back to the huddle, and that's what we need. At the end of the day, we feed off of his energy."

The story this season seems to be how every win has required all four quarters. What does this say about the grind and belief in this team?

"I come from Alabama, and that's something which was preached to us. At the end of the day, it's a four quarter game. When you looked at them when they had the lead, they acted as if they had the game won. I told our guys 'this isn't over'. We rallied together and pulled it off in the end."

How big was the play by the defensive line today?

"It's crazy (laughs). I told Michael that he messed up my sack. You can't even imagine having two defensive ends having a pick six. My hat goes off to those guys. We needed someone to step up. The defensive line stepped up and Jessie (Bates) closed it out."

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