Initial Comments ...
"That is a disappointing way to lose a football game, (after) we get back and get the lead and so forth. We had some good things throughout the day, but not enough to win the football game throughout. When we get depleted, we have to step up and get to the next guy, and the next guy has to make a play. That was a great job by the offense of going down the field and giving us the lead after the field goal. But we have to figure out a way to stop the (Steelers') offense and win the football game."
What was your thinking about the defensive call on the go-ahead touchdown?
"We are not going to second-guess anything. They made a play and we didn't."
What is it going to be like to get this team together after a loss like this?
"We'll be fine. We'll be ready to go."
Do you expect the league to take a look at Vontaze Burfict's hit on Antonio Brown?
"I don't know what play you are talking about. There were a lot of plays out there."
The one where he hit with his elbow ...
"Again, there are a lot of plays out there, and the league looks at every play."
Fans are frustrated by these losses to the Steelers. How frustrated are you?
"It's frustrating to lose games at home, especially division games. We lost this one today. We just have to rebound back. We don't get the chance to whine about it or whatever, we just have to get ready to go. That's what we have to do as a football team. It's unfortunate we lost the game today, but we have another one (Sunday) night in Kansas City, and we have to get ready for that one."
Do you take any consolation in the offense doing what they had to do, and getting the go-ahead TD late in the fourth quarter?
"It's a 60-minute football game. It's three phases, and one has to win it. The offense drove the ball twice before halftime and came up with scores, which were big in the football game. But we have to figure out a way at the end of the football game to make a stop. Third down-situations, whatever it was, we have to find a way to get it stopped. We had some new guys in there, we were depleted a little bit, and everybody has to get on the same page. We just have to stay true through it and have great eyes, and execute the calls."
When you say 'Get on the same page,' do you think some of the defensive players were confused? It looked like on a couple plays, they didn't know where to line up ...
"To make it kind of a general statement, that all time it's a part of playing offense and defense. We all have to stay on the sam page and see it through the eyes all the time."
Was there even a chance Tony McRae got picked on the go-ahead touchdown?
"I can't tell you. The emphasis on the play is to rub the guy at the line of scrimmage. Whether or not it happened on that play, I'm not sure."
On the last drive, were you thinking about the clock?
"You can look at it now and say we could have taken up more time, but I don't think teams will think about it in real time. It's unfortunate we left too much time. Ben's been good in that situation for years, and we weren't able to get it done."
What clicked for the offense on the drive?
"We just made the plays. A.J. Green had a big play. A couple of guys made some big catches. Tyler Boyd made a few. At the end of the day, guys were able to make plays, and we were able to punch it in when we got down there."
Despite all the drops earlier in the game, you kept feeding the receivers. What is your thought process behind that?
"You keep putting it where you need to. It was wet out there, but you can't make that an excuse. Our guys know they have to make the play. We responded well. As the game went on, we didn't have that issue."
Does the loss sting more because it's Pittsburgh?
"It stings only because it's in the division. It could have been anybody out there. ... We had a chance to take another step up. It's tough to lose this way, though."
Is this the most confidence you've had in an offense in your career?
"We feel really good about what we've been able to do. When we need plays, we go out and get it done. We just left some out there today."
Tyler Boyd continues to impress. What does he do for the offense?
"He's been great all year. You have A.J. on the other side, getting a lot of attention. Now Tyler gets a lot of attention too now. But he's still making plays. It's been great for him, he's playing with a lot of confidence."
You had to throw the ball a lot. Was Pittsburgh forcing that, by focusing on stopping the run?
"I think it's more how we went into it. There's' different looks that you're given. It's the way things were getting called."
What do you think of the way C.J. Uzomah has played?
"He's been great. Ever since he's been here, C.J. has been solid and does everything you ask him to do. He's done a great job and is a really good player."
Does the offense miss being able to line up multiple tight ends?
"Injuries are part of the game. It's unfortunate they've come at a physically demanding position. We are down a few tight ends, but yeah, that was a good package for us. We just have to adapt and adjust."
Did you notice how many players on defense were hurt in the second half?
"That's why you have depth on the team. We had several starters out at the same time. You never want that to be the case, but it was."
How do you get this Pittsburgh losing streak out of the team's head?
"Every year is different. This is just one game we lost to the Steelers this year."
There's frustration and then there's frustration — does this type of loss, especially to this team, frustrate you the way it frustrates the fans?
"It's frustrating, man. We put in a lot of work. The fans, they come to watch the game; we put in the work. We all know how hard we work, so if you think it's more frustrating for the fans, try to be out here (in our shoes), not seeing your family the whole week, (going to) the meetings and coming out with an 'L' after putting in all this work, putting in 10 hour days each day. You think it's frustrating being a fan? Come walk in our shoes for a week."
When Joe Mixon scored, there was a feeling you may have left Ben Roethlisberger too much time ...
"It's always tough. It's always tough when you leave a great quarterback like that (time). It could have been vice-versa. They made the plays. That's why that guy is a Hall of Fame quarterback. He's been through situations like this hundreds of times and nothing's too big for him."
There were four dropped passes in the first half; you had a couple which is unusual for you. Did you feel like there was a chance to get a lot more points that were missed?
"It's tough, for me. I think the first one, that could have kept the chains moving. The second one, I converted a third down but the first one, I feel like we definitely could have gotten some points out of that. I can't let that happen. (I'll) try to stick it through, but you can't have drops like that."
Despite the loss, the offense is playing incredible at the end of games, as was the case against Atlanta. How's the confidence you have in each other this year?
"We always have confidence. We know that we're a great offense. When it's clutch time, we make the plays. Nobody out there flinched one time. Even when things weren't going our way, we continued to fight for each other and that's one thing we do. We play for each other."
Tyler Boyd said he still feels like the Bengals are the better team; do you still feel that way after a loss like this?
"Of course. Like I said, we had some errors. Like I said, I had two drops that really cost us some points I feel like, especially the first one. I've got to do better on my end, I've got to do a better job. Andy threw a great ball so I've got to make those plays."
Do you think you guys left too much time for the Steelers to go down the field and score even though you were focused on offense on scoring yourselves to take the lead?
"We left enough time on there for them to go down and score. We know the personnel they have and we knew that it was up to our defense and it was going to be a tough stand, but you know, at the end of the game, that's just part of the game. As a team, we lost as a team. There was no one unit or one play (that was responsible). It was as a team."
It looked like the previous games' fourth quarter magic was alive and well until the end of the game. It was an unbelievable drive to pick it up and score, right?
"Yeah it is. We're built for those moments. We train hard for those moments and practice our tails off for those moments and when the time comes, we've got to go execute and we were able to drive down the field and go execute. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough though."
You and punter Kevin Huber had big games for the special teams unit between his kicks and your returns ...
"Yeah. We were really looking ourselves in the mirror the last couple of weeks special teams-wise and we've had a lot of minus plays, you could say, and this week we really put a focus on it and really hammered down the details and were able to be a positive part of this team."
How frustrating was today with guys going down left and right? Was it hard to communicate with new guys playing with each other during a game situation?
"We practice with different groups all the time, so communication was fine; it's just not making the plays. It's never good to see someone go down because first and foremost, that's your teammate, that's your friend. You don't want him to be injured. It sucks. But besides that, too, there are guys who are out there who are not starters (and starters) do have more time, more reps (and are used to) more time working together, so the communication together is sound and everyone just kind of feeds off each other."
Did you see the hold that was called for a penalty on Dre Kirkpatrick on the Steelers game-winning drive?
"Yeah, I was over-the-top right there (on that play) and I don't feel that was a hold. I don't think it was at all. They were just kind of running into each other. Sometimes you've got take it out of the refs' hands."
As the offense was driving for the Bengals for the go-ahead score, were you watching the clock hoping the Steelers would have as little time as possible?
"First and foremost, you hope (your team) scores. That's going to put you in position to win the game. They did their job. Ideally, there'd be less time on the clock but it's up to the defense to make a stop."
Did you think Roethlisberger recognized the Bengals defense on that touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for the deciding score?
"I think he knew just how we were lined up; I mean, everyone was right there in front of him and that's how we were lined up on a few of our goal line plays. He'd seen it a couple times (today) already."
Images from week six as the Bengals host the Steelers in an AFC North showdown.
Can you put into words your emotions after a game like that?
"I can't really explain. I'm just very upset. We had a great game all around, I felt like. I felt like we should have pulled it out. The offense, we did a great job. It was a tough game. We'll be back next weekend. We're going to get the win."
When you want to beat a team this bad that you haven't beaten at home, how much more frustrating is it for this team and for you, being from Pittsburgh?
"Regardless I hate losing. I don't like to lose regardless of who the opponent was. We all want the win, especially me. We've got more opportunities and we'll see them down the road."
Doing what the Steelers like to do, were they playing any head games out there?
"Not too much. I felt like they played clean most of the plays. It was a hard fought game. We expect these games every time we get to play them. It's real fun going out there and challenging those guys and going out there and competing against them. It was a tough game."
What did you think of that defensive holding call at the line of scrimmage?
"Trash. I don't care if they fine me. It was trash. Come on man, it was a critical situation."
You play this team so many times. Is it one of those things where it just stings that much more when you lose to the Steelers?
"We're better than them — they're not better than us. They got the win, we got the loss but they ain't better than us."
Is there a reason why these losses to the Steelers keep happening?
"I don't know what it is. I've got to watch film."
You had a good day today ...
"It doesn't matter. We lost."
Do you feel that Tony McRae got picked on that touchdown play at the end?
"We lost. I don't think he got picked — I seen it. We lost."
What happened on the touchdown to Antonio Brown?
"They picked the nickel guy. It was pretty much like a screen play. It was Cover 0."
It was a battle out there with some guys going down ...
"It was a physical game. We expect that coming into it. Obviously, we didn't expect anybody to get hurt but that's part of this game. You've got to adjust to it. One guy gets hurt — a starter or backup — and you've just got to adjust to it and keep playing football."
You came with the blitz on that play (touchdown to Brown). Was that to try and push them out of field goal range since they were already in it?
"I'm not sure. I don't make the calls. I'm pretty sure we thought they were going to run it and they ran a good play against us."
So you were anticipating the run?
"Right. We were in Cover 0 so there was no guy to close it. Everyone had their eyes on their man. It was a good play."
What did you think with 1:18 left. Ben Roethlisberger has a reputation. What were you trying to do when he's got the ball?
"The same thing that you guys (media) thought — stop them. Keep them out of field goal range and win the football game. That's my thought. There's no thought of doubt that they're going to score, that they're going to drive on us. Stop them and end the game. We didn't execute that and that's what hurts."
Was it emotional for you to be up with 1:18 left and to experience a loss?
"Our offense had the ball and I was sitting on the sideline and we were like our offense is going to score. They've been doing it all year. When they scored we were ready. We knew they had three timeouts and were going to be in their regular offense. We knew it was going to be four downs, and we had to stop them. We got some good plays and they hit us on some good ones. They had the big catch and then they had the one play at the end when they scored the touchdown."
You've been through a number of these games. Was there any thought of here we go again against the Steelers?
"No. I really feel like this is a different team. Even in the good times we're not getting too high and in the rough times we're not getting too low. We know it's a team game. Sometimes the offense isn't doing as well and the defense is picking up, sometimes when we're (defense) not doing so well, special teams picks us up, so we trust each other. We came a little short. I like to think we ran out of time. It was a good fight and we're going to get better from this."
I know they all count the same but is it worse to lose to the Steelers?
"The worst part of this game is we don't ever want to lose at home. It's a division team that you know well. Cleveland, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, you know these guys well and they also know you well. Just to let them escape out of here and not get the win, that really hurts me. I think about all the things that I didn't do well, we didn't do well as a defense, and as a team."