Initial Comments ...
"It's a good win for the football team, a great grind the third and fourth quarter. That's what it's all about. They kept coming back, and our good players showed up today. We overcame bad plays, made better plays, and that's what we have to have all the time. It's what you have to do in the NFL week after week. You're going to play games where you're down and have to a find a way to fight your way back in. When the ball doesn't bounce your way, you've got to make it bounce your way and get back after it, and we did today. So, it's a good win."
The final numbers for A.J. Green are kind of A.J-esque, but in between there were balls off his hands that were intercepted, along with a fumble ...
"It was a wet day out there. The thing when he made that play — whenever it was, at the beginning of the fourth quarter or end of the third — he went right back in that game with that look on his face, and that was great to see. 'It's my game, let's go.' That was big-time."
When you look at this team the last few weeks, are you proud of them for fighting through this? What's the overall feeling?
"I just told them I was proud of them for how they kept fighting. They just kept fighting. There were some plays that weren't quite our best today, but we overcame them and kept fighting and made the next play, and they hung in there together. It took literally all three phases, all day long."
Does that say a lot about this team? They couldn't overcome those things a few weeks ago ...
"We're growing. And we've got to keep growing. As we know, we've got to fight our way back into the race, and it's only going to be done one step at a time, one ball game at a time."
You had guys going down with injuries left and right. Andy Dalton got dinged up as well. How bad was it, and did you think about pulling him?
"He really fought through it and did a good job. He scrambled for five yards, kept the thing moving. He overcame some pain and stayed in the football game."
Vontaze Burfict played well today. What conversations did you have with him throughout the week?
"We don't have enough time in here for my conversations with Vontaze. Let's just play."
It seemed like at the end of the game though, you guys had a moment on the sideline ...
"We did have a moment — we have a lot of moments.
A joyful moment?
"It was good. He told me I had to enjoy it."
Did you say anything to A.J Green today after some of his struggles?
"I asked him, 'You okay?' And he said, 'I am coach.' And I said, 'Then go win the game.'"
Going to what you said with Vontaze Burfict, do you have trouble enjoying wins as a coach?
"We don't remember the wins. Unfortunately, we remember the other side of them too much."
How long do you actually give yourself to enjoy a win?
"We've got a little longer this time. It doesn't last very long, generally. They fought today, and we knew it was a football game we had to win. Last year when we played these guys, we lost the football game, and it was kind of pivotal to how our season went. We've got to turn it around and keep going from here."
Your defense had six sacks today, and a lot of them were coverage sacks. Speak to how well Shawn Williams and Darqueze Dennard played today ...
"Williams had the play there in end-zone at the end, and it was literally the same play that he didn't make last week. So that's big growth. He had a couple plays today he'll continue to grow from. He's such a talented young player for us, and the only way he's going to get better is to play snap after snap in live football. Today, he had to rise up, and he did that. Darqueze has just answered the bell every time we've had a need. These guys are deserving — that's why we have them here. I'm really happy with how they played today."
The bye week is coming up. What areas of growth do you want to see with the team?
"We've got to grow in a lot of areas. We'll take a good look at the things we do, and we've got to counter some of the tendencies we may be showing and continue to get better. They know what's on the line. You spend nine weeks of the offseason, and then five or six weeks of training camp, and now we're five games into the season, and we don't want to waste this away. You're at a point right now where you can keep controlling your destiny and fight your way back into the race and do special things. And that's what it is. We didn't start out as well as we'd like, but we earned it. And now we're earning our way out of it."
Do you think the way they played today will serve this team well?
"It served us well today. I wish there was some carry-over. I hope there is. Again, as I told them at halftime, we were ahead at Green Bay at half, this time we ended up being tied, and now we've got to go win a game in the third and fourth quarter. And they did that today. The last two seasons, we haven't done that. We were very good at that for a long time, and we haven't done that. We took a step in the right direction today and we've got to keep building upon it."
Is it perfect timing for a bye week?
"No, I wish we were still playing. We got some guys banged up today, so we may need a little time."
Was it your ankle or your foot that was hurt?
"It was my ankle. I'm fine. I'll be all right."
What was going through your mind the first couple minutes after the injury?
"I wanted to keep trying to walk it off, and hopefully it would start feeling better. And it did. Obviously, I got it taped up and was good to go."
Was it stepped on, or did you roll it?
"I think I rolled it. I don't remember exactly what it was."
Were you expecting to throw it this much, with the weather the way it was?
"It's one of those things that depends on how the game is going, and we felt like we were getting in a rhythm and were able to get in some chunk plays. Obviously, when you see that it's raining, you go in thinking we're not going to throw it a ton. But at this point, we're doing whatever it takes to win."
A.J. Green said he's never had a day quite like this, with the ups and downs. How was his performance?
"I thought it was big. It's one of those things that, regardless of what happened, we were still going to give him the ball. I told him the good thing about it is that it doesn't end up on his stats. It ends up on mine. So I think he'll be all right."
When did you tell him that?
"We talked about it after the game."
Did you say anything during the game after the struggles?
"We're always talking during the game. Let him handle it the way he handles it, and I'll say a little something. Obviously it worked. He made a big catch at the end of the game that helped us win this one."
How did he handle it? Did his demeanor change at all?
"No, it didn't. Obviously he knew that he made the mistake. He can't let that bother him, and he handled it the right way. He went out and kept playing."
Can you walk through your perspective of that 47-yard throw toward the end of the game?
"It was big. They blitzed, and so they left A.J. one-on-one. I just gave him a chance, and he made a great play. Obviously it was a big play in the game."
You look like you made your mind up right away on that play ...
"Yeah, any time you can get A.J. one-on-one is a good thing."
Marvin said it's been a while since you won a game like this in the fourth quarter. I imagine this feels good to put it together on both sides of the ball ...
"We've been close this year in fourth quarters. We weren't able to finish the Green Bay game. For us to win it in the fourth quarter was big, and it shows the growth of this team. We made the plays we needed to at the times we needed to."
Is winning in the fourth quarter something a team has to learn to do?
"It's the mentality that you have to go in and make your best plays at the end of the game, especially when it's close. Not only that, but we were able to run the ball out at the end, which was big. You always want to finish by taking a knee. I thought there were different areas where we got better today."
Did the offense need to change at all when you rolled your ankle?
"No, we stuck with our plan. I told him I was fine, so we stuck with what we were doing."
Was the plan to keep hitting the soft spots of the zone?
"It's a really good defense, and they've been playing really well this year. We were trying to attack different areas, and that last drive guys made plays. Brandon LaFell made big plays. Tyler Kroft made a big catch. I thought it was a great way to finish this game."
Do you feel like your season re-started with the Packers game?
"Kind of. We spotted everybody else a couple of games, and we weren't playing the way we wanted to. In the Green Bay game, we got back to playing the way we knew we could. Obviously we weren't able to finish it. We won two, now and now we're going to try and find a way to win the next one with Pittsburgh."
Does the game plan change at all with the weather the way it was today?
"The weather didn't change anything. I don't know how many times we threw it, but it didn't back us away from doing that."
Was the ball pretty slick?
"Yeah, during certain parts of the game it was raining a lot more than it was toward the end. There were times when the ball was really wet, and times when it wasn't. As the game went on, it kind of fluctuated."
Was there anything you said to Cethan Carter after the drop at the end of the game?
"Obviously you can laugh about it after a win. It was just a missed opportunity there."
Did the ball ever slip out of your hand today?
"There may have been one or two. I felt like I had good control over it."
Does the team feel rejuvenated after these last two wins?
"Yeah, we're getting better and playing closer to the way we know we can play. We have to keep it rolling and use it as momentum."
Is it an overstatement to say you saved the season with a win today?
"Obviously 2-3 is way better than 1-4. If you look at the way this division is, it's still wide open. There's a lot of football left to be played."
There were a lot of injuries today. Is the bye week coming at an opportune time?
"Yeah, I think so. We'll have an opportunity to look at ourselves this week and see areas that we need to get better, and we'll get some guys healed up."
Are you pretty pleased with the play calling after three games with Bill Lazor?
"He's done a great job. Even though we haven't run the ball the way we wanted to, we're still trying, and we're still relying on it. For us, that's what this week will be for, to see what we need to do better and help improve the run game."
We heard that the defense was practicing to the song "Closing Time" by Semi Sonic this week. Did Bill Lazor have the offense playing to any songs?
"No, he didn't. I'm glad (defensive coordinator Paul Guenther) knew that song (laughs)."
Does that seem like a song that Paul Guenther would listen to?
"I guess so, if he chose to play it. I guess that's his taste in music."
Do you know the song?
Are you surprised he knew it?
"No, I'm not surprised he knew it. I'm sure some of the other guys may not have heard it before."
Does that happen to you a lot now?
"It just kind of depends. Everybody has a different taste in music (laughs)."
How do you feel Joe Mixon played today down the stretch?
"Obviously we got our first rushing touchdown this week, which is big. I wish it wouldn't have taken us five weeks, but we got one in there. He's done a great job, and he's been big for us at the end of these games. "
What does it mean to the team to hear the chanting and the enthusiasm from the fans?
"It's fun at the end of games when the fans are into it and chanting 'Who Dey.' Let's keep them chanting."
How was it having A.J. Green line up in the backfield with you a few times?
"It hasn't happened often, but we're just trying to find advantages in different ways. We'll see what else we can do."
Was there anybody that stood out to you on Buffalo's defense?
"Like I said, they have a good defense. They've been playing really well. It was a close game and they played hard."
What is your mental process when you have an up-and-down game like today?
"I don't get too high or too low, I try to stay the course and let my preparation take over. I have no doubt I'll make a play. I almost gave them one today though. It felt great to get a team win. The offensive line played their butt off and Andy (QB Andy Dalton) played through an injury to play great. The defense was unbelievable. Joe Mixon, when his number was called, was unbelievable too."
What is it about Buffalo's back end that makes them so good?
"They're very disciplined. They don't give up big plays. We had to hit them every time we got one dialed up. We made them today."
When they play single coverage, you know they're in trouble against you ...
"With them, they didn't follow anybody. Once we saw that, it was great. A lot of guys stepped up today."
Were the catching issues related to the dampness of the football?
"No, I don't make excuses. They're just drops. I'm not going to blame the rain. My job is to catch the ball. I have to do better with that and focus more."
How big is the difference between being 2-3 and 1-4?
"It's great. I wish we could have erased the first two games, because that's not us. We're trying to get on the road and get hot at the right time."
Your first sack was a clever move ...
"With a scrambling quarterback, we were just trying to contain him. He does a good job of getting out (of the pocket). Geno Atkins did a good job taking the attention, and I was able to fall into it. You hope for those chances, so when you get them, you have to make the most of them."
You suffocated their offense in the second half ...
"Rushing and coverage go together. Any time we can get them at third-and-(long)-distance and they have to throw, we feel very confident in who we have up front and in the back end. We had guys making plays all over the field. We can still be better, but it's encouraging to see us like that today."
It was a massive play to hold them after the turnover and short field position ...
"Sometimes it will be like that. The ball is bouncing around everywhere. You want to hold them to as little as possible. We're going to look at the tape and see how we can get even better."
You lost the turnover battle but won the game. That's pretty rare ...
"We kept fighting and taking it one play and series at a time. We were focused on doing our job and controlling what we can control. When we do that, good things tend to happen."
Andy Dalton fought through an injury today. What does that do to the rest of the team?
"Andy's a leader. He did a great job gutting it out. They moved the ball and got some big first downs. I was proud of the way they handled the situation toward the end of the game. If they don't do that, who knows what would have happened."
What did the ref say when the penalty flag was thrown?
"I get it. I thought it was a close call, but maybe I'm wrong. I shouldn't have fallen on him."
"Yeah. Lesson learned."
You recovered to log a sack that closed the door on the game. Walk us through that ...
"I had been working all game on (making him) stay in the pocket. He wasn't stepping back too far. I was trying to bend and contour my hips around the edge. I got my hands on him and was able to get around the corner."
You're getting chipped now, with other players helping out the offensive linemen who block you. But that leaves other players like Geno Atkins in one-on-one situations ...
"Everybody on the defensive line gets chipped. I learned from the Texans game that you just have to keep working through it. Coach Burney (Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney) told me great rushers know how to rush, even with the chip. That's what I've been working on."
Walk us through your touchdown run ...
"The tight end made a great block. I bounced out and saw the corner was out of place and tried to set the linebackers up."
Were you happier about that or the first-down run that put the game away?
"I'm happy about the win. I don't care about any of that."
This game today was a hard-fought slugfest ...
"We had to run the ball. I felt like the line did a great job of helping us. Our backs were finishing. Giovani Bernard had a couple of clutch downs. Andy toughed it out, and we were able to hold on to the win."
It was an up-and-down game for A.J. Green. Did you figure he would turn it around?
"I don't worry about him."
How will you celebrate this win tonight?
"With my family. I'll go home and get a home-cooked meal."
There' a big difference between a 2-3 record and 1-4 ...
"Every win is big. You just want to keep chipping away one week at a time. We'll go back to practice next week and get ready for Pittsburgh. We'll enjoy this win today, and tomorrow we'll get back to work."
What about the performance of the Cincinnati defense today?
"We did good. We did good all week. We knew what we had against us. We had to stop (Buffalo running back LeSean) McCoy and (Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor). We did a good job of talking about the scheme, and who had the quarterback and stuff like that."
Tyrod Taylor is elusive. You guys sacked him six times and hit him eight more times. How did you do it?
"With the weather, with it raining, we figured we would stop the run and try to make them one—dimensional by throwing the ball. They made a great throw in the end zone, and I don't think he could make that throw twice. He made a great throw."
How significant were the sudden change situations where you held them to three points or nothing at all?
"I don't know how many turnovers we had, but if they would have scored on every turnover — I don't think we would have been in the game. We cherish turnovers. Even if they are in the red zone, we cherish them, and I think it lights a fire in us too. You have to be ready for a sudden change as a defense. You can't be sitting on the sidelines thinking we are going to score, we are going to score, we are going to score."
How about your numbers? You were spectacular in your second game back.
"That's good. I am more concerned about the win. At the end of the day, I could have 20 tackles and a loss, and everyone would want to talk about the 20 tackles. But you know I am here to help the team win."
It seemed like the end of the game, you and Marvin enjoyed a moment, and you told him to enjoy the game. Was that accurate?
"It was a laughing matter between me and Marvin. It was 1:20 left and I figured they weren't getting the ball back. I came over and chest bumped Marvin and he didn't show any excitement. I was like, 'Enjoy it.' That's two games in a row, and we get to go on the bye and get people healthy."
Two games in a row and now, one game back out of first place. How important was this game for you?
"Pittsburgh lost? Hell yeah. That's good, but at the end of the day, we have to worry about what is going on here. Happy they lost though."
Do you think this win kept the season alive?
"We were never dead. You just have to have faith. Come to work every day and keep everybody alive. You can't have down people in the locker room."
On sudden change situations ...
"We can only control what we can control as a defensive. (Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther) always preaches to us, no matter the situation, keep fighting and take pride in whatever the situation thrown at you. If there is a turnover, and they are almost guaranteed three (points), then hold them to three. We have to be stingy, and that is something that he has preached since he has become defensive coordinator."
How satisfying was it to finish out this win with the interception?
"It was definitely satisfying. One time he played this song 'Closing Time' for us and said, 'We need closers.' He played that song for us in the defensive room, and he always said we need closers as a defense. You want to be like, 'we want to close out this game.' In this league, games are always close — within a touchdown or a field goal, so you have to take pride in the defense and close it out."
How important was it to get back to two and three and get back in the race?
"Two and three is still below .500, but it's a lot better than one and four. That is a big hole to try to dig yourself out of, especially in a division that is playing well. Fortunately, the Steelers lost today and hopefully the Ravens lose again. There is still a lot of time left, but you don't want to be one and four. That is a huge gap. We would still be out there fighting, but you know there is a lot of making up to do."
Would it be an overstatement to say you saved the season today?
"Overstatement. Nothing was won or lost on one game today. The season itself, wasn't won or lost today. We won some momentum, if you want to say that. We won some momentum going into the bye, which is a positive. But, we didn't win anything today beside a game."
You guys had a lot of coverage sacks today. Is that something as a unit you take pride in?
"Glad you noticed. A lot of people don't notice that. Our job is to cover, and with the type of defensive line we have, we know if we stay in coverage for just a little bit — they are going to get back there. It makes our job easier, and we try to make their job easier by allowing the quarterback to hold the ball. It's a team effort type of thing on defense. They feed off of us, and we feed off of them."
You had some backup cornerbacks in the game. You had people going down left and right ...
"Honestly, it may sound corny as hell, but I don't feel like — the way the season is going — that we have any backups. If you have been paying attention, we rotate. No packages, we just rotate. Every guy that was in there today has played. Obviously, you don't want to lose two guys like Dre (cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick) and Pac (cornerback Adam Jones) as key players, x—factors and big—time players, but everyone that played has played in key situations this year."
To have the long drive, get the field goal and waste the clock. You would rather have the touchdown, but that was a big drive?
"That's always huge. That was one of our things, to be able to do that in the fourth quarter. Being able to put drives together; being able to put long drives together in the fourth quarter to put the game away always helps. We did that and we got the W."
Is there something young guys have to learn; to put drives together to put the game away?
"It's just a mentality that everybody has to share together. We have to know that is our job; that is what we have to do. When it comes to the situation that happened today, we have to put it away — which we did."
BILLS POSTGAME QUOTES
OCT. 8, 2017
BUFFALO AT CINCINNATI
How much does it change the game plan when Charles Clay gets hurt early in the game?
"It's never easy to lose a player like that — like Charles — but you adjust. That's what you do. You adjust, and it's the next man up. Mostly, I think Nick (O'Leary) did some good things for us."
Do you regret not doing more to bolster your wide receiver corps before the season?
"I'm confident in these guys, I'm confident in these guys. I know where you're going with that, and I'm confident in these guys."
How can you be confident after what you saw today?
"Just keep working, keep working. That's what you do. Keep working, you learn from the tape, and that's what we've got to do. We've got to learn, and play better, and we've got to coach better. It's what we do."
What's stopping the passing attack from being successful right now?
"Let me look at the tape and get a better feel. Whether it's throwing, whether it's catching, there's protection, it's not just one area. We've got to get better."
This is a game that really looked like Tyrod Taylor was just hell bent to stay in the pocket and throw. When your receivers aren't winning, there are chances to run. Was there a concerted effort to keep him in the pocket?
"Just trying to take what the defense was giving us, and just make plays. We obviously didn't make enough plays. We had opportunities to make some plays, but we didn't make enough plays. We've got to take a hard look at the film and learn from it as coaches, as players, and use it to our advantage moving forward."
You've got to be a little bit sick after the punt return and you're down at the 12-yard line when the drive started and you don't get it in there. That was kind of a big play ...
"It was. We've got to cash in on those situations, and take advantage of field position. We won the field-position battle, and we didn't take advantage of it in certain situations. We can do a better job of that."
Did Cincinnati change anything defensively during the second half? You were moving the ball in the first half. You were five of 10 on third downs, and in the second half things sputtered for you guys. Did they change anything defensively?
"No, they played (well), solid defense. That's a good defense. We have to learn from it, and continue to improve on our end."
John Miller was inactive. What was behind that decision?
"Just looking at combinations. Just looking to find the best combination. You try to find out your team, and you don't at times know your full team until mid-October or late-October. So, when you're going to play in late November and December you've got your guys. We were just looking at a combination there with Vlad (Ducasse)."
Would you agree that your run game, outside the first game, really hasn't broken out and had one of those days that this running game is used to? If you don't run the ball, does that really put your offense behind the eight ball, given the receiver situation?
"I think it's true of any offense — if you become one dimensional, that's not good. We've got to make sure we can run the football, and run our style of offense. There have been times that we've done it, and there have been times we haven't. We've got to continue to grow and get better there."
Cordy Glenn was active today but Dion Dawkins got the start. Was that health related?
"Before what we did with Cordy was we brought him back, put him in the starting lineup, and we had some setbacks. Right now it's about taking a step. We felt a step was getting him in uniform, being the third tackle, warming up, getting his mind right about playing, and then we'll go from there."
Is he still the starting left tackle when he's healthy?
"We'll evaluate that moving forward."
Tre'Davious White was playing against a good guy today and he got beat twice. I guess you can't fault him because he played well between those two big plays. Do you think he learned a lesson today?
"I would hope we all did. Like I said, we've got to play better, we've got to coach better, I've got to coach better. That's what it's all about — growing. Tre's a young player, and to your point, he did some really good things out there. There's some technique errors, there's some alignment and assignment things to look at. That's what the film is for."
On the long touchdown, was there supposed to be help coming over? Because he was one-on-one the whole way. Was there supposed to be someone coming over there?
"It just looked like a good throw and good catch, and we've just got to make sure we're in a good position and on top of those routes. That's not how we play defense."
You talked about missed opportunities. Until the late interception, you were 3-0 in the turnover battle. Is that a type of game a coach feels you just can't lose that?
"Like I said earlier, you want to take advantage of those opportunities. That's what taking the ball away is for. Usually when you take the ball away, at that point you said 3-0, you feel you're in pretty good shape. We've got to go back, look at the film, evaluate what we did well, and evaluate what we didn't do well, and it's also evaluating fundamentals. We've got a lot to learn from this game, and we've got to use it as we continue to grow and build with our football team."
What do you know about Charles Clay's injury at this point?
"It's still under evaluation. I think it was a left knee. It's still under evaluation."
You had six or seven penalties, which is not an overwhelming number, but it seemed like they came at bad times for you. How troubling was it to see those penalties?
"When we execute, guys stay in rhythm. When you get penalties, it's never good. I don't know if there's a good time or a bad time, but to your point, it breaks up the rhythm of the offense. We've got to do a better job there."
You gave up six sacks. Was that part the receivers not being able to get open, Tyrod holding onto the ball too long, protection breakdowns — or was it a little bit of all of that?
"I'll have to look at the film, but in general, it's never usually just one area. That's way too many. I will say that. That's way too many. We've got to go back and do a better job there."
Any consolation to be 3-2 and tied for first going into the bye?
"I know the guys have worked extremely hard. We've made a lot of progress, but never as much as you'd like, which was clear today. My biggest focus right now is learning from this game, and moving forward, continuing to grow, continuing to build as a team, and looking to take the next step."
The passing game, once tight end Charles Clay went out, it just never got on track today. How tough was it to not have him out there?
"It was definitely tough, but we didn't make enough plays on offense (to win). I'll take full responsibility for that one. It just wasn't a great offensive performance. We had a bunch of opportunities and left some plays out there on the field. We didn't convert a couple turnovers that the defense did a good job in (providing us on offense) ... The offense didn't play the way we needed to to win against a very good defense, and like I said, I'll take full responsibility for that."
It looked like many of your receivers weren't getting open; six sacks by the Bengals seem to be a reflection of that as well. Were you having trouble trying to have guys break free?
"We knew the front seven — the front four for sure — they're definitely good at rushing the passer. It's my job to get the ball out quicker. But like I said, we've also got to be able to create downfield. Most of the time we did, but we just weren't on the same page and didn't connect. Moving forward, we have to learn from that. I have to learn from it and get better. (We'll) take this bye week to regroup, come back and open up strong at home."
What changed in the second half?
"Just from the natural feel of the guys, I think when you come out and go three-and-out right after halftime, it definitely wasn't our plan. We had a specific plan and wanted to stay on track with — that we drew up at halftime — and that three-and-out definitely hurt us. We have to get better at coming out after the half. That's something we haven't done well with. That's something we have to improve moving forward to be the team that we want to be.
"That's one of many things we can correct from this game."
Nick O'Leary had to fill the void for Clay at tight end today and you went to him a lot. Were you happy with his performance?
"Nick played his butt off. He got twisted up on one of those plays that looked scary from my viewpoint, but he battled, he competed and he did what we asked him to do. I'm proud of him. Ultimately, as an offense, we just didn't get the job today. The defense did a great job of getting us the ball back but on offense, we laid an egg."
Does that make it more difficult when the defense plays that well and you can't convert to win?
"Yes, it's definitely tough when those guys are playing their butts off and getting the ball back and getting us great field position. There were a couple of times in that game where we just didn't capitalize on the field position that we were given, especially after one of those picks — I want to say it was (Jordan) Poyer's pick. We have to get points out of that drive. We can't go negative. We got two yards the first play, then we went negative after that — we have to get points out of those drives. There's no way we should be punting when you get the ball (on the plus side of the) 50.
"A lot of those things, we have to clean up. It starts with me, and I'll get things corrected and keep practicing (to) get everybody on the same page."
Do you have confidence in your wide receiving corps?
"I have full confidence in those guys. Everyone's capable. Brandon Tate came in and played a heck of a game and was able to make a big play out there on the touchdown pass. But like I said, it's a work in progress. We're going to continue to work on the chemistry and continue to work on knowing each other, and it's a new group. We've talked about that. Things haven't been perfect up to this point — there's still going to be some bumps in the road — but we've got to keep continuing to push through that and find some ways to win ... I have confidence in those guys. Today, we just didn't play up to our full capability."
Is it deflating when you only come away with three points instead of a touchdown when you're down in the red zone?
"Absolutely. Like I said, there were a bunch of times in this game where we did not capitalize on the field position that we (received). We knew, against this defense, against this bunch, we needed to finish those drives with seven (points), and we didn't do that today. There were too many 'threes' and too many punts."
There was a play to Logan Thomas that looked like it should have been a touchdown if it was executed. Was that just a miscommunication?
"Miscommunication. Like I said, I'll take responsibility for that. There won't be any miscommunication moving forward. We'll be on the same page alignment-wise, and going out there and getting the job done."
It's admirable for you and coach McDermott to both say you have confidence in the receiving corps, but is it unfair for you to be judged as a franchise quarterback, which is what happening this year, with what some people are calling the worst wide receiving corps in the NFL?
"At the end of the day, I'm going to be judged on wins. Right now, we're sitting 3-2 and we have a full schedule ahead of us. Ultimately, we've got to do whatever it takes to regroup over this bye week and run off a stretch (of wins) after it. That's all we're really focused on.
"(We need to) learn what we can from this game. Like I said, there are a lot of things we can learn from. We need to continue moving forward and find ways to win, because we have a bunch of tough opponents ahead of us. And we have to take it one game at a time."
What did you see on that interception of that last drive of the game?
"I was just trying to get that ball down the field to Zay (Jones) ... Interception."
The running game this season so far is not what we're used to seeing out of you guys as a team ...
"Yeah, it's tough and it's frustrating not to (be able to) get going and have positive plays and then get stuck back by a negative run. It's tough but we've got to keep at it, figure it out and find a way."
I'll elaborate on what I asked Tyrod — you're both being judged this year by what's happening while you have one of the worst wide receiving corps in the league. Is that difficult to stand here and say you're confident in those guys?
"Well, I am confident in those guys and due to some injuries — (tight end Charles) Clay is one of our top guys, and he goes out. (Jordan) Matthews is already out, then they ask Zay (Jones) to come in here and produce, and he's a rookie, so, you know, he's learning as things go on. But I think the guys like myself and Tyrod need to step up and make plays. We've just got to capitalize.
"There's no way in the world that the defense is playing so well — getting stops and getting turnovers ... the turnover battle was one that, offensively, we need to make a plus (because) it gives us chances to win ... We've got to just figure (it) out and execute."
Is it going to be continually tough to move the ball in the running game if you guys don't start doing so in the air as well?
"Yeah, but then again, there are times we can run the ball but we're not finishing. Whether it's myself, the reads or a lineman not getting a block or it's a holding call, all those things come to affect us in the running game. It's not just one particular thing; it's a whole. It's myself and the guys up front. We've got to get it going on a high level, so all the excuses with the wide receiving corps, and this and that, I think, sure, they could help us out as far as taking shots (down the field) and making plays, but from our end, it's us up front and in the backfield. We've got to find a way to get it done."
How big of a missed opportunity do you feel like today was given the turnovers and the one big return by Brandon Tate?
"It was. It's tough to not get any points, (or rather) touchdowns. As a fan in the stands, you see how this game goes, and it's like, 'Dang' — you see the momentum shifting for us (and the game is) for us for the taking. And that's tough, at least in my mind, once you see the turnovers, the returns — for sure we're going to win the game or (at the least) get points.
"We practice these plays, we practice this type of situation each week ... And then when it doesn't happen, it's frustrating."
How deflating is it to have a long run and then you turn around and see a flag on the play?
"Definitely, for sure, it's frustrating to see that. Also, just the time of possession and the situation we're in, and we need a big play ... But hey, it is what it is, man ... That wasn't going to make the difference in this loss. There were a couple of plays we could have made (on) different drives (that could have produced) different finishes."
How hard is it to have the type of production you've had as a unit these last four games compared to what you're used to as a running back?
"It's tough, you know? No one judges a game like myself, so I'm angry about it but at the end of the day, we're 3-2. We're in a good situation ... We've just got to keep plugging at it. It's hard but it's like respect: There are certain routes, certain bracketing in coverages, (and) and all the attention is on the (running) back, so as much as I want to be angry, we've just got to adjust to it and figure out a way to beat it. We'll get there.
"Hopefully, we'll get it going. Today would have been a great day to get it going, to get over that hump. We're right there."
How have your past seasons compared to this with regard to not being able to score a rushing touchdown and some of your stats being lower than expected so far this season?
"This season is definitely — well, I don't know, because last season I started off slow and then I picked it up. As far as the touchdowns, I'm a competitor and a fighter, and I want to win. I want to put the numbers up, I really do. But something that I've been working on is being more team-based, you know? That's something (head coach) Sean (McDermott) and I have been talking about. It's tough because you want to do well, and if you're not doing as well (you think about it) but your team is winning. Ultimately, that's the main goal. Otherwise, you can be on a team that's losing every week and putting up big chunks, so if we were such a sucky run team, other teams would just let us run the ball. They put more emphasis and attention on us. It's hard to balance, but it is what it is."
With that many takeaways, you usually come away with a win ...
"Yeah, when you get three, you'd think you'd come out with a win. We have to find ways to get the win. We had our opportunities. I let the tight end get inside of me on third down. If I make that stop, we could've made them punt the ball instead of playing from behind. I take a lot of the blame on that last drive."
What's the team's mindset going into the bye-week at 3-2?
"We have to get better. It's not the end of the world, we just lost a game. We have to learn from it and go out there and be better. We have a lot of time to prepare for whoever we have next — I don't know, I don't care — we've got to find ways to be better and focus on ourselves."
Was it a matter of being worn down?
"We have to make plays. No matter how long we're out there and no matter what happens, we have to find a way to get off the field and we couldn't do that in the second half."
Was A.J. Green giving you guys fits?
"Yeah, he had too many big plays. He did a great job, and Andy (Dalton) did a great job finding him downfield. We have to find a way to take him away. They did a great job game-planning against us."
How do you feel about losing a game where you had three takeaways?
"It's frustrating. At the end of the day, when we create three turnovers, we have to find a way to get the ball into the end zone. Somehow, some way, we need to figure out how to get the ball into the end zone. It's a tough loss."
Do you think missing some of your key players caused some communication difficulties?
"No, we have to step up. Guys knew their jobs and knew what they had to do. We took the ball away three times, and we have to find a way to capitalize."
At one point, you only had three healthy cornerbacks. What's the response when you know you're undermanned?
"The guys on this team understand that we have a next-man-up mentality. There should never be any drop off. We have to put the ball in the end zone."
Does losing before your bye week make things harder?
"I wish we were playing next week. We have to learn. There are some things we didn't do well and there are some things we did do well. We will need to go into the bye week and fix our mistakes and learn from them."
It seems like you executed the tip drill well today ...
"We do ball drills every day. All of our positions have hands capable of picking the ball off. Ball skills are a big thing that we work on throughout the week."
Were you surprised they had so much success throwing the ball, given the weather conditions?
"No, we knew they'd want to throw the ball. We have to find a way to get off the field and put pressure on the quarterback. It's something we'll need to correct throughout the week."
(Question not audible...)
"We need to do a better job executing. We had some penalties that set us back and we need to do better as a team."
It didn't seem like the run game had much success today ...
"We just have to execute better."
On the touchdown play, it looked like you slid in at the last second ...
"Yes, it was a good throw by the quarterback and a good job by the offensive line holding their blocks. We need to execute better."
It seemed like it was a tough day for the passing game. Do you know what was causing the issues?
"I'm not quite sure. We'll need to watch film. I do know that we had some opportunities that we should have capitalized on. I didn't play my best game. I'm sure other guys would say the same. It's frustrating when your defense and special teams play well but we can't find a way to capitalize."
The offense has changed a lot through the first five games. Does that make things harder?
"It's difficult. We're not a team to make excuses. We have all the pieces we need to win. We had opportunities but didn't finish when we had our chances. Give credit to the Bengals. They're a good team and well coached."
Do you think they're asking a lot of you guys? You seem to run a lot of plays where no one seems to be open ...
"If that's your opinion, that's fine."
The film pretty much says it's a fact ...
"I'm just going to continue to do my job the best I can."