BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
NOV. 5, 2015
CLEVELAND AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"Well, we allowed a touchdown at the end of the second quarter which put a damper on the football game there at halftime. The game came down to doing a good job of controlling the quarterback and not allowing him out of the pocket. That was basically the focus in the second half. Our offense had the two good drives in the first half. We got off sequence a little bit early in the second half, and then basically scored after the first drive in the third quarter. We scored each of the drives after that, and then the blocked punt. Obviously, (there are) still some things to work on. We're punting with the lead there. You don't want to give the other team an advantage to get back in the game. We'll look at those things and get better at it. Again, we keep overcoming, and (we) played a strong second half — a strong fourth quarter. That's what we needed."
How much of this game was an example of how many different ways you can use Tyler Eifert?
"The quarterback on the scramble on the second touchdown. I don't remember the first touchdown now, but then obviously the third one. He's a good player. He made some big plays tonight. Those are touchdown plays. ... Those are big."
Why was your defense so good in the second half?
"Well, we did a better job of containing the quarterback. That's all."
You mean you kept him in the pocket?
"Kept him in the pocket, and when he escaped the pocket we were able to get him on the ground."
How does it feel to be able to get first possession touchdowns, and what does that do for the team?
"We always try to score each possession, so those are big when you can score right away and start playing with the lead from the start of the football game."
Are you glad to get Thursday Night Football out of the way?
"It's good because the guys get some time again, and now we don't play until Monday night. They get a chance to lick their wounds a little bit, and get themselves back, feeling better and healthy. The guys who weren't able to play tonight will be ready to go when we come back, which is good. We were able to survive tonight pretty well, so we'll be back at full strength, and that's a good thing."
What does 8-0 mean to you?
"We're halfway through the season. We've got a lot of work to do. We don't get anything for this. I knew the first six games would be what they were. We had to grind through them, and then we had the two division games, and now we have the challenges the next eight weeks give us with the scheduling and the travel. We've just got to do what we've done so far, and take it one week at a time — put our marbles out there and be the best that we can be."
Does Tyler Eifert do anything that surprises you anymore?
"No. He's so good and has such a great feel for getting open. I'm happy for him. To come back from the injury last year and to get him playing, and playing really well and playing at a high level, it's been a lot of fun to see him out there. He definitely helps this team win."
On the third touchdown to Eifert, was that a wide receiver route?
"We had a double move on, and Tyler did a great job of selling it and got the guy to bite and got open. It was a really good route, and he got wide open."
On the reverse call that went for a touchdown, what went right and what did you see leading up to that play?
"We got the right look we wanted and we did a good job of selling the run. I was looking for someone to block — I was trying to help A.J. (Green) but the guy was already in the end zone — and I didn't realize that Mo (Sanu) was right behind me, and he scored, and I had to turn around and try to find him. It was perfect execution and a great play call at a big part of the game. It was a huge score for us."
What does 8-0 mean to you?
"It's huge. To put ourselves in the position that we're in and to stay undefeated, there's not a lot of teams that have been 8-0 before, and we understand that. We know that it's something that's hard to do. We've got to keep pushing and keep the same mentality that we've had the first half of the season and do whatever we can to keep winning these games in the second half."
As a quarterback, what does Tyler Eifert mean to you?
"He's just got such a great feel and understands how to get open, use leverages, come out of breaks and different things. That's what's so big. He scored touchdowns on three different types of plays. He's a big body that can go up and make tough catches. There's not much he can't do."
Was the prime time thing in the back of your mind?
"We won against Denver on a Monday night last year, and it's good to get this one. I don't think it really matters to us. It's not our focus if it's a prime time or not. It just comes down to score one more than they do."
You've been through a lot of injuries in your career. How does it feel to be back and playing like this?
"It feels good to get out there and run around and be on the field, be healthy and help us win games. The most important thing is that we're winning games. We're on a good track, and we're going to try and keep getting wins."
Take us through your last touchdown ...
"It was a double-move, and he (the defender) bit on it pretty hard. I ended up being open and Andy (Dalton) put up a good ball, and I scored."
How much do you think Andy Dalton looks for you in the red zone?
"I don't know how much, but I think he trusts me. There's not a lot of room to work with, so they're precision throws, but they're not really in-stride throws. Sometimes they're jump-balls, and things like that. It goes back to that trust factor and being able to put it where the defender is not, and I need to make the play."
How does it feel to be in an offense where anyone can break out with a big game any week?
"That's how we look at it. We don't care who is having a big day. We all want to have a big day, but at the end of the day we just want to win. It might be me one day, it might be A.J. (Green) or Marvin (Jones) or Mo (Mohamed Sanu) or whoever... or maybe (Ryan) Hewitt. But we're just happy to be on a winning streak. We'll try to keep it going."
Where do you think you rank right now among tight ends in the NFL?
"I'll let you guys (the media) worry about where I rank. It doesn't matter. For me, it's about how I can be the best tight end to help this team win. I can't control how many balls I get thrown or anything like that, but I can put myself in the best position by studying the opponent, understanding our game plan and being able to be moved around the field to help us win games and make it hard on opponents."
What was your reaction when Johnny Manziel had a good first half, and what did you change coming out in the second half?
"I can't really tell you details (laughs), but we didn't change much. We weren't worried because the yards he got, it wasn't him just diming us up. I think the first half he had like 40 yards (rushing), and it was a lot of yards off of scramble plays, backyard-football type of plays. If you keep him in the pocket, you have a pretty good chance, so in the second half that was the big difference. Our defensive line stepped up and we were able to keep him in the pocket and play well."
Carlos Dunlap praised you guys in the secondary and said you were doing a good job of staying on top of routes. What does that mean to hear him say that?
"It feels good coming from our defensive line that they notice. That's the type of stuff fans don't know, but it's all good. We don't do it for the press, we do it because it's our job. But it feels good that the d-line notices things like that. That type of job we have to do week in and week out, we know we're going to have to be in coverage longer. When you're in coverage longer, it gives your d-line a chance to get back there and do their thing."
Was it frustrating in the first half when Manziel was making those unscripted plays?
"No. We weren't frustrated at all. This team is a little different. Maybe in past years we would've been frustrated and crawling at each other's neck. But for the most part, we knew what we had to do. We came in and made a few minor adjustments, and we executed in the second half. But we weren't frustrated at all — at least I wasn't."
On the performance of Eric Winston in the absence of Andre Smith ...
"Eric continues, when we need him to step in there, to play well. He did it last year, to help us get into the playoffs. And he's done it this year when we needed him. He's had a long career — he's played just as long as I have — and he's been a very good player. We're lucky to have him. He's a great mentor to most of the kids in the room, and when he's gotten opportunities, he's played great."
On being 8-0, and 3-0 in the division ...
"It's a good way to start the season. We started the season eyeing the ultimate prize, and we haven't even gotten close to that yet. We have a long way to go. Hopefully we can continue to get better and better, and stay healthy."
Assess your performance tonight ...
"As a d-line, we knew we had to go out there and stop Johnny Manziel. We knew the guys were going to be in coverage, and we were going to rush him with four down (linemen). We liked our odds and the opportunities we had. But you have to be careful with that too, because Johnny can make plays with his feet, as you saw early in the game. We came out and made our corrections, and the d-line got after him, and the corners gave us time because they were on their men. I've never seen the defense play that good in the second half as a unit. So credit goes out to those guys for those coverage sacks."
You had a four-series sequence where the Browns generated three yards. How did you do that?
"We settled down. I looked up and saw that it was like 250 yards (of offense) to their seven. But that's our team, that's what we do. Early in the game, we were a little messed up because you can't really game plan for Johnny. You don't know what offense they're going to give him, if they're going to get him the option stuff — it didn't work for them last time — or whether they're going to let him be a quarterback. That's why you make those adjustments at halftime, and go back to doing what we do best and getting three-and-outs."
You're on track for 17 sacks this year. That's an impressive pace ...
"I'm going for 23 (sacks). That's always been my goal since I got in the league, to get that sack record. Michael Strahan's got it. Fortunately we're in a good place right now, but it's a long season and we've got a long way to go. As a defensive unit, last year we only had 20 sacks, so we have that chip on our shoulder. There's a long way to go, so hopefully there's more to come."
This team is 8-0 for the first time in franchise history — how does it feel to be at this point in the season?
"We're just playing together. We're playing pretty good right now. Early on, I felt like we struggled as far as communication (with each other) and (making) mental errors; I'm starting to see them cut out. I'm starting to see us play solid defense. The communication has picked up tremendously."
Do you think the shorter week had a factor in the sluggish first half performance defensively tonight? What adjustments did you make at half time that turned that around in the second half?
"(It's just) overcoming adversity. That first quarter wasn't the best for us. We went through a lot of the things that kind of had guys kind of rattled, but that's what brothers are supposed to do. They're supposed to talk about the situations, go to the sideline, handle them and go back out there and make plays. I feel like we did a great job on that today."
What challenge did Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel present that made the first half more difficult than some might have expected?
"The scrambling (ability), breaking down the plays and extending the plays. He did a great job of that. We knew he was going to go out there and make a few plays, but the ultimate goal was to contain him for 60 minutes. I feel we did a fairly good job of that."
What happened on the interception you dropped in the end zone?
"It was cool ... I just ... I just dropped the ball. I gotta make that play next time. I told my teammates 'Gimme your gloves — I need some hands!"
You guys are breaking franchise records left and right — how does it feel?
"It feels awesome. (We're a) perfect team, (we have a) perfect coaching staff. We're just gelling, playing together and playing our assignments."
We saw you guys working on the play you scored on tonight all training camp and you finally break it out in the eighth game of the season. Worked pretty well, huh?
"It worked really well. Giovani Bernard flipped me the ball and I looked up and all I saw is Andy (Dalton). I didn't see anybody else (besides him and) A.J. (Green); the cavalry was with me. I was just able to run right through it."
Coach Marvin Lewis talked about last year's game and he doesn't talk about last year a lot ... This game felt a little more personal tonight ...
"It definitely felt a little more personal. It's the other team in Ohio. They did a great job and played really well but we were able to make more plays tonight."
How much fun is it when everyone is involved on offense?
"It's important because we all need each other and there's going to be games where we've got to lean on somebody and we have so many players to lean on. It's just fun, you know? You saw it out there today, you saw us jumping around having fun when everybody makes plays and that's going to be key to us in the future."
It's probably easy to have fun when you guys are winning every game and are 8-0, no?
"It seems like every week it's the first time ever. It's all good. We'll celebrate and we gotta be 9-0 now. We're going to put this behind us and keep it moving one game at a time."
Can you talk about the job Tyler Eifert is doing this season?
"It's phenomenal. It's phenomenal. We love watching him play. If they're going to put one person on him and he's amazing, we know he'd going to have a field day. He works hard and to see what he's doing, it's fun to see. It's fun and exciting and he's very important to this team."
How does it feel to be 8-0 right now?
"We're playing for something big, bigger than just being 8-0. One thing about this team, we're staying focused, taking it one game at a time and that's all we can do. That's all we're doing right now — taking it one game at a time."
It seems that every week it's someone else taking the lead and helping the team win games. Tonight it was Eifert. What's it like to be part of an offense like that?
"With these guys, Tyler, Mohammed Sanu, Marvin Jones — it don't have to be me — and every day it's going to be somebody else. That's the kind of offense we need to be; we can't just focus on one guy. Everybody has to be able to make plays and that's what we're doing."
What can you say about the confidence you guys have right now?
"The confidence has always been there; we're just putting it (all) together. Guys are letting their personalities show and we go out there and work hard every week and coming on Sundays, we're just having fun out there."
What can you say about Eifert's last touchdown catch he made and the move he made to get open?
"Oh my gosh — that guy. Tyler is a wide receiver trapped in a big body because the way he runs routes and the way he's getting in and out of his breaks is unbelievable. He's definitely going to be a Pro Bowl receiver."
You have a win against every team in the AFC North now. Is it too early to start thinking about the playoffs and how far you guys can go?
"One thing about this team is we have a lot of great leaders with Andrew Whitworth, Andy and (myself) and that's one thing Coach Lewis doesn't let us do is look ahead. I think that's the biggest thing for us as we just look at what's next ahead for us and next is the Houston Texans. That's all we're thinking about."
What does being 8-0 mean?
"It means a lot for the city, a lot to Coach (Marvin) Lewis and the organization and shows how hard the guys in the locker room have been working, but at the end of the day, we've got to get past the playoffs. That's what everyone wants to see and we know what it is. You can't beat around the bush acting like we don't we know what the business is. All we can do is take care of the games we've got right now and take care of them one by one."
The defense in the second half was shutting down Cleveland from getting first downs. It was pretty impressive ...
"Like I said earlier, I think the coaching staff did a good job of putting us in great positions in the second half. The (defensive) front was unbelievable in the second half, so when you've got guys covering in the back end and guys up front rushing, it always works out good. And when the play broke down, he (Manziel) didn't have anywhere to go. The guys did a good job up front and the team, we played really good in the second half."
What was the difference in the second half?
"(We made a) lot of changes. We got to third-and-medium earlier and we finally got them into third-and-plus-five and put in a 'split' look just to change it up a bit, but we just did a good job in the second half of tackling and the guys up front were doing a good job of rushing."
What does it say about your team tonight to only have two penalties as opposed to 10 this past Sunday?
"It's good. Coach Lewis stressed the point of us keeping our composure and we did a good job of it."
BROWNS POSTGAME QUOTES
NOV. 5, 2015
CLEVELAND AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"On the injury front, (Ibraheim) Campbell tweaked a hamstring, but did finish the game. We will have a better feel on that tomorrow. (Joel) Bitonio also rolled his ankle; he was available to come back at the end too. I don't know the severity of it, but we will have more information moving forward.
"Obviously, a frustrating way to end it. I thought we competed well for a half; our mistakes just caught up to us. That's a good football team and they made more plays than we did. It just kind of snowballed on us in the fourth quarter. A lot of frustration in that room; nobody is happy where we are. But this is a group of men, competitive and passionate about football. We talked about we are in this together. We are going to take this little bit of time off and refocus and reenergize and know there is a lot of football left to be played. Like I said, we are in this fight together."
Can you assess Johnny (Manziel's) play? What changed from the first half to the second half?
"I think it was just inconsistent. I thought he did some good things, but I just thought in the second half, especially after we fell behind, he was just trying to make too many big plays instead of just taking completions. It's also a function of and you guys are probably sick of hearing me say this, but it's how well did we play around him. I don't know if in the second half we played well enough around him for him to play well."
Did it seem like they made a more concerted effort in the second half to keep him in the pocket?
"That was probably an adjustment they made. He was probably in the pocket a little more. Some of the plays he made in the first half were a result of him getting out. But they did a nice job against us in the second half; I don't think we got a first down in the second half until the last drive."
Can you say whether or not he will play in the next game or not?
"No I can't. When we get in and get back from this time off, we will assess what pool of players are available and go ahead and make those decisions from there. This will be a good time to step away and reassess where we are moving forward."
Why do you think (Tyler) Eifert was able to get open on those three touchdowns?
"On the first one, we were just a little bit too far off of him. As the field condenses, you have to tighten up. It was a good play; a ball fake held the linebacker and they were able to bang it in between the backer and the safety. The second one, I wasn't even sure he was throwing it to him, I thought he was throwing it to the lineman running across the back line. But it was a good play by (Andy) Dalton to at least put it into play. On the last one, he ran a good route and fooled Tramon (Williams). You want to point to reasons they are having the success they are having with the weapons they have on the outside, it's opening up the middle of the field and he is playing good football for them."
It looked like Taylor Gabriel had a tough night and you only had one receiver out there who did anything tonight. What can you do to compensate that?
"It's a tough night and no one is going to be tougher on himself than Gabe. He loves to play and is passionate about the game. Our biggest issue is getting him back because I know he will be down in the dumps feeling like he let us all down. But I will take him on my team any day; he is a competitor. It was just one of those nights."
The penalties on (Randy) Starks were tough; you could have gone into the locker room at the half with the lead ...
"The penalties that come from the lack of discipline, we addressed when they happened and we will address it again. There is just no place for it and it's not acceptable. He knew it right after it happened and he let his emotions get the best of him. The offsides I still don't know about, I didn't see a good replay of it so I don't know if it was him or Armonty (Bryant). That's a little fuzzy to me what happened. It's a shame because we had a third down stop and was going to force them to at least attempt a field goal. That was a big drive for us defensively and unfortunately it was self-inflicted wounds that ended up resulting in points for them."
What changed in the second half?
"We hurt ourselves in the second half. We didn't do enough. It's a game of little things and we didn't do the little things in the second half. We didn't get a first down, and instead had fourth-and-inches. We had some momentum coming in to the half, so we really needed that."
What was your mindset as you got out of the first series of the first half?
"We came out and did some good things in the second half and got the run game established."
Do you feel that you can do this job?
"Yes. I think things slowed down a little bit and I was on the same page with the offensive line. They played us pretty basic in the second half, but they made some good adjustments."
Do you think the Bengals' defense forced you to change your game in the second half?
"They came out and played a lot of cover-two. Looking back, there were a few times I could've checked down to a tight end or a running back."
Did they make any adjustments to keep you in the pocket?
"I didn't notice a lot. Their coverage changed, but they didn't bring a lot of pressure like they did earlier in the game."
It seemed like offensive coordinator John DeFilippo called some plays to give you opportunities ...
"I think Flip called a great game. We didn't get a chance in the second half to get something going. That's the difference between the first and second half. In the first half we had some things going and we able to call some runs and do some good things."
Do you think Taylor Gabriel should've caught the ball in the end zone?
"I have a lot of faith in Taylor Gabriel. That's a guy who I'm really close with. I told him the whole game that I would keep throwing his way. I have all the faith in the world in those guys. I'm proud of my guys for fighting until the end of the game."
You're missing some of your top guys. Do you feel when you start to get some guys back, you'll have a better chance to make big plays?
"We want them out there with us, but at the same time, there's no excuse. We went into halftime with a chance to come out and do some good things. We're not going to make excuses."
Have you learned when to take a big hit and when not to?
"At the end of the game, I took a few shots. At that point, I was just trying to get into the end zone. It's part of football. You can't slide every time. You've got to be aware. At the same time, I'm trying to make some plays."
What's it like getting hit by guys of this size and speed?
Do you want to get back out there?
"Yes, absolutely. We get a few days off now to refresh and get a break — come back, watch film and then get ready to go for the following week. The schedule doesn't get any easier. We have to continue to come out. Our faith is being tested. Our season isn't going the way we wanted it to go, but we have a lot of fight in us."
Do you look at this as your time?
"We have to go back and look at everything. I think there were some good things done in the first half, but there's two halves for a reason. I did some good things tonight, and some things I wish I could have back. We'll have to go back and look at it."
What do you feel you did well tonight?
"Keep two hands on the ball. We didn't have any turnovers tonight. It didn't make much of a difference tonight, but that's something we struggled with earlier in the season. Knowing when to pick your battles. Sometimes I stood in there and took a shot and other times I was able to check down and go into another play. I think things slowed down for me. Live game reps for me are good."
How do you feel tonight compared to last year's start against the Bengals?
"The second half is eerily familiar. We put some points on the board, at least."
Did they try to keep you in the pocket in the second half?
"I couldn't tell. I didn't think they brought as much pressure. I think for the most part we handled it pretty good and I didn't notice much of a change between the two halves."
DUKE JOHNSON JR.
What happened on your touchdown catch?
"Johnny being Johnny. He got out of the pocket and was able to see me. Delivered a great ball and I made the touchdown."
You went scoreless in the second half for the second straight week. How do you avoid that in the future?
"Execute and details. There are a lot of little things that you wouldn't see unless you were playing in the game, so a lot of details."
What are the emotions right after this loss?
"Every time you lose, you want to know what's wrong, what happened, how do you fix it. But for us, it's just wait until we get back and watch the film. The next time we practice, we'll work on our mistakes and come out and win our next game."
What was the difference between the first half and second half defensively?
"Again, we're going to have to look at it and see what happened. It's a tough pill to swallow. We wanted to win this game, but we've just got to see what happened."
You had a couple of injuries in the secondary and were missing some key guys tonight. How did that affect you?
"In the NFL, it's always 'next man up,' but those guys were definitely missed. Those are key guys that contribute and help us win games. When you don't have those guys you miss them a little bit. The guys here know it's next man up. If somebody goes down, they've got to be ready to fill that role. We had some young guys that came in and did a great job. Unfortunately we didn't get the win, but they still played a pretty good game."
There were not a lot of opportunities for your defense to create plays ...
"Their quarterback does a good job of getting the ball out; he gets it out fast. And the line protects well. With that combination it's hard to get a little pressure. But we've got to fix it. We've got to see what happened and try to come out next time and cause some pressure and get some turnovers."
What is allowing offenses to put more points on the scoreboard in the second half?
"It's hard to say. I don't have an answer."
Is it halftime adjustments? Are teams making halftime adjustments and able to exploit something?
"I'd have to watch the tape to really know that. I don't know."
You got after Andy Dalton a few times, especially in the first half ...
"Yeah, we had some great coverage on those plays, honestly. I was able to beat the guard, but Andy held the ball a tick longer and I was able to get there."
After your offside penalty in the red zone that kept an eventual touchdown drive alive for the Bengals, did one of the coaches say something to you on the sideline?
"No, nobody said anything to me. At the time, I didn't know the offside was on me. Once they scored in the sideline is when I found out it was on me. I was pretty upset they called me offside, but there is nothing you can do about it."
Desmond Bryant said there were times the defense didn't just have enough 'want-to' and the Bengals offense wanted it more. Does that surprise you?
"I mean you can say that, but at the same time, I just think they made more plays than we did. Like I said, we had energy and were playing with them. It was a close game, just (not) in the second half. That's something we've been doing the last couple weeks and we need to figure it out."
You got good pressure on Andy Dalton ...
"Yeah, I thought a lot of guys played well in that way. We were able to disrupt him a couple times. He was able to sneak out and make some plays on his feet. I think we did a pretty good job in that way. Just some of the ones that were able to get out on us, that's where we've got to make the transition."
Is there an explanation why you have played well in the first half but have had a dropoff in the second half?
"I couldn't tell you exactly what it is. I think that's just something we need to look at — how to come out with the same fire and the same energy, game plan, or whatever it is that we did to have success in the first half, and continue on that road. I definitely notice the same thing. We've had times where we can be successful and have drives that go well for us. We just need to put that together for a full game."