"I'm pleased to have stayed on top throughout the game and win the game. Besides the touchdown we gave up early in the game, I think defensively we played a pretty solid football game and took care of the things we need to. Offensively, we're moving the football, but we need to finish more drives with touchdowns. Occasionally you're going to get stopped, but we have to make sure we're not doing things to stop ourselves and that we finish more drives. I guess we kicked five field goals tonight, if I'm not mistaken, so we need to do a better job of finishing those drives. We did a good job taking care of the football but we need to do better on third down. That will make the difference with those drives. A lot of those third downs were stalls in the red-zone. I think we only had two others where we stalled, so most of them were in scoring territory."
Are you pleased with the pressure you were able to get on Ryan Tannehill?
"It seemed like we got good pressure tonight other than the one third down conversion they had on the last drive. We played pretty well on third down."
How did Vontaze Burfict look?
"I can't tell you. I'll have to look at the tape."
Was it the intent to throw to A.J. Green as often as you did?
"Well, the quarterback reads the coverage. He has to do a good job reading the coverage and the pressures. We know we kind of have to manipulate things a bit to shake No. 18 free sometimes, but the quarterback did a good job executing on a couple of those third downs."
A.J. Green took full responsibility for his drop last week. Did you get a sense from him this week that he'd come out and have a big night?
"A.J. plays a position that if the defense wants to stand people up over him, they can stop him at some point. We have to do other things to counter that. I can't ever tell you when a receiver is going to have a big day because I'm not calling the defense on the other side."
Tyler Eifert was so good in the red-zone last year – do you think your red-zone issues are that simple?
"No, nothing is that simple. One person doesn't make anything that simple. We need to do better. We had a tipped ball, a bad snap – we have things we need to do better."
You had a tough night running the ball against a team that's not great at stopping the run…
"Well, when you aren't very good at something, you usually concern yourself with trying to get better at it. We were able to come out and play-action pass and do those things too. We can't worry about what a team did last week or the week before – we have to go out and play this game. It was a good job by the offense making adjustments. We were able to hit some play-actions, some nakeds, some boots and make some big plays that way."
Do you think you'll get used to playing on Thursday night?
Was the plan to go to A.J. (Green) that often that early, or was that just what was available?
"I think it's both. It was part of the game plan, and we had the looks for it. That was big for us today. Anytime we got single coverage on him, he was able to make the play. It helped us win today for sure."
Were you surprised they kept playing him that way?
"Yes. There were times they were doubling and times when they weren't. When there were times he was able to get single coverage, we were able to make plays. I think it's how different teams play. You can't double him every single snap, so it definitely worked for us today."
Were you surprised he came down with that 50-yarder in the first quarter?
"I'm not surprised, that's why I threw it. (Laughs.) We trust him to make those plays, and I trust him. When you get the ball up and in the air, he's the best at making those types of plays. I'm not surprised at all. "
Describe your chemistry with him …
"I think there's a lot of chemistry there. We've definitely put in a lot of work. That's why he's having the games like tonight and the way the season started. Big games like that, when we're on the same page, we have to keep it up."
How much of a concern is the red-zone offense?
"Yeah obviously that's a big emphasis for us. We have to score touchdowns when we're down there, we can't keep kicking field goals. We'll look at the tape and try to find a way to score touchdowns rather than settling for three points. It's a big emphasis because we haven't been very good in the end-zone."
Do you think Tyler Eifert's return will help?
"Yes. Tyler's so good; he was so good down there. I would expect he would definitely help in that."
Was tonight a result of your motivation after Denver, as you previously discussed heading into this game?
"Of course. I hold myself to a very high standard. I know what I'm capable of, and when I don't perform to that level, I've got to refocus myself. This week, I had to refocus myself on a short week. Coming off of last week, which wasn't my best, tonight I had to make plays whenever the ball or the opportunity presented itself."
Can you talk about the catch you made when you were wrestling the Miami defender for the ball near the Bengals sideline in the first quarter?
"That was just (Bengals quarterback) Andy (Dalton) giving me a chance to make a play on the ball. Like I said, my job is to go out here and make plays, and that's what I try to do every week."
Was the game plan to go to you early and often or were those opportunities just available today?
"It was just available today."
Down inside the red zone, does it feel like you're missing Tyler Eifert?
"Tyler is a great tight end. In the red zone, and in the red zone, he's unguardable. So whenever he comes back, it's going to help."
Can you go home and sleep or will you be taking care of your newborn?
"I'll probably be taking care of the baby. It's around this time he wants to get up and just look up in my face."
Is this the most tired you've ever been?
"No. I have a great wife, and this week, she slept in the guest room – her mom was here – so she didn't even sleep in the room with me, so I didn't even have to do anything. But this week, she's back in the room with me and I know I'm not going to sleep that much tonight, so I'm ready."
Was it good for you to just be back on the field with your teammates and play a game?
"Yeah. It's great to get the win. At the end of the day, that's all we wanted. It's just good to go out there and compete, under the lights especially on a Thursday night and get the win, it's great."
Did it feel like the old Vontaze was back on the play you deflected Ryan Tannehill's pass?
"I kind of figured he (WR Jarvis Landry) was going to try and do an option on me, and I'm actually not supposed to let him go inside, but I figured if I let him inside, I kind of beg the quarterback to throw it and I was kind of mad because I felt like I could have picked it. But I didn't want to do too much this game, just get my legs up under me and my wind right. I think we had a 3-and-out on that drive, so it was just great to go out and get the win and compete with my teammates."
Some of your teammates said the energy was different with you back in the fold …
"Yeah. I just try to be a leader. Like I said, I know the defense's ins and outs. I just want everyone accountable, even myself. I felt like we played a good game overall. I'm still mad about the touchdown because I felt like they shouldn't have scored on us. I think they had like 220 yards total and we were trying to keep them under 200 total."
Was it kind of like riding a bike being back out there again?
"No … It was just good to get the rust off. It was just good to play a good game overall and at the end of the game, we got the win."
Could you have done more – how did you feel?
"I felt I could have done more, but the coaches had a plan for me and switched me in and out with Vinny (Rey) and Karlos (Dansby) and they did a good job of that. At the end of the game, I started to feel my wind catching up, but every game I'll feel like I'll get better and better and get my legs up under me."
On his performance tonight:
'It was good I got a lot of opportunities tonight. It's nice it happened to fall on a night where it's decently warm and there's not much wind, which makes it a little bit better."
When you're kicking 20-yard field goals, what goes through your mind?
"You know, for me it's just because it's 21 and not 41, don't change anything, because those can be the kicks where if you change anything, you take it for granted and that it's automatic, and those could be the ones you mess up. So I never have to worry about the blocking or the snap or the hold. I'm extremely spoiled that those guys protect me, so going into every kick I just have to make sure I do my job, because everything else is going to be great."
Can you figure out why the offense has to settle for field goals as opposed to touchdowns once you get inside the red zone?
"We just have to eliminate mistakes in the red zone. For whatever reason, every time we get in a scoring position, we have a little hiccup here or there. We're moving the football well, and to have a hiccup down there when we have a chance to score or we get a turnover down there, we don't get seven out of it. This game could have easily been a 40-something to 7 game, and we made it where they still have a shot at the end. The reality is our red zone percentage has got to get better if we're going to have a chance to get where we want."
What do you attribute to your being able to move the ball well against the Dolphins, versus what happened against Denver this past Sunday?
"We just were able to execute. A.J. made some big plays for us and we were able to get the ball to a bunch of different people, and it was good for C.J. (Uzomah) to have a good game for us. Like I said, we're going to mature. We're going to get better. We've got a lot of new faces in their offensively and if you really look at it snap-to-snap, there's a lot of guys that haven't been leaned on to play that many snaps or have never played in the offense, so there's going to be a growing part of the season. Now it's time to really see guys take leaps and bounds forward."
On his interception...
"Our defensive line did a good job of applying pressure; I don't believe he could see me, so I was able to get in the right position to make a play on the throw on the ball."
You seem to have Miami perplexed – what led to the turnaround as opposed to the play against Denver in the previous game this week?
"Like I said, our defensive line, we feed off them. They came, they showed up. We've got a great group of guys up there and they made it easy for us in the back end."
The defense really seemed to bounce back quickly after Miami took a quick lead on the touchdown pass …
"Yeah. With that touchdown, they kind of got us off guard. They were able to block us up, give the quarterback some time, and their receiver made a play. But that showed the resiliency of our team. We didn't back down. Nobody's thinking back to last week on Sunday. We're thinking 'every game's a new game; let's buckle down, let's be resilient (and) let's pound the rock. Let's focus.' "
The pressure you brought today on defense was relentless …
"Yeah. I heard some people questioning our (pass) rush, but they can't say that now. (Carlos) Dunlap, Geno (Atkins), Will (Clarke), Michael (Johnson) – guys were just rushing the passer very well. And conversely, we're doing a great job covering and making the quarterback hold the ball."
The defense was all over Miami and you had a great game to fill out a stat sheet yourself …
"Absolutely. We knew they had a couple issues with the offensive line but as a defensive line, we want to go in there and try to expose that."
The defense only really gave up one big play, and you regrouped quickly …
"That was a desperado play. They knew what their situation was, so they just wanted to try to put points on the board quick. They got us on one play, but we didn't flinch, we got back to what we do best and kept them out of the rest of the game."
They never even got in the red zone and couldn't get anything done on third down …
"That's one of the big things for our defense. We want to keep them out of the end zone, and we want to win third downs. We were able to do that today, and that's why we got the result that we wanted to."
On the Bengals offense and the connection between Andy Dalton and A.J. Green:
"That connection is one of the more underrated connections in this league. They don't get the love that they deserve, and it's a blessing and a pleasure to play with those men every day and just watch them go out there – that's the key to every Sunday in and Sunday out."
How frustrating was tonight's loss?
"We have to go back to work. We've got some time to evaluate what's going on, whether it be schematically, the players, the decision making, play calling. I put us in a couple of bad spots as far as the play calls. We've got to go back and look at this stuff. We have to put it all together and figure out what we do well and start working on that a little more. It is literally something different every time, whether it be the play call or the quarterback or the running back or the line. We're all taking our turns."
How did you feel about the defense keeping you in the ball game?
"That's what makes me feel terrible, to be honest with you. Those guys laid it out there and we didn't show up on the other side of the ball. If our defense keeps playing like that and we can flip time of possession, I think we'll be in good shape."
Can you explain the play where Terrence Fede knocked the punter down?
"That's just one of those things you don't see that often. It was really a bad mistake and costly mistake for us. To be honest, I was surprised it came from Fede. That shocked me more than anything. We can't do things like that especially battling for every little inch to try and get back in the game. It was just one of those painful penalties for us to have to swallow."
How do you think the offensive line performed tonight?
"Some of the plays were not ideal, as far as what we were doing. Some was busted protection. Ryan has to step up on the fumble. It's everybody taking their turn. I don't think it really mattered who was out right now. We couldn't get out of our own way."
What was the purpose behind benching Byron Maxwell?
"We felt like we wanted to give Tony Lippett a shot, and that was a decision we as a coaching staff decided to make. The one thing is Byron is going to be here, and Byron is going to come to work. We want him to keep practicing and figuring out a way to get better, and we'll figure out what the best group is for that week. When we go and play our next game, whoever is out there is who we're playing that week, and we'll from here on out."
How was Ryan Tannehill's night?
"The entire offense struggled. Obviously he missed a couple of things early. He missed a third-and-one on a naked, and behind on a throw to Jarvis Landry. When things start going bad, you want him to find that one throw where he can spring us loose. But tonight was one of those nights where he only had two opportunities early that maybe could have sparked us. It's hard to play that position. It's tough. You're trying to make plays, and if you're a quarter of an inch off and the ball is behind, then they're going to play tight defense. And that's what these guys do. There were some good things he did, and a couple of times he had some great plays. But not everybody was on the same page. All of the sudden he looks like he doesn't know what he's doing. I know he's going to come back to work and figure out a way to get this thing turned around."
What was your assessment of the offense tonight?
"Not a lot worked. We really didn't do anything well. It was one of our worst performances from our offense in a long time. We did some decent things in the run game, we just couldn't get anything going in the passing game. No consistency. No execution. Too many mistakes. It was bad. We have to get it fixed soon, and I mean Monday. It's gone on too long. It's important to everyone who steps on that field. We have to get it fixed right now."
Adam Gase said it seems to be someone different, whether it's a mental mistake, a dropped ball or a missed assignment. Is that what you see?
"Yeah. It's not one person or one group, its everyone. Including me. We have to get better, we have to execute. Can't have mental mistakes. We have to give ourselves a chance by being in the right spot, and once you do that, you can make the right play. We do have step up and work consistently. We have to give ourselves opportunities to make those plays."
It seems like it's just pulling teeth to get a first down out there...
"Yeah, we need to get those first downs. We have to move the ball to the end-zone. We didn't do that tonight, and we really haven't done that yet. Like I said, we have to this fixed and fixed quickly. We got to see what guys bring to the table. We are kind of in a dark spot right now. The defense is playing really well and has been the key in games. They've done some really good things out there. And the offense has to really get it going. It's squarely on our shoulders to find ways to move the ball. We have to make the plays, like I said. We've got to start executing to start."
How did you feel about your performance this evening?
"There were some good things, and some things I wish I had back. Obviously, there are some opportunities that I wish to have back. That's what we are going to do when get back tomorrow."
You're 1-3 this season. How do keep your team from panicking right now?
"Just going back to work. It's a long season. We are a quarter of the way into this thing. We have a big stretch at home to get ourselves back in it. We need to get a run here, and when you get on a run in the NFL, who knows what can happen? We have to do it one game at a time. It starts with how we practice, how we prepare and the mindset when we come in next week. We need to clear our heads. We need to watch the tape and take a good look at ourselves to see what we are doing right and wrong, and come back on Monday. And we have to get it going, and need to do it right now."
How is the first quarter of the season offensively compared to your expectations coming into this season?
"Nowhere close. Still have high expectations for this offense. I think we can get there. I don't think it's unachievable at this point. We need to execute. Give ourselves a chance. We have the playmakers. We need to get first downs and we need to get the plays."
Did you feel good about the way you played against the run today?
"We gave up some yardage, but for the most part, (we played) pretty decently."
Talk about your frustration with an offense that punted six or seven times and had some turnovers?
"At the end of the day, it's our job to get the ball back to them on defense."
With the season now at 1-3, are you optimistic still?
"We're 1-3 and we've dug ourselves a hole. We've got four home games coming up. We get back to work on Monday and we'll go from there."
Did the Bengals offense surprise by what they did, or was it pretty much what you expected?
"For the most part there were no surprises."
A.J. Green had some big plays for the Bengals…
"He's a great player – a great wide receiver. I've got to put myself in better position to make a play on the ball."
How do you get better?
"You watch, live and learn and put it behind you. You go out there and learn from your mistakes out on the field"
When did you find out you were starting?
"I found out two days ago."
What was your reaction when they told you?
"My reaction was, 'It's time for me to play.' I had to get my mind right. It was a short week, and I had to get my mind right to play football on Thursday night."
What happened on the missed tackle on the touchdown by A.J. Green?
"I just missed the tackle."
How do you think you hung in there in the matchup against Green?
"I feel like I did alright. I felt like I can do better."
What do you need to do to turn this around?
"We've got some work to do. We've got to get back to work. That's really all we can do. It's tough. We had opportunities, and they played well. We've just got to fight."
Within the group, what are the challenges with new guys coming in different spots?
"We did a lot of things well. This game is just a breakdown here, a breakdown there. After a while, it just adds up. I'm looking at myself first, absolutely. It's just things we've got to clean up. We've got to find a way to get better. We've got to do something."
How do you get this thing stopped and start heading in the right direction?
"Honestly, I don't know any other solution than hard work. We keep doing the same thing and getting the same results, so something has to change."
What is the temperature in your locker room right now?
I hope everybody's uncomfortable at this point. You don't want to be in this situation. I don't know who would be."